It was the tweet read around the world.
A statement from Jonathan Drouin's agent Allan Walsh regarding his client's future in TB: pic.twitter.com/Vhwet1IpTW— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 3, 2016
That bombshell was dropped Jan. 3. The day prior, Jonathan Drouin and his eight points in 19 games had been demoted to the AHL. A few weeks later, Drouin just flat out refused to play at all since not playing definitely increases your trade value; he instead hoped to play the waiting game that the Lightning would be able to trade him by trade deadline on February 29th.
Drouin was ultimately suspended indefinitely, not traded at the deadline, returned to the Syracuse Crunch, recalled by the Bolts due in large part to Steven Stamkos’ injury, was trusted in the playoffs and produced (image that concept?) and now all is good between the Drouin and the Lightning — so much so that he “definitely” wants to stay.
Allan Walsh was asked Thursday on TSN Radio about Drouin, like how it was apparently reported Walsh and Steve Yzerman were seen “embracing” after the Lightning knocked out the Islanders after the first round. Although we couldn’t track down the original source of that “news,” you can listen to Walsh’s comments here (interview begins at the 8:30 mark).
On that embrace:
“Steve came out of the dressing room and I was down there after they eliminated the Islanders and I guess there were some other people around. Steve saw me and came over and we gave each other a little handshake and quick hug and I guess it got reported that we embraced. So I guess everyone else missed it except for the few guys who were down there who happened to see it.
“There was never, ever, any animosity or even tension between Steve Yzerman and I through the whole season and through the whole process involving Jonathan Drouin. Steve is a pro, and he’s universally respected and Steve understands as an agent I have role to play.”
On the trade request no longer existing:
“I think Jonathan handled that question himself perfectly at the end of the season, when he said himself ... that he was very happy with his role from the time he got recalled to Tampa and very much wants to play in Tampa going forward.”
How Drouin handled the “onslaught of criticism initially:”
“I think you have to not really care what people think and what they say. I know from my own point of view ... if I were sitting here today or at any time concerned about criticism or what people say about me or what they think about me, I should probably get a different line of work. You can’t take any of that into account. You always have to remain true to your word, you have to maintain your honor in every relationship.”
On Walsh’s relationship with Drouin after this:
“Jonathan and I are a team. We’ve been a team since we started working together and we’ll remain a team.”