As per usual when it comes to the rumors surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning, none of it is coming from general manager Steve Yzerman's team, a team that is notoriously stingy about letting information out to the public, but one insider believes he can read the tea leaves.
TSN insider Bob McKenzie was a guest on Leafs Lunch and was asked to comment about the rumors that have been circulating about 22-year-old star forward, and while McKenzie made it clear that his info didn't come from Yzerman, he felt confident that Drouin would be dealt.
"I think I've seen the writing on the wall for some time now that Jonathan Drouin is more likely to be traded than not," said McKenzie before adding "that's just my opinion."
While one might wonder why a team would trade such a talented player, Drouin is after all coming off a 21 goal season with 32 assists to go along with them, but McKenzie believes both the team's need for a top-tier defenseman as well as their current cap situation will cause the trade to become a reality. There may also be some subtle pressure from the Kontinental Hockey League to consider as well:
"The financial future of the Lightning there's all sorts of hurdles there and I noticed that Nikita Kucherov's KHL rights just got moved and he's got two years left on his bridge deal. But that means a year from now you can do a long-term deal with Nikita Kucherov, what's he gonna be worth?"
"The numbers would suggest that this guy is going to be looking for a 7 or 8 year deal north of 8 or 9 million dollars a year... how do you make it all fit? I don't know that you can. Somewhere along the line some hard decisions have to be made."
McKenzie also cited the fact that he does not believe Drouin would be willing to take a hometown discount in the way some of the other Lightning stars have, due to his difficult history within the organization. That along with his talent could be why he is the man dealt as the Lightning struggle against the salary cap.
ICYM: For those of you unable to watch the games this evening, there was a stunning development as Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was injured early and did not return.You can watch that incident here, and a second angle that may show a second injury here.