Following the buzz over yesterday’s unexpected trade activity, check out the latest on Jonathan Drouin plus a look at possible blueline targets for the Oilers.
Latest Drouin rumors.
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie weighed in on the recent drama over disgruntled winger Jonathan Drouin’s future with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He suggests it would be best for all involved if a fair-value deal could be worked out by next week. He doesn’t believe Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will just give Drouin away to resolve an uncomfortable situation. After speaking with a number of hockey executives, the consensus is it would be difficult to put a player back in the lineup who has publicly voiced a desire not to be there. He also notes Drouin has almost no leverage in this situation.
McKenzie claims there are “upwards of a dozen NHL teams with varying degrees of interest” in the young winger. “Alphabetically listed, I’d say: Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Vancouver and Winnipeg, among others.” He said he’d be surprised if Drouin were dealt to an Eastern Conference club, especially a division rival. McKenzie also believes the Lightning could be the best return within the next week or 10 days, rather than at the trade deadline or at the NHL draft in June.
CTV’s Brian Wilde reports via Twitter that a “strong source” confirms the Canadiens “are aggressively pursuing Drouin.”
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James suggests the Red Wings should look into a trade for Drouin, believing he could make a good fit alongside Wings rookie star Dylan Larkin. She recommends offering up “righty-shooting Alexey Marchenko and Ryan Sproul”, plus adding forward Tomas Jurco to the package.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie makes a lot of terrific points and I recommend reading the entire piece at the link provided above. I disagree that the Lightning’s best yield for Drouin could come within the next seven-10 days. Given the high number of teams with limited cap space for this season and next, an affordable, promising talent like Drouin will still attract considerable interest and fetch a decent return at the trade deadline or at the draft.
None of his Lightning teammates or coach Jon Cooper voiced any displeasure over Drouin’s trade request. Publicly, at least, they seem like they would welcome him back once he’s finished his stint in the minors.
As for the Canadiens, I don’t doubt they’re making inquiries,but given the intense playoff rivalry between the two clubs in recent years, I’ll be very surprised if Yzerman dealt him to the Habs. The Wings could look into Drouin as well, but they’re an organization that tends to rank player character quite highly. They might not like dealing with a player who allows his agent to publicly demand a trade.
Possible Oilers blueline targets.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites a prediction from WFAN/CBS New York columnist Dan Friedman suggesting the New York Islanders will trade defenseman Travis Hamonic to the Edmonton Oilers this year. Staples notes the Isles want a comparable defenseman in return, which would mean parting with Oscar Klefbom, something the Oilers don’t want to do. While the Oilers seem a logical destination for Hamonic, who requested a trade to a Western-Canadian team for personal reasons to be closer to his Manitoba home, Staples doesn’t see that move happening this season. Perhaps at the draft, when the Oilers can use their first-round pick as trade bait.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Johnny Boychuk sidelined four-to-six weeks with an injured left shoulder, Hamonic’s not going anywhere this season.
Jonathan Willis examines a thin list of right-shooting free-agent defensemen the Oilers could pursue this summer. The depth drops significantly beyond Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, as Willis list includes
San Jose’s Dallas’ Jason Demers, Montreal’s Tom Gilbert, Boston’s Kevan Miller and former Flyer-now-LA King Luke Schenn. He feels the Oilers will have to go the trade route to resolve this issue.