Right now, the Tampa Bay Lightning could trade him, and no one would blame them.
Jonathan Drouin tried to whine his way into the Lightning lineup, and then he tried to whine his way out of the Syracuse lineup. He asked for a trade and, Wednesday night, did not show up for a game. If the Lightning would kick him to the curb, who would care?
The Lightning, too, could meet and talk with Drouin. They could explain the way trades work and insist that if he wants to play, he gets with the program.
Or, if you are the Lightning in the case of the wayward forward, you could do this: Nothing.
Let him sit. Let him pout. Let him rot for all the second thoughts that general manager Steve Yzerman must have. Who is Drouin to fuss over?
Oh, it is bound to have some repercussions after Drouin chose to sit out the Crunch’s game on Wednesday night. According to Drouin’s agent, Drouin believed the Lightning was close to honoring Drouin’s trade request and decided he didn’t want to risk injury. Yzerman, on the other hand, preferred Drouin be in shape in case the team decided to recall him.
So Drouin refused to play, and Yzerman suspended him, and you wonder how this will end. Drouin’s agent, Allan Walsh, says that Drouin won’t play until he is traded.
If you are Yzerman, of course, you could care less about Drouin’s demands. Yzerman’s task is to make the Lightning better, and shipping off the No. 3 pick in the draft just because he wants to go isn’t realistic. What? You’re going to let a young talent go if he pouts?
If you are Drouin, you may feel shortchanged with your ice time. But withholding services doesn’t exactly win over interested teams, does it? Drouin, no matter how he sees himself, is a man with six goals lifetime. He has more potential than he does production.
So how does this end? I suspect that if the Lightning can get a young player with a limited payroll impact, Yzerman will move him to stop the headaches.
But you wonder what this says about a young player, too. Does he feel this much entitlement?