Making sense of the Jonathan Drouin trade from the Lightning Perspective

National Hockey League

Stage 1: Denial

Stage 2: Anger

Stage 3: Bargaining

Stage 4: Depression

Jonathan Drouin might not be the best player in his draft class, might not have been the best player on the Lightning, and may never be the best player on the Canadiens. But what matters more was the type of player he was.

There are so few players who can turn “nothing into something” any time they get the puck on their stick. That was Drouin. He was a crafty, slippery, little playmaker who at times looked like future five-star recruits on high school football highlight tapes. These are the players you just accept are going to make mistakes and turn the puck over and live with it.

And now he’s gone for a speculative prospect, who is likely to be a stud when he hits his peak in a few years. Alongside Victor Hedman and Jake Dotchin, the future of Tampa’s blue line is as formidable as anyone in the league aside from Nashville or maybe Anaheim.

There have been a number of theories as to why this trade happened but all have their flaws.

Some have speculated this allows Tampa to protect another forward in the expansion draft. Which is true, but that forward will not be as good as Jonathan Drouin. Forgive me, but I’m not over the moon about shipping away Drouin to ensure Alex Killorn is playing in Tampa next year.

Some have speculated that it was a salary dump. And in a way aren’t all trades? It’s no longer as simple as moving players, now they are assets with attached baggage in the form of salary cap hits.

However, Allan Walsh, Drouin’s agent says they were never even contacted about an extension. As an RFA, Drouin had limited rights if Tampa’s offers were not to his liking. And forgive me, but I’m not over the moon about shipping away Drouin to ensure Tyler Johnson (who I really like, promise!) is playing in Tampa next year.

No, I think the explanation is much more simple.

Yzerman is simply not going all in with the current crop of players. He has been very open about the fact that he wants sustained success rather than putting himself in cap hell for one good run.

The problem with this is that everyone else is more than glad to push all their chips in any given year and hope they can work it out in the future. It might not be the same teams every year, but Tampa’s gonna have to beat them to win it all.

You always want to add a prospect like Sergachev if you can, but when you’ve got a cup-ready team already, shipping off a 22-year-old forward who scored 50+ points a season ago largely without the best pure goal-scorer on the team, maybe it’s time to let these trades go.

Did the Lightning have a blue line prospect as promising as Sergachev? No. How many teams do? Two? But the goal here has to be winning a cup and there is no guarantee the prospects or young players in the system now will ever put together a roster as good as what’s there now.

Maybe Sergachev will make a leap and join the Lightning next year and contribute immediately, but “bird in the bush” and that.

I guess now all I can do is wait.

Stage 5: Acceptance

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One thought on “Making sense of the Jonathan Drouin trade from the Lightning Perspective

  1. Sergachev is a great prospect. Definitely will make the NHL, possibly as soon as next season. But I’m so glad the habs got drouin. We haven’t had a player with this type of offensive skill since the days of killing kovalev. I think people forget that last year was his first full NHL season, he still hasn’t reach his full potential yet. He has all the skill set to become a point per game (or close to it) player in the league

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