As soon as word spread about Jonathan Drouin requesting to be traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning, many Colorado Avalanche fans couldn’t help but wonder what it would take to reunite the dynamic duo who scored at will and collected the Memorial Cup together for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.
I don’t care to speculate on what has happened to Drouin in Tampa exactly for him to request a trade. If it was in fact, because of him being sent down to Syracuse for too long in his opinion or not, I can’t say. Only they(Drouin, his agent, and Tampa Bay) know the whole truth to the situation.
Together on the first line for the Mooseheads, Drouin and MacKinnon were just plain dominant. In two seasons through 2011-2013, MacKinnon played in 102 regular season games for Halifax and amassed 153 points. In the playoffs, he was even more dominant, playing in 34 games, totaling 61 points.
Jonathan Drouin, MacKinnons left-winger in Halifax, played three seasons(one more than MacKinnon, as Drouin did not make the Lightning right after being drafted) with the Mooseheads. Skating in 128 regular season games and putting up 242 points, along with 102 points in 50 playoff games.
Both former teammates are amazing players, they had very similar junior numbers, with a lot of team success, but their pro careers have gone in separate directions.
Different Professional Paths
Since they were drafted number 1 and 3 overall in the 2013 NHL draft, their professional paths have been quite opposite from each other.
Drouin had a pretty decent rookie year, notching 32 points in 70 games. However, since then, he has been extremely inconsistent trying to get healthy and into the lineup. Accumulating only 8 points in 19 NHL games this season.
On the other hand, Nasty Nate has been terrific for the Avalanche throughout his professional career. He won the Calder Trophy for best rookie in the NHL at just 18 years old, and has continued to produce since then.
Over two and a half seasons of NHL hockey, MacKinnon has tallied 139 points in 194 games, he is just continuing to get better and more confident out on the ice.
Quite drastically different professional careers so far, but a change in scenery could see all that change for Drouin.
Yes the Avalanche could acquire Drouin from the Lightning, but it would cost too much in the end, and Tampa is looking for defense, a position the Avs are finally just getting set at.
Unless Drouin and his agent have forced Yzerman’s hand so badly that his value has decreased significantly, there is no trade to be done between these two clubs.
I say this because Colorado just shored up their back-end with the call-up of their 2 best defensive prospects in Chris Bigras and Nikita Zadorov. Add Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, Francois Beauchemin, and Nick Holden, and we are looking at the best group of defenseman the Avs have had in many, many years.
You don’t want to mess with that especially since it’s taken so long for it to become a reality for the Avalanche. Any deal involving Drouin would surely see one of Bigras(plus) or Zadorov go the other way, and that’s just filling a whole while creating an even bigger one.
Though the reunion of Drouin and MacKinnon is very enticing, Colorado can’t lose sight of the future. They have some great defensive prospects shoring up the defense at last, and have a few forward prospects who will play on the wings in the near future. Last year’s 10th overall pick, Mikko Rantanen, being the closest one.
Plus the Avs are already the 5th best offensive team in the league, scoring has not been a problem.
I would love to see MacKinnon and Drouin back together, but with the team moving forward, and looking to the future, it just doesn’t make good hockey sense.
We can still look back on some of their finest days together though:
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble