Jonathan Drouin suspended for failing to report to minor-league game
Published Thursday, January 21, 2016 8:17AM AST Last Updated Thursday, January 21, 2016 7:39PM AST
TORONTO -- Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler was caught off guard when Jonathan Drouin informed him he would not attend the team's American Hockey League game against the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday night.
Drouin made Zettler aware of his intentions following the team's morning skate at Ricoh Coliseum and was not on the bus to the rink for the game.
"He seemed to be enjoying himself and engaged with everybody," said Zettler, who maintained he had no issues with Drouin. "He made a decision not to play so we'll move forward and let the powers that be in Tampa handle it from here."
Drouin was announced as a healthy scratch prior to the Crunch's 5-4 overtime loss to the Marlies.
In a statement, the Lightning said Drouin has been "suspended indefinitely without pay by the team after his failure to report for tonight's game."
Wednesday's twist was just the latest in an on-going saga between Drouin and the Lightning.
Earlier this month it was made public that Drouin, through his agent, had requested a trade from the Lightning back in November.
According to Drouin's agent Allan Walsh, when the forward was assigned to the AHL club on Jan. 2, it was explained that the assignment was for conditioning purposes and to show other NHL clubs he had recovered from his injury.
"A few days ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning advised that a trade involving Jonathan was moving closer to completion," Walsh said in a statement on Wednesday after Drouin had been suspended. "We proposed to Tampa that Jonathan not play in the next few AHL games but continue practising with the club to avoid any potential injury from preventing an imminent trade. Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Lightning refused this reasonable request, however, and Jonathan was not willing to accept this risk. We have been advised that the Tampa Bay Lightning has suspended Jonathan.
Walsh added that at this point it seems best for Drouin and Tampa Bay to part ways.
"In light of the latest developments it is clearly in both sides best interests that the Tampa Bay Lightning trade Jonathan as there is no reason for Jonathan to continue with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization in any capacity."
In seven games since joining the Crunch, Drouin has two goals and an assist to go along with a minus-1 rating.
Several NHL clubs had scouts in attendance at Ricoh Coliseum for Wednesday night's game including the Canucks, Senators, Jets and Canadiens.
"I just don't know how it helps his value," one scout told The Canadian Press.
Originally the third-overall selection by the Lightning at the 2013 NHL draft, Drouin has six goals and 34 assists in 89 career games with Tampa Bay.
Drouin has one year remaining on his entry-level contract, which will pay him US$832,500 next season.
"I guess I was surprised. He was working hard, he was doing a lot of good things," Zettler said. "Played seven games. I expected him to play."