Will Jonathan Drouin be traded today?
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has said he'd prefer to deal suspended wing Jonathan Drouin "sooner than later."
The question is, will it come by today's 3 p.m. trade deadline?
There's been no shortage of interest, and offers. It's believed that 10-12 teams have checked in on Drouin, from the Ducks to Wild, Canucks and Canadiens. Yzerman said a key consideration in deciding to move Drouin before the deadline is if the return can help his team "now" and for the playoffs.
If not, and this is more of a deal for the future, Yzerman can also wait until this June's draft.
"The decision might be, we are going to pass," Yzerman said. "And when I talk to these teams, they are just concepts, and both parties generally say, 'We'll look at it, we'll think about it.' Teams are watching and scouting. … We'll make our decisions over the weekend."
Yzerman made it clear his No. 1 priority is bolstering his power play, which has been inconsistent at best this season. He said that help could come in the form of a forward or defenseman. It's been reported that Yzerman has asked for a right-shot defenseman in any deal involving Drouin, and the Ducks' Sami Vatanen and Canucks Dan Hamhuis would seem like defensemen Tampa Bay could target. Sounds like the Oilers may make Jordan Eberle available.
To get a player like Vatanen, the Lightning might have to give up more than Drouin, and Yzerman has said it's "difficult" to trade core guys. Can't imagine Yzerman would want to move a top-nine forward like pending RFA Alex Killorn, who has been playing fantastic on the red-hot top line.
"You have to give up something to get something, and it's hard to do, we're all trying to make trades where we're getting something we like but none of us want to give up anything that we like. Trading both of those players last year was difficult, they were both good guys and been big part of the team. We had our reasons for doing it and were happy to acquire Braydon and think he's been an excellent contributor to our team and remains this year as well.
"Every time we talk about a trade with another team, you're hoping to give up as little as you can, but the reality is if you want something you have to pay for it, and that's what you've got to do."
Drouin, who has been working out on his own in Montreal since leaving the AHL Syracuse Crunch Jan. 20, would love to get traded today, for a number of reasons. He needs just two games on an active roster to register another year on his contract, making him closer to UFA status.
One question is, though, does Drouin's trade value go up, or down if he's not dealt today, and instead this summer?
"I think it goes up," said TSN analyst Craig Button, a former GM. "More disappointed teams after playoffs means more change. Not many teams trying to change makeup of teams right now."