For the second off-season in a row the Montreal Canadiens made headlines with a blockbuster trade, this time dealing elite defensive prospect Mikhail Sergachev for some immediate help up front. The return, Jonathan Drouin, gives the Habs an instant, and significant, upgrade in terms of skill and play making ability among the top-six forwards.
Drouin immediately becomes one of Montreal’s most dangerous forwards and will have plenty of opportunities to rack up points for the club – and your fantasy squad.
Drouin was seen as a major breakout candidate prior to the 2016-17 season and he didn’t disappoint. He built on the tremendous playoffs he put together after returning to the team in 2015-16 (14 points in 17 games) and became an important member of an elite forward group in Tampa Bay.
Although he never really seemed to fit in Tampa Bay, Drouin still out together an impressive season, putting up 53 points in just 73 games, despite a rotating cast of linemates that rarely included the Lightning’s best players. His season included several highlight reel goals and a penchant for coming through in clutch situations. Only the emergence of Brayden Point and pending salary cap concerns made Drouin expendable for Tampa Bay.
Season Stats: 73 GP, 21 goals, 32 assists, 53 points, -13 rating, 16 PIMS, 9 PPG, 0 SHG, 6 GWG, 183 shots, 17:42 TOI
3 Year Averages
(Drouin has played just three NHL seasons, including the significantly reduced 2015-16 campaign.)
Drouin will step into a top-six role and be asked to ignite a rather stagnant offence. He will get a chance to play centre, which would go a long way in solving the club’s issues at the position. If he and Max Pacioretty can mesh, the Habs would have their most dangerous combo in years and the results for both Drouin and the captain could be very exciting.
As a potential French Canadian superstar and possibly the most purely gifted offensive talent on the roster, Drouin will be given every opportunity to succeed. This means plenty of top line minutes, first unit power play time and potential fantasy gold.
While Drouin’s averages are nothing to write home about, they are significantly hampered by deployment and missed time. His performance last season is much better indicator of what’s to come. At only 22 years old, the sky is the limit for the former third overall pick and he could become the elite playmaker the Habs have needed for some time now.
This season look for a modest increase based on opportunity alone, with the potential for even better numbers if he and Pacioretty put it all together.