Fire up the rumour mill. The Canadiens had two members of their pro scouting staff in Syracuse Friday night presumably to watch Jonathan Drouin who was playing in his 5th game since the Tampa Bay Lightning demoted him to the AHL earlier this month.
Canadiens senior vice president of hockey operations Rick Dudley and eastern pro scout Mark Mowers watched the game along with single scouts from Philadelphia, Washington, Anaheim and San Jose.
Reports are they didn’t see too much. After scoring two goals in his first AHL game, Drouin was held off the scoresheet for the fourth straight game.
Drouin, unhappy with the way he was being treated in Tampa, through his agent Allan Walsh, had asked to be traded. The Lightning seem very willing to accommodate him but indications are, the asking price might be too high for most teams to absorb.
After Friday night’s game, in which Syracuse was defeated 4-1 by Utica, he talked to syracuse.com about his current situation –
“I don’t really decide. It’s up to them (Tampa Bay),” Drouin said. “But we’ll see what happens the next couple days.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I’m just saying we’ll see what’s going on, and…if I go up or get traded. So, I’ll see how it goes.”
Drouin said he has “no clue” whether that means a recall or the trade request his agent made public before he demotion to the Crunch earlier this month.
“I’m just here to play hockey like I said the first day (in Syracuse),” he said. “When it happens it happens. I’m here to just play my game.’
After a junior career in Halifax as a teammate of Nathan MacKinnon, the 5’11” 190 lb. Drouin was drafted third overall in 2013. In his rookie season with Tampa he scored 4 goals 32 points in 70 games. This season he had 2 goals, 6 assists in the 19 games before being sent do Syracuse.
It seems unlikely that the Lightning would make a deal within their own division, but by the very fact that the Canadiens had not one but two scouts on hand to watch Drouin play indicates more than a little interest in at least attempting make a deal. Of course everything hinges on the price. Drouin is only 20 and not even close to helping the Canadiens through their current offensive woes. The hard fact is, Drouin has only six goals to show through his first 89 NHL games. How much can ‘potential’ be worth in the trade market? It all comes down to risk/reward.