We're approaching a very interesting time of the NHL regular season. With a looming trade deadline on the horizon, there is trade speculation aplenty. This morning, Allan Walsh, a sports agent and lawyer with Octagon Hockey released this statement about his client Jonathan Drouin:
A statement from Jonathan Drouin's agent Allan Walsh regarding his client's future in TB: pic.twitter.com/Vhwet1IpTW— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 3, 2016
It's no secret it's been rocky road between Drouin/TB for quite some time, but Walsh's public statement on trade request will magnify it.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 3, 2016
This news came just after Drouin was sent down the Tampa's AHL affiliate. Obviously the kid wasn't very happy about the move, and by the sounds of it, hasn't been happy with his time in Tampa.
There's no doubt about it, Jonathan Drouin is rich with offensive talent and pure skill. The former third-overall pick in 2013 is putting up a career 1.9 points per 60 minutes over a 92 game span in the NHL. He's been largely under-utilized by John Cooper, and hasn't been given a true chance to break out of his shell as a player who could play upwards for 18-20 minutes a night playing on a top line.
Okay, so we have to at least speculate the Red Wings trading for this kid. Why? Because he's really good. We have no idea what the price tag would be, but I'm certain it's not going to be a "spare parts and draft picks" type of transaction. Drouin has the ceiling to be an elite player, and he's going to be treated as an an elite asset. He's still within his ELC terms, so he will cost-controlled for the time being, which adds even more value. If we look at history, players like Kyle Turris (who was also a 3rd overall pick) was traded for David Rundblad, and a draft pick. I don't think that's the case here, because I believe that Steve Yzerman is walking on a tight rope with derailing his organization with this, and the completely separate Steven Stamkos debacle. On the other hand, if he goes about this delicately, and in a smart manner, he could set himself up for a decent reload.
At any rate, I don't think Yzerman deals Drouin to a division rival. Let's ignore that, and imagine if we used the Kyle Turris trade as a comparable for what we would have to pay. A young defenseman, and a 2nd round draft pick. Essentially you're looking at giving up a guy who is playing at the NHL level, so that would be Alexey Marchenko, and a 2nd round pick. That just doesn't click as realistic to me. I have a feeling this will certainly be a roster player, and a 1st round pick type deal. Hell, maybe even a prospect involved. Johathan Drouin is raw, untapped offensive talent.
I'm not sure Detroit can afford to divvy up defense in a trade like this, because they need it so badly. In fact, while Drouin is a very intriguing player to acquire, I really think that the focus for this team is to upgrade the blue-line with a non-rental player. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, though. There isn't a team in this league who doesn't need a young, cost-controlled offensive catalyst like Drouin. If Yzerman actually entertains the option of trading him, there will be no shortage of inquiries.