The Tampa Bay Lightning have suspended forward Jonathan Drouin indefinitely without pay for failing to show up for tonight’s game with Syracuse in the American Hockey League.
Jonathan Drouin has been suspended indefinitely without pay after failing to report for tonight’s Syracuse Crunch game vs. Toronto.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 21, 2016
Drouin was sent to the AHL by the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier last month and has since let it be known he wants to be traded from the team. The Lightning haven’t utilized the third overall draft pick like many expected, as he’s appeared in 19 games with the club posting eight points, receiving just over 14 minutes of ice time per game. It’s not what many expected for the highly skilled offensive player.
Still, Tampa Bay has the right to do whatever they want. Drouin signed an entry-level contract with the club, so they can send him to the AHL as they please. Drouin hasn’t exactly torn up with Syracuse, with three points in seven games, and it’s a bit dramatic to not report considering he’s just 20 and hasn’t yet established himself as a regular contributor at the NHL level.
In a statement, Drouin’s agent Allan Walsh said there’s no reason for Drouin to continue playing in Tampa Bay’s organization in any capacity.
“When the Tampa Bay Lightning assigned Jonathan Drouin to Syracuse it was explained the purpose of the assignment was twofold; (1) conditioning due to missed games from injury and (2) provide proof that he had completely recovered from his injury. Jonathan has now played seven games with Syracuse in the past (14) days.
A few days ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning advised that a trade involving Jonathan was moving closer to completion. We proposed to Tampa that Jonathan not play in the next few AHL games but continue practicing with the club to avoid any potential injury from preventing an imminent trade. Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Lightning refused this reasonable request, however, Jonathan was not willing to accept this risk. We have been advised that the Tampa Bay Lightning has suspended Jonathan.
In light of the latest developments it is clearly in both sides best interests that the Tampa Bay Lightning trade Jonathan as there is no reason for Jonathan to continue with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization in any capacity. We will have no further comment as we await the Tampa Bay Lightning to conclude a trade that involves Jonathan.”
Drouin’s got some value on the trade market, so Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman should have no problem trading him, but I can’t imagine he’s pleased with the situation. Drouin is handling this quite poorly, and instead of toughing things out he’s going against his contract and refusing to play. It’s not a great look. Hopefully resolution can be found that pleases both Drouin and the Lightning.