Jonathan Drouin

The news that’s become the talk of NHL trade rumors in recent days—that elite prospect Jonathan Drouin has requested a trade out of Tampa Bay—has been somewhat incomplete in that it’s been relatively one-sided. It’s known that Drouin and his agent want out, largely due to the winger’s limited playing time (despite solid production). However, there isn’t much concrete information out there regarding where Tampa might look to move him. A Drouin trade is actually a pretty tricky prospect in that he’ll command a steep price, but the Lightning aren’t in a position to take on a significant salary.

SB Nation’s Blackhawks writers have come up with one interesting trade scenario that would see Drouin headed to Chicago. It’s a little bit of a bizarre idea given how reliably strong the Blackhawks have been for years now and the fact that they remain right in the mix in the Central Division. Giving up anything for a very young player, albeit a projected star, would almost seem counterintuitive. But the trade proposed would send Drouin and defenseman Brayden Coburn to the Blackhawks, with the Lightning taking back Marko Dano, Andrew Shaw, a forward prospect to be named, and a 2016 first round pick. It would be a restructuring move for Tampa Bay, who would unload Drouin but also shed some salary by trading Coburn, and it would be a bold attempt to slap a bandage on the left-wing position for the Blackhawks. It does seem to make some sense both ways, though the success of the deal from Chicago’s side would hinge entirely on Drouin’s preparedness to contribute regularly down the stretch.

Another team that’s been mentioned as a possible destination if Steve Yzerman doesn’t mind keeping Drouin in the Eastern Conference is the struggling Carolina Hurricanes. Despite marginally better play of late, the Canes remain near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, where Betfair’s tipsters place their odds of coming out on top at 400/1. Of course, no one’s expecting Carolina to make that kind of run, but odds that steep demonstrate just how little faith there is in the team, which just can’t seem to capitalise on its potential. It’s unclear exactly what a trade might look like here, but the Hurricanes are building for the future and could use a talented winger. There’s some young talent in Raleigh on the defensive end, most notably in the form of recent draft picks Haydn Fleury and Noah Hanifin. However, the team may well be looking to restructure its offensive identity with long-time captain Eric Staal potentially being traded or signing elsewhere after the season.

A similar situation could exist in Vancouver, too, where Yzerman would likely find a willing trade candidate that would enable him to ship Drouin west. The Canucks are going nowhere in the Pacific Division. Like Carolina, they boast some young talent, though no player likely to carry the scoring load when the Sedin brothers hang up their skates. It’s a little bit difficult to think up a trade that would be equally beneficial for Tampa Bay in this scenario, but Sportsnet has reported that Vancouver has indeed looked in on the possibility.

The USA Today’s sports section has made its own suggestions for six teams that could look to make a move for Drouin, for those who might be curious. As of now, nothing is officially in the works (that we know of), but this is starting to become a very interesting story in advance of the trade deadline.


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