The fact Jonathan Drouin was not moved by the Tampa Bay Lightning by the 2016 NHL trade deadline is not going to thrill some Bolts fans. Fifty-seven days of chatter, rhetoric, speculation and rumors brought back nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Bupkus. Didly-squat. Zero.
I'm just fine with that.
Recapping what's happened, Drouin made a trade request in November 2015. When exactly is unclear though being moved away from top-line minutes likely contributed to it; Drouin regressed from 1st line status with Steen Stamkos to bottom-six, hone-your-game status... He also saw himself banged up and injured a few times which led to dropping from the Lightning lineup.
During his December injury span (which coincided a few Lightning regulars dropping from the lineup) Jonathan Marchessault carved a little niche in the Bolts roster and lost his ability to be sent back to the AHL without waivers. Drouin, on the other hand, was waiver-exempt; he's still on his entry level contract and improving his on-ice responsibilities was desired by the club - top line minute and responsibility would be had up in central New York. With a full roster and with a need to perk up the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, the Bolts optioned Drouin to Syracuse on January 2nd, 2016.
...which Jonathan Drouin did not like. Not one bit.
Agent Allan Walsh made public Drouin's desire to exit - stage left - from the Lightning franchise. Drouin had another prissy fit and walked away from his AHL assignment after 7 games played, leading to his suspension-without-pay on January 20th.
Here we are, 40 days after that decision by Drouin. GM Steve Yzerman did not get the deal he wanted and nothing happened on deadline day. There was no loss to the Lightning lineup, there was no gain. The Lightning stay static and Jonathan Drouin stays idle... and that's just fine.
Yzerman's plan on dealing Drouin was to get what was best for the Lightning in a trade. Drouin's intent on getting traded was to get what was best for his wants. Trying to outweigh the entity of an NHL franchise during the second year of your professional career, 89 games played at the NHL level in total, makes it hard for me to support such a trade request to begin with, let alone any emotional reaction of the negative side for not being traded. Drouin isn't and never was in the driver seat in an NHL transaction involving himself. You earn that opportunity as your career progresses and you achieve. No, junior days in Halifax do not trump accomplishments at the NHL level with the club you're playing for, and Jonathan Drouin hadn't accomplished much of anything in his time so far in the league.
Some may immediately jump on the fact Drouin's not been playing ample 1st line time with Steven Stamkos and the best and brightest on the Lightning roster. He's not going to accomplish when grouped with the other guys or in a lower role with the club. I must remind you that you make do with the time you have and in the role you are asked to fill. There was a guy on the Lightning roster in 2000 who was pretty desperate to stay on the Lightning roster, let alone stay in the league. He was unwanted and unsought and was on a league-minimum contract. He didn't just do what he was assigned in lower-line minutes and ice time on the penalty-kill but showed those in power that he had more ability than those role-players were expected to have. He showed goal-scoring ability and offensive prowess while raising the game of those who played with him.
That was Martin St. Louis, and that tact is profoundly different than the entitled-for-the-top from Drouin. Marty did succeed in play in college hockey, but he did have to overcome the fact he had a smaller size package than NHL clubs were used to. He overcame, he achieved, found glory of the Cup, a Hart Trophy and the ability to say he wanted out of town and to only one potential trade partner.
The time Jonathan Drouin spent with the Halifax Mooseheads and what he accomplished there is moot the moment he went pro. Yet between those numbers, his 2013 #3 overall selection status and accolades toward his promise has led to a bad decision or two here. In earning opportunity, Jonathan Drouin would have forced the team to make choices that would better suit the player. Throwing a fit or two has led to idle status, and that status will continue as a truth played out in trade talk: The Lightning was not satisfied and they're the one in control.