A week after missing out on Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher has his sights set on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin, multiple sources say.
The Wild is one of several teams having trade talks with Lightning GM Steve Yzerman. Other teams pursuing Drouin, according to league sources, include St. Louis, Anaheim, the Rangers, Islanders, Colorado, Winnipeg, Montreal and New Jersey.
The price for Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, is considered a young player of similar ilk. From the Wild, the Lightning has asked for defenseman Matt Dumba, sources say, a pending restricted free agent coming out of his entry-level contract. Dumba, 21, the seventh pick in the 2012 draft, ranked third among NHL rookie defensemen last season with eight goals in 58 games.
On Jan. 2 coincidentally at Tampa Bay, Dumba registered nine shots, a Wild record for a defenseman.
While Yzerman says he’s in no rush to trade Drouin, it’s believed he’s weighing all offers and a move could come sooner rather than later. Tom Kurvers, Yzerman’s senior adviser who lives in Minnesota, scouted his second consecutive Wild game Tuesday.
Drouin, 20, sent to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch on Jan. 2 just as the Wild was preparing for its morning skate in Tampa, has been the subject of trade rumors since agent Allan Walsh went public Jan. 3 with their November trade request. Drouin scored two goals in the first period of his first game with Syracuse on Jan. 8. He’s scoreless in two games since and plays Binghamton on Wednesday.
The 5-11 winger who has played center is a strong scorer and playmaker. In 2012-13, Drouin had the first of consecutive 100-point seasons for Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He helped the Mooseheads win the President’s Cup and Memorial Cup and was named league MVP and Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year.
Drouin hasn’t been able to squeeze into a top-six role with the Lightning. He scored four goals and 28 assists in 70 games last season while averaging 13 minutes, 14 seconds a game. He played only six playoff games during Tampa Bay’s run to the Stanley Cup Final last year. A groin injury has limited him to 19 games this season.
Fletcher clearly is looking to give the Wild a shot in the arm. He offered Columbus defenseman Jonas Brodin (the salary cap-strapped Wild needed to trade a big contract) and a forward, sources say, before Johansen was dealt to Nashville for defenseman Seth Jones.
Former Sabres captain Jason Pominville, without a point in nine games heading into Tuesday’s game against Buffalo, played his 207th consecutive game. He tied Andrew Brunette for third on the team’s list of consecutive games played. Pominville is 24 games from second (Kyle Brodziak) and 76 from Antti Laaksonen’s team record.
In Buffalo, Pominville once played 336 games in a row.
“Knock on wood, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” Pominville said. “I try to get ready and prepared and take care of myself. Obviously there’s a little bit of a luck factor, but for the most part, I’ve been pretty fortunate.”
Winger Ryan Carter, playing with a left hand injury, hurt his right hand during a fight with New Jersey’s Jordin Tootoo on Sunday. Carter missed Tuesday’s game and is questionable for this weekend’s games against Winnipeg and Nashville. Chris Porter, scratched the past two games, returned.
Defenseman Nate Prosser missed his fifth consecutive game because of a hand injury but could return Friday. Defenseman Mike Reilly played his third game in a row.