Yzerman will wait until summer to trade Drouin, leaves door open for return
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman wasn't able to find the right deadline deal involving suspended wing Jonathan Drouin that would help his team now, so he plans to keep his options open and possibly deal him around the June draft.
And Yzerman left the door open for Drouin to return to the organization, albeit that possibility appears remote at this point. Yzerman admitted he hasn't broached that subject with Drouin or agent Allan Walsh, and hasn't thought about doing it.
"Jonathan is suspended," Yzerman said. "If he wants to come back, the door is open. That's up to him."
There was plenty of interest in Drouin, the No. 3 overall pick in 2013, and the Lightning reportedly had its share of offers. But Yzerman said most talks with teams the past few months surrounded future considerations like prospects and picks.
"At this time, my feeling was, if it's not going to help me now, I'm better off keeping my options this summer," Yzerman said. "What we were looking for wasn't there today. Anything that would involve future draft picks or prospects at this time, it didn't make sense to do that. We'll have more certainty, more clarity on the salary cap and make a decision at that time."
Yzerman had said he wanted an impact player to improve his team's power play at the deadline, but said that player "wasn't out there."
"I wasn't trading Jonathan Drouin for an unrestricted free agent that I couldn't or wouldn't want to resign, that made no sense," Yzerman said.
Yzerman noted that some teams were concerned that Drouin hasn't played since walking away from AHL Syracuse Jan. 20, a few weeks after his November trade request was made public. That didn't help foster a deal.
"I'm not enjoying the situation, it's certainly not how I wanted this to play out," Yzerman said. "I'm not purposely drdagging this out for everyone. I'm trying to do what the right thing for the team and when the right thing for the team comes along I'll do that."
And the fact the Lightning (36-22-4) has won six straight helped give Yzerman confidence in standing pat.
"If I'm going to pay for it, I want to make us better," Yzerman said. "I like the way our team has played. I like the way the lines are balanced, the defnse has been settling down. The way our team has played the last two months has been very encouraging."