When the Montreal Canadiens acquired Jonathan Drouin from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Mikhail Sergachev, fans were ecstatic. The club had acquired an immensely skilled francophone player that the Canadiens have been missing since Vincent Damphousse.
However, the first two seasons with the Canadiens never went according to plan. He was thrown into centre ice as the Canadiens’ top centre as they had no depth down the middle. Drouin had played centre at the junior level but very little in the NHL. He struggled to adapt to his new role and his offensive production dropped from the year prior.
In his second season, Drouin moved back to the wing after the Canadiens acquired Max Domi from the Arizona Coyotes. Although he managed to tie a career-high in points, Drouin still struggled with consistency. He finished the year with just one goal and three points in the final 18 games and the Canadiens ultimately missed the playoffs.
The Canadiens needed more from their star player. Drouin knew this. He knew he was capable of providing more for the Canadiens. So far this season, he is doing just that. Drouin looks like a brand new player for the Canadiens.
Jonathan Drouin On Fire to Start the Season for the Montreal Canadiens
Player Under Scrutiny
Since joining the Canadiens, Jonathan Drouin has been under a ton of scrutiny. Not all warranted, however, the Canadiens needed Drouin to be better. Or at least be more engaged. His tenure with the Canadiens has had so many ups and down in just two short years. At times he even looked disinterested. This sparked trade rumours before the season opener for the Canadiens on October 2nd against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Although Drouin has stated in multiple interviews that he does not read anything, he surely hears the criticism. This would take a toll on any human no matter what profession your is. However, Drouin is determined to use that criticism as motivation to get back to being the player he is capable of being.
Putting in Work During the Off-Season
Jonathan Drouin used the off-season to put in work to get back to the player he was when he was drafted third overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. As Sportsnet Eric Engels reported, Drouin called up Dominic Ducharme during the off-season to break down video with him. Drouin wanted to find out what his good and bad habits were, as well as look at players similar to him and their tendencies on the ice.
Jonathan Drouin decided earlier this summer to call up Dominique Ducharme to break down video with him. Video of his good and bad habits, and video of comparable players and what they do to be consistently successful. “It was his idea,” said Ducharme.
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) August 29, 2019
This shows the maturity of the player. Drouin was able to admit his flaws and go looking for answers himself rather than putting the blame on others. By sitting down with Ducharme and going over the tape, Drouin was able to make the changes necessary to fine-tune his game and make him a more consistent and complete player.
On Fire to Start the Season
Despite having a lacklustre pre-season, Drouin looks like a completely different player to open the regular season. Drouin wasted no time getting on the score sheet as he assisted on the Canadiens’ second goal of the season in the season opener against the Hurricanes. The goal was scored by Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who is currently centring Drouin and fellow countryman Joel Armia.
In the Canadiens’ second game, Drouin potted his first of the season against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although it was not a highlight-reel goal, it broke the ice for Drouin as well as started the comeback for the Canadiens. The Canadiens managed to complete the comeback and defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5 in a shootout.
Drouin has continued his hot play by registering at least one point in six out of seven games for the Canadiens including a two-point outing against the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. Including this beautiful wrister that beat Binnington on the blocker side.
Potential Breakout Year for Drouin?
It’s not just the point production that has Drouin looking like a different player. It is the way he carries himself throughout the game. Drouin has been more engaged in the play. He backchecks hard, he has been going into the dirty areas and taking the body to make plays. It is something that was missing from Drouin’s game over the past two seasons. Now he’s looking to bring that consistency every single night.
He looks like a completely different player in all aspects of his game. His play managed to warrant a standing ovation from the crowd at the Bell Centre which almost brought Drouin to tears.
It’s a moment that Jonathan Drouin will never forget.
This is the player the Canadiens’ fans have been begging for. This is the player Drouin wants to be each and every night. This is a brand new Jonathan Drouin.
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