A top performing young player is selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning at a high position in the NHL draft. His course to the Lightning roster is not direct despite his successes in the Canadian juniors. His first pro season is respectable and shows promise while turmoil hits during his second season tied in part to a reassignment to the AHL.
While Brett already highlighted the fact these conflicts that are playing out with Jonathan Drouin are more common in the NHL, it's the fact this has played out with the Lightning before that's fallen off the radar with thanks to time. A distant memory has faded in many minds, or just hasn't been voiced loud enough to play out in the media.
21 years ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected Daymond Langkow from the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. While Langkow, in retrospect, wasn't the strongest of players still on the board at the time of Tampa Bay's selection (view the full draft class here), the whole process of selection and a wide retrospect of the '95 draft class isn't what this story's about. It's about the odd similarity of disdain from a high draft pick.
Langkow was a 5'11" center who had a monster year in Tri-City (72 GP, 67 goals, 73 assists, 140 points) the year of his selection. The 1995-96 season only offered him a limited opportunity in the NHL, playing 4 games at the pro level and earning an assist before being returned to Tri-City. In 48 games at the WHL level that season, Langkow posted 30 goals and 61 assists. It's worth noting Jonathan Drouin, nearly 20 years later, was more productive in fewer games played with the Mooseheads in the year of his drafting (49 games, 41 goals, 64 assists) but more on-par playing center in 2013-14 for Halifax (46 games, 29 goals, 79 assists).
His first full season pro was a solid 28 point showing in 79 games, putting up 15 goals and 13 assists. One drama of note that is comparable as well as a brush of is the status of the Lightning itself that year - Tampa Bay failed to make the playoffs. The Bolts were a different franchise back then on and off the ice at the time and drama tied to the playoffs wasn't a fuel as it seems to have been with Drouin's discontent.
The next season was where the trouble played out. It did not directly lead to Langkow's trade out of town - a lot of factors played into that tied to the overall direction of the franchise and turmoil in place with thanks to ownership issues and management issues since 1997. Jacques Demers was head coach of the Lightning after Terry Crisp was fired early in the season and Langkow saw healthy scratching and Demers doghouse. In March 1998, the club opted to reassign Langkow to the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL... That's where it all hit the fan and Langkow refused the assignment. The club suspended him indefinitely but also said it had no interest in trading Langkow (note: while sptimes.com's 1997-98 coverage can be found online, the article in question does not appear online but is referenced in Wikipedia by name).
The indefinite suspension was levied after the refusal on March 13th, 1998. Langkow returned to the Lightning at the end of the month (the end of the suspension was influenced in part by Demers).
This is where things differ though, as agent influence wasn't laid out as a factor to the refusal, nor was it made public if there had been a trade request. Langkow was eventually traded during the 1998-99 season in a major organizational shake up that needed to play out for more than one reason. I won't get into that drama but it's notable that's not where things are at 401 Channelside Drive in 2016; the franchise has not been riddled with turmoil brought on by ownership fluctuation, free agent drama personnel choices, and other problems of the era.
In this case, there's a bar to reach or exceed and the fact Tampa Bay had a high 2013 draft selection with what the club was going to pull off with the roster on-hand in 2013-14 and 2014-15 accentuated the fact there's both a challenge as well as no rush to meet the bar, or exceed it. By reaching or exceeding that bar. The rush was there for Langkow on a team thinner with talent and in an organization still looking for identity. Circumstances are different in the instance of the moment.