Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Drouin stays put as Lightning makes no deadline moves

Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin stays put, and presumably stays home.


Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin stays put, and presumably stays home.

TORONTO — The Jonathan Drouin saga with the Lightning will linger into the summer.

With Steve Yzerman unable to find a deal for Drouin, 20, by Monday's trade deadline that would have immediately helped Tampa Bay's playoff push, the general manager decided to keep his options open and wait to potentially move the suspended wing after the season.

Yzerman had said he preferred to deal Drouin, the No. 3 pick in 2013, "sooner than later," that it'd be "better for everyone." But it's clear Yzerman doesn't feel pressure to make a trade unless it's on his terms.

"I'm not enjoying the situation, it's certainly not how I wanted this to play out," Yzerman said. "I'm not purposely dragging 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."

Drouin, unhappy with his role and usage in Tampa Bay, requested a trade in November; it became public Jan. 3, the day after he was reassigned to AHL Syracuse. He has been working out at home this past month in Montreal since he didn't show up for a game for Syracuse Jan. 20; agent Allan Walsh claims they were told then a deal was close, but Yzerman said that wasn't true. Yzerman reiterated Monday, however, Drouin would be welcomed back to Syracuse, and he remains on the Crunch roster, eligible for the postseason. But it appears highly unlikely. Yzerman said he hasn't approached Drouin or Walsh about it.

Walsh didn't respond to messages Monday.

"If (Drouin) wants to come back, the door is open," Yzerman said. "That's up to him."

There was significant interest around the league in Drouin, with the Senators, Ducks, Canucks, Wild and Canadiens reportedly among the teams that inquired. It is believed there were several offers. "I tried real hard," Senators GM Bryan Murray told reporters in Ottawa.

But Yzerman said most of his conversations with clubs the past two months have been about future considerations, prospects and draft picks, his preferred return for Drouin, which he can still get before the June's draft.

"I wasn't trading Jonathan Drouin for an unrestricted free agent that I couldn't or wouldn't want to re-sign," Yzerman said. "That made no sense."

Yzerman said some teams were concerned that Drouin hasn't played in more than a month. The decision could hurt Drouin, who needs to be on an active NHL roster for two more games this season to register another year on his contract — otherwise his unrestricted free agency will be delayed a season.

"Obviously not playing didn't help the situation, it didn't make it any easier to trade him," Yzerman said.

But some, including TSN analyst Craig Button, believe Drouin's trade value might be higher by draft time.

"More disappointed teams after playoffs means more change," said Button, a former GM. "Not many teams trying to change makeup of teams right now."

Plus, Yzerman will have a better idea on the makeup of his team and cap. There's the potential of losing Steven Stamkos to unrestricted free agency, though Yzerman said he hopes to sign the captain to a long-term deal.

Yzerman has been "really encouraged" with the Lightning's run — a seven-game winning streak after Monday's 2-1 victory at Toronto — so it wasn't as urgent to make a move. He wanted to bolster the power play, but said that player "wasn't out there."

"We're really pleased with the team," Yzerman said. "And we didn't feel the need to force it."

Contact Joe Smith at Follow@TBTimes_JSmith.

Drouin stays put as Lightning makes no deadline moves 02/29/16 [Last modified: Monday, February 29, 2016 10:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)