All eyes on Jonathan Drouin this weekend
They won't have the spotlight of the NHL, but Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin has some pretty big games this weekend for AHL Syracuse.
Drouin's trade request, made public Sunday, has been talk of the hockey world this week, with many teams reportedly interested in the former No. 3 overall pick of the 2013 draft. Whether the Lightning deals Drouin remains to be seen, it would appear likely the 20-year-old is eventually moved.
But potential suitors are going to watch closely Drouin's three games with the Crunch this weekend, starting tonight in Albany, where reps from at least seven NHL teams will be in attendance, a few more than usual Friday nights, per Albany PR. Drouin has played in just 19 games this season due to nagging lower-body injuries, so teams want to see him healthy. Drouin will be playing top line minutes in all situations for Syracuse, a pretty good showcase. The Crunch plays at home Saturday and Sunday in Rochester.
GM Steve Yzerman has said his "sole intention" is to do what's best for the organization. He's not going to just give Drouin away, certainly not going to sell low. But if there's an offer that makes sense, and makes hte Lightning better, it wouldn't be surprising to see him pull the trigger, especially if the relationship between Drouin and the team is "untenable," as agent Allan Walsh said in his statement Sunday.
It's no secret the Lightning has been scouting the Blues heavily, with Yzerman and assistant GM Pat Verbeek at Monday's St. Louis game against Ottawa. Both Yzerman and Verbeek each caught a BLues game last month. The Lightning could use a right-shot defenseman, preferably one to help quarterback the poewer play, and the Blues have Kevin Shattenkirk, though it's unknown what St. Louis is willing to part with. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the Blues are one of the teams interested in Drouin, and Tampa Bay is looking for either a right-shot defenseman or a forward with 'some bite."
The Blues have many other intriguing options, including defenseman Colton Parayko, 22, a 6-foot-5 right-shot, not to mention several young, talented forwards.
Nothing appears imminent, at least not yet, but Drouin could help himself - and the Lightning - with a strong performance this weekend with the Crunch.