Monday, January 4, 2016

Former First-Rounder Drouin Requested Trade from Lightning in November

After a turbulent start to his NHL career with the Tampa Bay Lightning, former third overall draft pick Jonathan Drouin wants a fresh start. The 20-year-old Quebec native has been in and out of the Bolts lineup in 2015-16 after a season that saw him play 70 games in 2014-2015. But a day after being sent down to the minors, Drouin's agent dropped the bomb on the media.

Per the Tampa Tribune, Allan Walsh released the following statement regarding his charge:

“On behalf of Jonathan Drouin, I formally requested a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning back in November,” Walsh said in the statement. “We have not said one word about this untenable situation publicly until today. It’s in everyone’s best interests that Jonathan be allowed to move on and play hockey. Let’s be clear, Jonathan loves playing for the fans in Tampa, he loves his teammates and many people within the Lightning organization have treated him well. It was his sincere intention to play in Tampa for many years.’’

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman released a statement Sunday evening addressing the situation:

“We acknowledge, via communication from his agent, Jonathan Drouin’s request to be traded,’’ Yzerman said. “Moving forward, my sole intention is to act in the best interest of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey club. In the meantime, Jonathan has been assigned to our American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and we expect him to report for practice with the rest of his teammates this Tuesday morning.’’

Drouin's usage by the Lighting, particularly during the teams run to the Stanley Cup final last season, was a bone of contention for many.

Drouin only dressed for six of the team's games in the post-season and ended up scoreless with a minus-6 rating.

He appeared to have turned things around this season after he led the team in scoring during the pre-season, but he has only mustered eight points in 19 games during the regular season.

Drouin, the CHL player of the year in 2012-13, netted 242 points in 128 games for the Halifax Mooseheads in three seasons, and led his team to the Memorial Cup. He's considered to be an elite talent with tremendous upside.