So the Tampa Bay Lighting have suspended Jonathan Drouin, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 Draft, without pay for failing to report to a game with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. This is just another odd turn of events in the whole Drouin situation.
For those of you that didn’t know, Drouin and his agent, Allan Walsh, went public two weeks ago with his trade request out of Tampa that was initially made back in November.
However, the Lighting front office has yet to deal with that request with any sense of urgency. Instead, Drouin was sent down to Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, early this month to give him more ice time. Drouin has since appeared in 7 games with Syracuse, scoring twice, but his AHL assignment has apparently lasted longer then Drouin and his agent had expected.
In a separate statement made Wednesday, Walsh said he believed that Drouin’s AHL assignment was only for conditioning.
Pretty bold move from a 20-year-old on an entry-level contract who has 40 points (6G, 34A) in 89 NHL games and is unproven at this point. But maybe that is not entirely his fault, as he is yet to have a solid opportunity while playing with the Lightning.
Drouin’s actions have put pressure on the Lightning but at what cost? With every distasteful action, fewer and fewer teams will show interest in trading for him. And whatever teams are interested in him, will want him at a heavy discount, something the Lighting will hardly be able to stomach.
Drouin clearly wants nothing to do with the Lightning and Yzerman definitely wants the same. There’s no doubt that there are teams out there that could benefit from what Drouin brings to the ice (Toronto, Nashville, Vancouver to name a few). The challenge facing both parties now is finding a team that is willing to take a chance on a holdout.