The Nashville Predators are being mentioned as a possible suitor for a trade with Tampa Bay for Jonathan Drouin.
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Earlier today, Bob McKenzie at TSN sent out the following Tweet:
Apparently his agent Allan Walsh sent that out after he had been sent down to the Bolts minor league affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. That set off a firestorm around Twitter as to what might happen between Drouin and Tampa Bay.
Yesterday, Eklund from Hockey Buzz sent out the following message on his website:
"The Lightning have sent down the talented Jonathan Drouin and he could be had in a trade sources inform me….in fact he has been quietly available for some time…Last season, around the same time, early January, I started hearing reports of teams discussing Drouin with the Lightning…The price was of course high, and at this point the price is probably still high..but may be a little lower.The Bolts actuality talked to cross-state rivals Florida last year….this year I have heard Arizona, Ottawa, Montreal and Nashville….to this point at least.."
Earlier today, he added St. Louis to that list of teams interested in the talented young winger.
In the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Lightning selected Jonathan Drouin 3rd overall right before the Predators chose Seth Jones. Most draft pundits had Jones going before the fourth selection and thought that Drouin might fall to the Predators in the draft. He didn’t immediately play for the Lightning and made his NHL debut last season. He had an up-and-down year with limited playing time and tallied four goals and 28 pts.
The playoffs were where the fracture between young Drouin and Tampa Coach Jon Cooper was more apparent. Drouin only played in six of the Lightning’s 26 playoff games. He’s only played in 19 games this season due to injury and has been moved up and down the lineup. He still has averaged a career 1.9 points per 60 minutes over a 92 game span in the NHL and most folks feel he hasn’t been given a chance in Tampa to show what he can do. And he’s still only 20 years old.
There was trade speculation almost immediately for the Predators. It burned quickly through Twitter even though the Preds have been looking more for a center and not the left wing that Drouin plays. Even Jimmy Hascup from USA today published an article today on the six teams that should trade for Drouin. Nashville was one of them:
"Nashville Predators: The Predators are contenders, and the Lightning fashion themselves as one, too. If Drouin couldn’t play consistently with the Lightning, why should the Predators take a chance on him? Easy. The Predators are 17th in offense and they lack enough skilled forwards who are capable of filling top-six roles. They could benefit from Drouin’s wizardry. General manager David Poile seems reluctant to break up the league’s best defense, but Drouin could be a player who changes his mind."
Tampa, like almost everyone else in the league, is looking for defensive help. The Predators would probably have to send a roster player and a pick or a prospect for Drouin. He has much the same kind of talent that Filip Forsberg was when Poile traded for him. It is untapped and needs to be shown. He is only 20 years old and in the second year of a contract that pays him less than $900k a year.
I’m sure that David Poile will, at least, kick the tires on this one. He may be a perfect fit for the Predators in the long range but how much would he be able to help out this year? Certainly something to think about.