Rumor Roundup: Deal brewing between Lightning and Blues for Drouin

Jonathan Drouin (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been a month since the agent for Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin revealed his client’s trade request. While the 20-year-old remains suspended indefinitely by the Bolts for refusing to play for their AHL affiliate in Syracuse, GM Steve Yzerman continues fielding trade offers.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes a deal could be “percolating” between the Lightning and the St. Louis Blues. Friedman originally speculated Blues rookie Robby Fabbri could be part of it but has since changed his mind. He also notes the Blues want to see how sidelined left wing Jaden Schwartz performs when he returns later this month.

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Lightning’s Coburn makes awesome saucer pass to set up J.T. Brown

Jared Clinton
Braydon Coburn (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Everyone loves a highlight-reel goal or a huge hit, but there’s something about a great pass — those how-did-he-see-him feeds — that makes it just as spectacular to watch. Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay blueliner Braydon Coburn made one of those passes.

In the second period of a scoreless game, Coburn pinched down into the Red Wings’ zone to collect a loose puck and took a look over his left shoulder where he spotted J.T. Brown heading to the net. After taking a few more strides to find a passing lane, Coburn threw a perfect — literally, the pass couldn’t have been any better — saucer pass right onto Brown’s tape for a tap-in goal: Read more

Three up, three down: Rangers improving puck possession numbers make them contenders

New York Rangers  (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the end of the all-star break, the NHL season has reached it’s unofficial halfway point, making a great time to look at which teams have been hot (or not). Most people would take that to mean who got the most points during January, but with the NHL’s new numbers movement we can dig a little deeper than that. What’s more interesting to me is which teams actively improved (or degraded) their game regardless of results and identifying which teams are trending in the right or wrong direction.

Most people generally use shot rates to measure that as they’re good indications of a teams true talent level. They do fluctuate a bit throughout the year and that movement is worth keeping an eye on. That’s what this trend report is all about because how a team is playing lately is usually a good indication of what’s to come in the future.

With that being said, here are three teams that are going in the right direction, and three teams that are trending the other way.

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Rumor Roundup: Lightning begin negotiating with Stamkos as Drouin sits and awaits trade

Steven Stamkos (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

For most of January, the trade request by Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin and his recent holdout overshadowed the contract negotiations between the club and captain Steven Stamkos However, recent talk of a rumored offer by the Lightning pushed those negotiations to the forefront.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports it’s believed the Lightning pitched a deal to the Stamkos camp worth $8.5 million annually. Stamkos subsequently told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times he had no comment about the report, adding his contract discussions will remain strictly between himself and management.

Assuming that offer was the Lightning’s opening bid, the club’s fans probably shouldn’t worry that GM Steve Yzerman is playing hardball. As with most negotiations, the Bolts make a low opening offer. The Stamkos camp likely counters with something much higher, perhaps comparable to the $10.5-million annual cap hits of Chicago Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. After that, the two sides negotiate toward a more mutually beneficial number.

Drouin, meanwhile, remains the subject of ongoing trade speculation. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch lists  the Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens among the potential suitors. Garrioch also claims Yzerman’s asking price for the 20-year-old left winger has changed from a roster player to a couple of top prospects.

Friedman’s colleague Damien Cox claims the Senators and Lightning had discussions about Drouin. The Sens, however, aren’t parting with defenseman Cody Ceci.

One blueliner the Senators could move is the disappointing Jared Cowen, but don’t expect Yzerman to give up a prized asset like Drouin for an expensive under-achieving blueliner. Garrioch believes the 25-year-old’s actual salary ($4.5 million next season) makes him difficult to move.

Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin last week publicly stood by embattled coach Michel Therrien and his staff, shouldering the blame for the club’s free-fall in the standings. Bergevin also noted the difficulty in trying to acquire some scoring punch for his anemic offense.

That doesn’t mean Bergevin stopped trying. Garrioch believes the Habs GM wants to add some size to his forward lines. So far, however, the asking price is young assets.

Center Alex Galchenyuk is attracting interest. Friedman reports a couple of teams made inquiries about the 21-year-old, but were told he’s not on the trade block.

Given the Canadiens’ plight, Bergevin isn’t dealing from a position of strength. His rivals hope he’ll succumb to pressure and try to make a big season-saving deal. While Bergevin has a reputation for pulling off surprising moves, he’s unwilling to sacrifice his youngsters for a quick fix.

BLUE JACKETS NOT DONE DEALING

The Columbus Blue Jackets surprised the hockey world earlier this month by shipping center Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Seth Jones. Ongoing media chatter suggests Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could make other moves before the trade deadline.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculates the Jackets’ roster restructuring will continue through the trade deadline and into the off-season. Garrioch claims Kekalainen is working the phones seeking a center to replace the departed Johansen.

Recent Jackets’ speculation suggests they could move out a couple of veterans with term remaining on their contracts. Left winger Scott Hartnell ($4.75-million annually through 2018-19) and defenseman Fedor Tyutin ($4.5 million through 2017-18) recently surfaced as possible trade candidates.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.)

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

How much money would you offer Steven Stamkos?

Ryan Kennedy
Steven Stamkos (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

It has been one of the unceasing sagas of the 2015-16 season and it’s by no means over yet. The contract status of Steven Stamkos has been a hot topic in Tampa Bay dating back to last year, but with the Lightning captain up for unrestricted free agency in the summer, the urgency is apparent.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Bolts have made an offer of $68 million over eight years, for an average of $8.5 million per season. Is that enough for Stamkos?

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Getting To Know: Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison

Mark Malinowski
Tampa Bay's Jason Garrison (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Status: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman.

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 223 pounds
DOB: November 13, 1984 In: White Rock, BC.

First Hockey Memory: “For me it’s probably playing roller hockey or ball hockey in the street. Enjoying the game and bringing it to the ice. It was just a lot of fun playing with the kids from school.”

Hockey Inspirations: “Hockey is so big at home. There are guys you looked up to – obviously players that played for your local team professionally inspired all the kids to play hockey and enjoy it. (Names?) Growing up I was a big Mario Lemieux fan.”

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Jonathan Drouin’s trade value is “dropping by the minute”

Ryan Kennedy
Jonathan Drouin (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

We know that Tampa Bay left winger Jonathan Drouin wants a trade – that has been made abundantly clear in recent days. But what is the value of the 20-year-old on the market? I surveyed a handful of NHL execs and posed this question: If Lightning GM Steve Yzerman called up and asked what he could get in exchange for Drouin, what would they offer? The answers may be a bit hard to swallow if you’re a Tampa fan.

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Jonathan Drouin making it difficult to sympathize with his plight

Ken Campbell
Jonathan Drouin (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Until now, it would have been fairly easy to sympathize with Jonathan Drouin in his spat with the Tampa Bay Lightning, even if you didn’t agree with his methods. He’s a very good young player who has been caught in an organization where he’s not able to play a regular role and he feels his development is being stunted. So he asked for a trade. No harm, no foul.

When Drouin has had the chance with the Lightning, he has proved to be a capable NHL player. His possession numbers are very good and you could certainly make the case that injuries and a lack of opportunity have not allowed Drouin to fully showcase himself for a sustained period of time. This is a player, after all, who had six points in the first five games of the season when he had an opportunity to play with top players and log 15 minutes a game in ice time. (Although it’s absurd to suggest that the Lightning has it in for him. If you ever encounter a coach who refuses to play players he thinks can help him win, I’d like to meet him. He does not exist.)

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