Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Markus Naslund knows what Lightning's Jonathan Drouin is going through

TAMPA

Markus Naslund knows a little bit about what Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin is going through.

Naslund, 42, was a touted first-round draft pick with the Penguins in 1991, a highly skilled left wing who struggled to get ice time on a stacked Pittsburgh team that ended up winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in '91 and '92. The forward group included Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr — you might have heard of them.

Naslund requested a trade in 1996, and he was dealt at the deadline to Vancouver for forward Alek Stojanov, who was selected nine spots ahead of him, at No. 7, in the 1991 draft.

"At the time, even though we were different players, it was a somewhat even trade," Naslund recalled Friday in a phone interview from Sweden.

It turned into one of the most lopsided deals in NHL history. Naslund, 22 when he was traded, became a three-time All-Star and captain in Vancouver, where he set franchise records for goals and points, and was the NHL MVP runnerup in 2003. Stojanov became a career minor-leaguer, retiring at age 29 with two goals in 107 NHL games.

It serves as a significant cautionary tale for Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who is seeking "equal value" in a trade of Drouin, 20, a move the wing requested in November and his agent made public this month. Some wonder if "equal value" is even possible for the No. 3 overall pick in 2013 who could end up being a star spurred by a fresh start.

Naslund was.

"If you're in the NHL, you have a certain amount of pride in what you do," Naslund said. "There's that element that you want to prove people wrong and want to show that you have more to give. That was a motivating factor for me (in his trade request). I didn't want to give up. It was more to prove to myself and my family that I belonged there. It was a dream all my life to play in the NHL and hopefully play in a role that I didn't up to that point."

Naslund scored four goals in 71 games as a rookie (Drouin had four in 70 last season), saying it was a difficult adjustment from juniors, in culture and competitiveness.

"I wanted to do well right away in Pittsburgh, and I didn't," Naslund said. "It just wasn't that maybe I wasn't getting enough ice time. It was a matter of maybe not being fully ready for what was expected. It does take some time as a young player, even though you had a good junior career. Not everyone steps in and has success right away.

"It's maybe even tougher if you're an offensive player that's expected to produce because there's a learning curve. And some make it look easy, but for others, it might take a few years. You can still have a good, long NHL career."

Naslund said he started to realize he could compete in the NHL in his third season, 1995-96, when he tallied 19 goals and 33 assists in 66 games. "Playing on a line with Mario obviously helped," he quipped.

But after his ice time dwindled in the second half of the season, Naslund talked with GM Craig Patrick and requested a trade. He didn't tell his teammates or make it public.

"(Patrick) was true to his word," Naslund said.

Naslund said it took a couple of seasons for him to fulfill his potential in Vancouver — "it didn't happen overnight" — but he rattled off seven consecutive 25-plus-goal seasons, finishing with 395 for his career. He and his wife ended up raising three kids in Vancouver, where he played 12 seasons before spending his final year with the Rangers in 2008-09.

"Couldn't have been happier ending up in Vancouver," Naslund said. "It ended up working out great."

Drouin is playing for AHL Syracuse while he awaits a trade. What advice would Naslund give him?

"Try to work on the stuff that you can control," Naslund said. "There's a lot of stuff that is out of your hands when you end up being in a situation like that. But I think the key thing for any young guy is to work hard and be a good teammate, and I think everything will work itself out — if you're good enough."

Comments
NHL trade deadline: Action picks up with three-team deal

NHL trade deadline: Action picks up with three-team deal

RALEIGH, N.C. — The  Penguins acquired center Derick Brassard from the Senators on Friday night in a three-team deal that sent defenseman Ian Cole to Ottawa and forward Ryan Reaves to the Golden Knights.The Penguins announced the deal...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

When it comes to the Tampa Bay Lightning these days, there's only one question that really matters:Will the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?That's it. That's the big question. That's the only thing on everyone's mind.Will it or won't it?Does this ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk wonít die down until deadline is over

Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk wonít die down until deadline is over

MONTREAL — Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson sure seemed chatty with his Lightning friends as he left the Canadian Tire Center on Thursday night.Karlsson, 27, took his time talking up several members of Tampa Bay's staff in the hallway out...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

You can bet that many Lightning fans hoped Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson jumped on Tampa Bay's bus after Thursday night's 4-3 Lightning win.Karlsson, 27, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, is the biggest prize leading up to Monday's trade...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

OTTAWA – The Lightning was encouraged it escaped Ottawa with a 4-3 win over the Senators on Thursday night.But it was really disappointed about how it had to "hold on to dear life," as defenseman Victor Hedman put it, after taking a three-goal ...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey is finally over. They needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it, too.Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored a dazzling, triple-deke goal in the sixth ...
Published: 02/22/18
Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

When the Lightning put wing Ryan Callahan back on the power play a month ago, there were many reasons for the move.With Ondrej Palat suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 20, Tampa Bay needed a replacement who was fearless in front of the net and a rele...
Published: 02/21/18
The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

On Tuesday night, the entire Lightning team was reassigned to Syracuse.Well, more like re-directed.The team's charter flight from Washington D.C. was diverted around midnight Tuesday night due to fog in Ottawa, where the Lightning was headed for a Th...
Published: 02/21/18
Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

The Lightning got F Gabriel Dumont back, claiming him off waivers Wednesday from Ottawa.Dumont, 27, was reassigned to AHL Syracuse, where he will provide a veteran presence. He's a potential callup option down the stretch for a bottom six role and fa...
Published: 02/21/18
Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

WASHINGTON — There was some lighthearted debate in the Lightning dressing room Tuesday night about whether the latest dazzling breakaway move by Nikita Kucherov was a deliberate fake or a slip off the stick.Some teammates playfully gave the All...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18