Although the Jonathan Drouin trade request was made back in November, the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect reported to the Syracuse Crunch the Tampa Bay Lightning AHL affiliate and will play tonight. Of course when a plyer with the impact of Jonathan Drouin who was a 3rd selection back in 2013, it does create a lot of buzz and it does bring the general managers to give Steve Yzerman a call and “kick the tires”.
The options for Yzerman are simple. He could try to find a team that would better fit Drouin and allow him to have the 15-18 minutes of ice, he wants with Tampa Bay. Or he could play hard ball and take his time on Drouin who is still on his entry-level contract. Yzerman wants Drouin to get the ice time needed to polish and tweak his game to the level he had with the Halifax Mooseheads when he was drafted.
Trade Options for Drouin
If trading Drouin is the likely path for Yzerman, he will ensure he makes the right deal for his team. What do you get for a 20 years-old who was selected third overall but hasn’t put the numbers yet? Yzerman will want to maximize his return and getting the right player may not be the final results. Tampa Bay needs more depth on defense but have players to sign with raises in the near future. He is also tied with players such as Ryan Callaghan at 5.8M cap hit that too many teams will take.
For Yzerman, the options to trade Drouin reside in getting a player of approximately the same salary and preferably in the Western conference. It is rumored that the San Jose Sharks have shown interest in Drouin, in November but nothing came out of it. A player like Tomas Hertl, who is age and stats are very much like Drouin could be a player, the Sharks could dangle to Tampa bay. The Arizona Coyotes may also be another avenue for Yzerman. They have similar talent they could send to Tampa Bay in exchange for Drouin. Players like Anthony Duclair and defenceman Mike Stone.
Trade Package Options
A trade package option is always possible for Yzerman. This avenue would be to add more depth players but also to alleviate his salary cap. As mentioned above, Ryan Callaghan has become a burden for the Lightning at 5.8M and only 5 goals with 13 points. Matt Carle is another player Yzerman would like to offload. Carle has no points and is a minus -6, in 33 games played.
In today’s days, trade are usually dollar for dollar, so this option may be a way if only Yzerman have a player, in the package, that would help his team and have an impact.
Other Teams Interested
Social medias and sports analysts of all networks threw in yesterday, what team would be best for Jonathan Drouin. The Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers were teams that came out the most often yesterday. Carolina have an abundance of great young defenceman prospects that could interest Tampa Bay. One other team with similar type of players are the New Jersey Devils. Finally, the New York Rangers, could be tempted to let go Keith Yandle to the Lightning in exchange of Drouin. Yandle is on the last year of his current contract and will be a free agent at the end of this season. For Yzerman, he could represent a nice pair with Victor Hedman or anchor the no.3 spot behind Hedman and Anton Stralman. Yandle could also be on the power-play with Hedman. He is a good puck mover and would help the Lightning regain the offense they had last season. Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers are well known to be trade partners, as demonstrated by the Martin St-Louis, Ryan Callaghan trade, in 2014.
Keeping Jonathan Drouin
Yzerman still has the option to keep Jonathan Drouin. He is on an entry-level contract and this contract is good until the 2016-2017. The fact that the trade request was made public after being sent to the Crunch, Drouin may have played his last game with Tampa Bay. Yzerman’s intention to keep him from the time being may actually work itself out. If Drouin is successful in the AHL, he will be brought back up.
The reason for Drouin to go back in the AHL is Yzerman driven. Yzerman who played for the Red Wings his whole career, knows how the Red Wings develop their young talents in the AHL at Grand Rapids with players often staying four to five years with the AHL team before graduating with the big team. This may be a way for the Lightning to deal with this one.
In any case, if Drouin’s plan is to play elsewhere in the NHL this season, Steve Yzerman may not have a choice.
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