Over the weekend, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said that he is "prepared to trade" Jonathan Drouin. The former third-overall pick already requested a trade earlier in the year before publicly requesting a trade this week, and it looks like the New York Rangers are interested in acquiring the left winger.
"I am prepared to trade him, but any deal that I make has to be what I consider a good deal for the Tampa Bay Lightning," Yzerman told CBC Sports. "We drafted Jonathan third overall (in the 2013 NHL Draft), we drafted him third overall for a reason and believe that he is going to be a very good hockey player in this League. It's important to our organization that we make a trade that we get equal value so to speak, and you can measure that in a lot of different ways."
The Rangers are the first of presumably several teams to show interest in signing the 20-year-old forward. Yzerman and Rangers GM Jeff Gorton apparently talked about the player even before his trade request went public, according to the New York Post's Larry Brooks.
"The Post has learned Blueshirts' GM Jeff Gorton and Yzerman first talked about Drouin when the Rangers were in Tampa for last Wednesday's 5-2 victory over the Lightning. That conversation preceded the public demand from the Drouin camp," Brooks wrote. He further speculated that the Lighting would want defenseman Keith Yandle in return.
Last season, Drouin had four goals and 28 assists in a total of 70 games as a rookie. He did not have a single point playing in six of the Lightning's 26 games during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. While he was the number three overall pick in the 2013 draft, he has also been hindered with minor injuries and has performed poorly when he played.
Meanwhile, rumors are rife that team captain Steven Stamkos is ready to "jump off the sinking ship" that is the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the star center and the club are unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension before the February 29 trade deadline, GM Yzerman must deal his captain to avoid the disastrous situation in which Stamkos leaves Tampa Bay for nothing as a free agent over the summer, NESN.com pointed out.
When it comes to Stamkos' potential destination should he decide to leave the Lightning, Ken Campbell of The Hockey News boldly predicted that Yzerman may indeed re-sign him then immediately trade him to the Detroit Red Wings.
"Faced with the prospect of losing him for nothing, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will orchestrate a 'sign-and-trade' deal for Stamkos with the Red Wings that will allow Stamkos to go to the team of his choice and get an eight-year deal, getting around the seven-year deal he would have had to sign with Detroit if he were to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer," Campbell explained.
The 25-year-old team captained has scored 17 goals with 13 assists in 40 games for the current season. He has had four seasons where he scored over 30 goals, including 43 goals last season and 60 goals back in 2011.