Floating Around the Idea of Trading Drouin
April 19, 2017, 11:04 AM ET [31 Comments]
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Tampa Bay Lightning, Steve Yzerman, is once again set to have another busy offseason, hoping to get his team back into contention immediately.
One of his biggers tasks is figuring out what to do with three key players that are all set to become restricted free agents this summer. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin are all due for a pay raise and there is some concern as to whether the Bolts will be able to bring back three.
If Yzerman feels he will not realistically be able to ink all three gentle to an extension, he may look to deal one. To this point, most of the trade speculation has surrounded the 26-year-old center, Tyler Johnson. However, Jonathan Drouin has started to come up in more discussions as someone the Lightning could explore dealing for much-needed improvements on the blueline.
After the year Drouin had, 21 goals and 32 assists, it can be quite unsettling to think of Tampa Bay actually sending him elsewhere. Still, there are certain things that make this a possibility, even if it is a small one.
The first involves money and available cap-space. Of the three players, Drouin will most likely demand the most money. In his latest episode of "The TSN Hockey Bobcast", Bob McKenzie explained that he felt Drouin was the RFA most unlikely to accept a bridge deal, making him less affordable for the Bolts with their limited cap space. If Drouin becomes unaffordable or unreasonable, signing Palat and Johnson to friendlier deals would just make more sense.
Secondly, there is no denying that the Lightning will get the best return for Drouin. It is no secret that Tampa Bay is in the market for a top-four defenseman. We all know how hard these are to come by and I do not think that the Bolts could get one in return for just Johnson or just Palat.
That is not the same case with Drouin. The former third-overall draft pick has shown signs that he has what it takes to be an elite player in the NHL. I think that there is a team out there that would be willing to exchange a quality blueliner for his services.
Although there are legitimate reasons for why the Lightning could explore trading away a quality player such as Jonathan Drouin, I personally believe they should exhaust all other options before doing so. Unless Yzerman is given an offer he just can't turn down, the Lightning are simply a better team with him in the lineup.