Perhaps the most interesting thing in that statement is the fact that the trade ask dates back to November, well before the Lightning sent Drouin down to the American Hockey League. This would lead credence to the theories floated out during the playoffs about the relationship between player and team being rocky, to put it lightly. It's clear that Drouin's camp has been unhappy for quite some time, and it's nearly impossible to blame them when you consider just how much he's accomplished with such a small opportunity:A statement from Jonathan Drouin's agent Allan Walsh regarding his client's future in TB: pic.twitter.com/Vhwet1IpTW— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 3, 2016
Walsh deciding to go public the day after his client was assigned to the Syracuse Crunch probably isn't a coincidence. In my opinion, it speaks to two things:Drouin's tied with Henrik Sedin, Pavel Datsyk, Jake Voracek, and Jordan Eberle in rate of production at 5v5 since entering the league.— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) January 2, 2016
- They really aren't thrilled about the demotion.
- They want trade discussions between GM Steve Yzerman and other teams to be kicked into high gear.
Unfortunately for Walsh and Drouin, it doesn't appear as though Yzerman is in any rush to make a move (Lightning.NHL.com):The Tampa GM is under no obligation to trade the ultra-talented winger, regardless of how much he and his agent want out. If Yzerman's track record has shown fans anything during his reign with the Lightning, it's that he's a patient guy who won't be painted into a corner by anyone. This situation likely won't change that.
"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 Tampa 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."
But, then again, this situation is unlike anything Yzerman has dealt with before during his tenure here. He's traded a player who wanted out (See: St. Louis, Marty), but he's never traded a cost-controlled forward with elite potential who wants out. The bottom line: 29 teams should be and likely will be giving the Tampa GM a call over the next couple of days if they haven't been in touch already. They'll be looking to take advantage.
The trouble for Yzerman is determining what sort of value is fair value. Putting a price tag on potential that wants out is tough, especially with rival GMs circling like vultures. Yzerman is smart enough not to make a deal just for the sake of making a deal, but it's hard to see how having Drouin in the organization makes much sense if there is as much bad blood present as all the reports would lead us to believe. Adding to the problem is the fact that the team's coach is seemingly unwilling to play Drouin at the NHL level, which takes away any chance for the team to showcase him:
Nobody is winning right now. The question is: How long can this state of limbo last? Either the relationship has to be fixed or a trade has to happen. Maybe I'm wrong, but it feels like we might be beyond the point where the former is a possibility; if true, that leaves the latter as the only option. How long can the team wait before not pulling the trigger becomes a problem? The situation Yzerman finds himself in is really not a desirable one, especially now that this has all gone public. Here's hoping he's able to come up with an answer before things get even uglier.Whether the Lightning intend to honour Drouin's request or not, the AHL won't help build the relationship or his value.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) January 3, 2016
I'll continue to update things at The Lightning Lounge whenever additional Drouin news breaks. though my gut feeling is that we're in for the long haul here.
As always, thanks for reading.