It came to light early on Sunday that Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick Jonathan Drouin had requested a trade from the organization back in November. This came to light after Drouin’s agent, Allan Walsh, issued a statement about the situation.
It was expected that Lightning GM Steve Yzerman would address the situation by the end of the day, especially with the team having sent Drouin to the AHL on Saturday in advance of their home game against the Minnesota Wild.
Yzerman did issue a statement Sunday evening:
We acknowledge, via communication from his agent, Jonathan Drouin’s request to be traded. Moving forward, my sole intention is to act in the best interest of the Tamp Bay Lightning hockey club. In the meantime, Jonathan has been assigned to our American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and we expect him to report for practice with the rest of his teammates this Tuesday morning.
There’s not much surprising here, since Walsh’s statement implied that there wasn’t much progress being made toward a trade. It had to be assumed that Yzerman wasn’t eager to move a top prospect on an ELC when he’s facing a difficult situation with Steven Stamkos and a lot of talented RFAs coming up on new deals. Losing Drouin isn’t a great situation considering his upside and the team’s tricky cap situation.
Drouin was a scratch from the Crunch’s game on Sunday. That’s largely because, as was reported earlier in the day, that Drouin was given a couple days to collect this things and his thoughts before making his way to Syracuse. That seemed normal since there was clearly some frustration brewing on his part and a report on Saturday that he wasn’t happy about be reassigned (why would he be?).
That Yzerman explicitly says that he expects Drouin to report makes it sounds like there may be an expectation that he won’t. That would be an interesting wrinkle and would change comparisons of his situation from being like Nino Niederreiter’s with the Islanders to be a little more like Mikhail Grigorenko’s in Buffalo.