Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning suspends Drouin without pay for not showing up for AHL game

TAMPA — The Jonathan Drouin saga took another stunning twist Wednesday night and appears headed for an ugly ending.

Drouin, the Lightning's No. 3 overall draft pick in 2013, was suspended indefinitely without pay by the team after he failed to report for AHL Syracuse's game in Toronto.

Drouin, 20, has played seven games for the Crunch while he awaits a trade he requested in November. When the trade demand was made public Jan. 3, agent Allan Walsh called Drouin's situation with the Lightning "untenable." After this move, it may be irreparable.

The Lightning declined to comment beyond a statement announcing the suspension.

Walsh said in a statement that in light of the suspension, a trade is clearly in both sides' interest because there is "no reason" for Drouin to continue with the Lightning "in any capacity."

Walsh said the Lightning told him a few days ago that a trade "was moving closer to completion." Walsh and Drouin proposed that the wing not play in the next few AHL games but continue to practice to avoid any injury that might prevent a trade, the agent said.

"Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Lightning refused this reasonable request," Walsh said. "However, Jonathan was not willing to accept this risk."

As many as a dozen teams reportedly have shown interest in acquiring Drouin, including the Blues, Ducks, Canadiens and Wild. It was uncertain how the latest development would affect Drouin's trade value.

"The key for me is what you are giving up?" said former NHL general manager Craig Button, an NHL Network analyst. "I would be inclined to give up a little less than more because of the actions of the player. I don't like when things don't go a player's way and he's going to lay on the floor and kick and scream. So, yes, it would impact my desire."

Before Wednesday's news, Ducks GM Bob Murray had told the Los Angeles Times: "Requesting trades on entry level (deals), that's something new for you and I. Entry-level players requesting trades. Amazing.""

Drouin has six goals and 34 assists in 89 career NHL games. He believes he isn't getting enough opportunity from the Lightning and coach Jon Cooper, which is why he wants a fresh start elsewhere. He has been limited to 19 games in Tampa Bay this season due to injuries, which led him to get sent to Syracuse on Jan. 2 to get more playing time and show he is healthy.

The Lightning has gone 7-1-0 since then, and it rides a six-game winning streak into tonight's showdown with the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks at Amalie Arena.

Drouin is under contract with the Lightning through 2016-17. He becomes a restricted free agent after that, so he's under team control for several years. Button said the Lightning can terminate Drouin's contract but likely won't because it doesn't want to lose a player for nothing. Plus, Tampa Bay doesn't want to set a precedent with which it sends the wrong message to other players.

Drouin's Lightning teammates have supported him publicly, calling the second-year player a real pro, a "great kid" and "great teammate." But Wednesday's developments won't help Drouin's reputation with some in the hockey world.

"It's one thing to dig a hole for yourself," Button said. "But when you start throwing the dirt back on yourself, you are taking steps toward burying yourself. Speaks to a significant level of immaturity."

Comments
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blueline. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by Steve (Yze...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I'm going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years....
Updated: 15 minutes ago
NHL makes right call in not suspending Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov

NHL makes right call in not suspending Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov

The NHL got it right.Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning's top scorer and best player so far in these playoffs, will play Saturday's Game 5 against New Jersey. He's not going to be suspended for his vicious hit on a Devils player in Tampa Bay's Game 4 vic...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

Lightning’s Hedman a Norris finalist again

The Lightning's Victor Hedman is a finalist for the second consecutive year for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the league. The other two finalists are Drew Doughty of the Kings and P.K. Subban of the Predators, it was announced Thu...
Published: 04/19/18
Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

Turns out, Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready for the playoffs

TAMPA — The second period was not even four minutes old Wednesday night when Devils right wing Patrick Maroon skated all alone toward Andrei Vasilevskiy. It was a moment that could turn a game and even a series.A goal and the score would be tie...
Published: 04/19/18
Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘Lightning is going to win the Stanley Cup’

Former UCF and Lakewood High standout Shaquem Griffin understandably has been focused on the NFL draft next week in Arlington, Tex., where he is projected as a potential second-day pick.But the Lightning's playoff run  hasn't escaped his attenti...
Published: 04/19/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Nikita Kucherov drives Lightning past Devils

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Nikita Kucherov drives Lightning past Devils

Nikita Kucherov scores two goals and delivers some big hits as the Lightning beats the Devils, 3-1, in a physical Game 4 that pushes Tampa Bay to within one win of clinching the series.Meanwhile, the Rays beat the Rangers to as Jake Faria pitche...
Published: 04/19/18
Lightning holds off Devils and David Puddy

Lightning holds off Devils and David Puddy

NEWARK, N.J. — The Devils pulled out all the stops for Wednesday's Game 4 of their Stanley Cup quarter final series with the Lightning by inviting David Puddy at the Prudential Center.For those who do not know who he is, Puddy was Elaine's...
Published: 04/19/18
Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

NEWARK, N.J. — Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Taking Care of Business shook the walls of the Lightning locker room not long after it dispatched the Devils in Wednesday's Game 4 of their first-round playoff series.The 3-1 win was sparked by Nikita K...
Published: 04/18/18
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Devils Game 4

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Devils Game 4

I guess the lesson here is never believe a hockey player when he says what happens in a scrum at the end of a playoff game doesn't carry over into the next game. It sure looks like the Lightning and Devils won't be vacationing together this summer.Th...
Published: 04/18/18