Andrew Ladd was traded from the Winnipeg Jets to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, leaving Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal and a few others like Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the trade speculation spotlight. With four days remaining before the trading window closes, it’s anybody’s guess as to who is going to wind up where.
Spotlight Drouin and Staal
Of course there are others in the trade limelight like the Boston Bruins’ Loui Erikkson, but Drouin and Staal are front and center. Pierre Lubrun of ESPN wrote on Thursday of Drouin, “Drouin’s trade request went public Jan. 3, and while some people wondered if that might pressure the Tampa Bay GM into a quick trade, guess again.” The situation in Tampa mirrors that in Raleigh in that Hurricanes GM Ron Francis has exhibited a similar patience to that of Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.
While the hockey world knows of Drouin’s trade request, it can only speculate as to what is going on in the minds of Staal and Francis. We’ve heard Staal say on numerous times that he wants to stay in Raleigh, the Hurricanes being the only NHL team for which he has played in his career.
Staal has a no-trade clause and it was reported eight days ago on many venues including Yahoo! Sports that he had not been asked to waive it. He told the gathered media in Ottawa,
“I’m not going to be crushed if a decision is made and I’m moving on for a different opportunity.”
As the clock ticks toward February 29, we are running out of time to know whether or not Staal will be asked to waive his no-trade clause, and whether or not he really won’t be crushed if asked.
Staal did tell Ken Campbell of The Hockey News after Thursday night’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs that he realizes that he needs to play better:
With the trade deadline looming, Eric Staal tells @THNKenCampbell: "I have to play better than I have." https://t.co/lnY5Vlwlai
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) February 26, 2016
Meanwhile Drouin may be crushed if he is not traded. But, Yzerman is asking for a hefty return from whoever gets Drouin, and he may not get it. On Wednesday Broad Street Hockey reported that the Philadelphia Flyers are banging loudly on Yzerman’s door, but possibly not loudly enough. Again, the Lightning general manager is being patient, and knows better than to toss Drouin out the door without getting value.
What is most important about all of this is that it keeps the media, myself included writing about something with which we have zero certainty. I can assure you that very few people outside of Francis’ tight inner circle know what’s going on between him, Staal and agent Rick Curran.
Yzerman has been a bit more forthcoming, but what he’s got going on is anybody’s guess. Maybe by Monday we in the media will move on to something else that we can only speculate about.
Mark Shiver is a staff writer for The Hockey Writers credentialed with the Carolina Hurricanes. You can follow him on Twitter @markshiver