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.
First of all, time is not on Yzerman’s side. With every day that Drouin remains suspended by the team, his trade stock goes down.
“It’s dropping by the minute,” said one exec.
Low-ball offer? You bet that’s what a lot of teams are thinking right now. Drouin is an elite playmaker with his entire prime ahead of him, but all of Yzerman’s leverage is gone, so why lose a first-round draft pick on the kid when you may be able to get away with trading away just a second-rounder?
A GM from outside Tampa’s division had a similarly grim response, though he wasn’t even sure if he’d want Drouin.
“He’s a talented player, but I don’t think anyone would condone the manner in which he’s doing this,” he said. “It gives you pause. Will somebody pay up? Probably…but it gives you pause.”
If Yzerman has any sort of saving grace, it’s that he is well-respected among his peers. Despite only being a GM for a couple years, ‘Stevie Y’ has equity from his Hall of Fame playing career and that could help him in the Drouin situation. A third exec I spoke to was more empathetic to the Lightning’s plight and offered a nicer hypothetical return: A young player who also has a high profile, but has not yet proven himself as a sure-fire NHLer just yet.
Here’s where I wildly speculate on names that could fit that description: Michael Dal Colle from the Islanders? Anthony Mantha from Detroit? Again, that’s pure speculation on my part, but at least those players would be welcomed with open arms by Tampa Bay at this point. And both have pretty impressive junior careers on their resumes.
Remember when Calgary got Dougie Hamilton from Boston for a first-rounder and two seconds? Yeah, that’s gonna seem like a jackpot return compared to what Drouin fetches, unless Stevie Y has a supreme ace up his sleeve. I’m not sure Drouin can help his plight at this point, unless he agrees to suit up for AHL Syracuse again while he awaits a move.
Man, who would have thought Steven Stamkos would be the second-most controversial decision Yzerman had to make this season?