Steve Yzerman Opens the door to possible Jonathan Drouin Return

Many were watching the Tampa Bay Lightning anxiously today as rumors of a trade involving suspended forward Jonathan Drouin swirled. While no trade came by the 3:00 PM EST deadline, there is a possibility that Drouin could return to the Lightning for the team’s playoff push. General manager Steve Yzerman indicated that the door is open for Drouin.

Steve Yzerman Opens the door to possible Jonathan Drouin Return

In early January, the 20-year-old Drouin’s agent Alan Walsh went public with his November request for a trade away from the Lightning. Drouin had played just 19 games this season, putting up two goals and eight points in that span.  Even when he did play, he got very limited minutes.

Drouin was sent down to the Syracuse Crunch, where he played seven games before deciding that he would no longer play for the AHL club and would wait to be traded.  The Lightning immediately suspended their top prospect.

Drouin was drafted 3rd overall in the 2013 NHL entry draft, behind Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers. Regarded by many as arguably the most skilled player of his draft class, Drouin put up solid – if unspectacular – numbers with Tampa Bay, with 40 points in 89 games (0.44 points-per-game). In six playoff games last season, during the Lightning’s run to the Stanley Cup Final, Drouin failed to register a point, and was a minus-6 with two PIMs.

The left winger put up dominant junior numbers, with a whopping 108 points in 46 games in 2013-14, and 105 in 49 the year before that. While it hasn’t quite translated to the NHL level, it’s clear that he possesses the skill level necessary to produce at a high level, despite his posture, which is a bit on the small side (5’11”, weighing in at 188 pounds).

In 2014-15, Drouin was named the QJHL’s Most Valuable Player, and was also named the CHL’s Player of the Year (the first since Sidney Crosby to win it in his first year of draft-eligibility. In 2012, Drouin won the Gold medal as a 17-year-old at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, and in 2014-15, led the Halifax Mooseheads to the top regular season spot and their first Memorial Cup victory.

 

Main Photo Credit: NASHVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 24:  Jonathan Drouin #27 of the Tampa Bay Lightning plays against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on September 24, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)


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