Drouin speaks publicly for first time since trade request

Tampa Bay Lightning Jonathan Drouin meets with the media and refuses to talk about his trade request, after his demotion to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.

Short, tense, and revealing little.

That’s how Jonathan Drouin‘s media availability unfolded Tuesday morning in Syracuse, where he spoke publicly for the first time since news broke that he had requested a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning back in November.

“I’m not talking about the trade request,” the 20-year-old told reporters. (Watch above.)

Drouin, the third-overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, repeated his refrain again when asked directly about his relationship with Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.

Cooper said Monday that Drouin’s request out of Tampa came as a surprise to the NHL dressing room.

Drouin was assigned to AHL Syracuse on Saturday, where he played two games last season. He said he was excited to contribute to the Crunch and play his way back to the NHL.

“I’m here to help them win,” Drouin said. “It’s up to me to work and get back up there.

“You obviously want to be up there.”

Drouin scored six points in his first five games this season, then missed 19 games because of injuries and has just two points in his past 14 games.

He said he is 100 per cent healthy and has been since he returned on Dec. 30 to play the New York Rangers.

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman addressed Drouin’s trade request Monday.

“I’ll do what’s best for the hockey team,” Yzerman told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector. “Any potential trade is going to made to make our hockey team better, not to [appease] a player.”

Crunch coach Rob Zettler said Tuesday Syracuse was excited to welcome Drouin to the team.

“He’s a talented player who’s going to infuse some energy,” Zettler said. “The best thing he can do for himself, for the organization, for Tampa, is to come down and work hard.”

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston asked Drouin if he believes he’s played his last game for the Lightning.

“Hard to say,” Drouin replied.

Drouin and the Crunch visit the Albany Devils on Friday.

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