Jonathan Drouin‘s agent Allan Walsh basically threw down the trade demand gauntlet on the Tampa Bay Lightning today.
It appears that Drouin’s latest demotion to the AHL is merely the last straw for the third overall pick of 2013 NHL Draft, as his stop-and-go development continues to be bumpy this season.
Walsh released a statement in which he revealed that a trade request was made to the Lightning in November, but it was kept private until this became an “untenable situation.”
This tweet from the Tampa Bay Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson seemed to provide some foreshadowing:
… And apparently the Lightning explaining the demotion as a matter of getting ice time after an injury did little to sway Drouin.
So, pessimistic Lightning fans may worry that the Lightning may lose a top overall pick (Steven Stamkos, via free agency) and another high-end prospect (Drouin, via trade) in what’s becoming an incredibly messy follow-up to a promising 2015 Stanley Cup Final run.
It’s tough not to wonder if some will at least partially blame Jon Cooper for his relationship with a couple of stars, considering his harsh criticisms of Drouin’s defensive work.
As far as the more immediate future goes:
Even if the Lightning were open with trading a promising (if struggling?) prospect, this becoming public knowledge doesn’t exactly put GM Steve Yzerman in a position of strength.
/starts popping popcorn