Let the Rumors Fly: Drouin Watch is On
As if Rangers fans didn’t have enough of an outburst yesterday after Alain Vigneault’s comments about Henrik Lundqvist’s play as of late, we were treated to some more entertainment, as Larry Brooks now officially reports the Rangers’ interest in Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin.
Listen, untapped 3rd overall picks aren’t available every day, so don’t think the Rangers are the only team interested. With that being said, Brooks does say that the Rangers’ brass met with Steve Yzerman last week when the Rangers were in Tampa Bay. IMPORTANT: These talks took blade before any trade requests were made public, so kudos to Gorton for identifying Drouin as a trade possibility. Any talk is good talk when it comes to moves like this. Moreover, this is really the first time we are hearing that the Rangers have had discussions with any team about a move since the free fall began after Thanksgiving. For all the flack that Brooks takes, let’s understand that he is one of the most informed beat writers out there. I wouldn’t discard anything yet.
As for what the Rangers will have to give up: who knows? Brooks suggests that the most likely candidate to head south is Keith Yandle, who’s contract expires at the end of the season. It may not be popular, but with Brady Skeji ready to make the jump combined with the huge contracts already on the blueline, Yandle might just be the piece that HAS to go. Could the Rangers pry a draft pick away from Tampa if they ask for a more highly-touted player? Why not.
Things also get dicey when trade requests are made public. Does anyone remember a certain trade between these two teams in 2014? It sure seems like Yzerman’s hand is forced here. He’s got enough to contend with, as Steven Stamkos is slated to become a UFA this summer if no contract agreement is reached. Those talks don’t seem to be going anywhere as of now. The Drouin situation is a headache that Yzerman simply can’t afford now with this team not in a playoff spot together with all the moves he has to make regarding his impending free agent. With that being said, can the Rangers get Drouin for 50 cents on the dollar so Yzerman gets this done with? Maybe; it all depends on how long this drags on. It’s all speculation, but for now there really is something to keep an eye out for.
Follow me on twitter: @ekwestel