For the Montreal Canadiens, the 2020-21 NHL season has been a true rollercoaster of emotions. After a fast start, the team largely stalled, leading to a 9-5-4 record and the eventual firing of Claude Julien, their head coach, on Feb. 24th. In the three games since this change, the team is has kept its’ head above water, but their standing in the Scotia NHL North Division is slipping.
In order to keep their spot in the playoff hunt, the Canadiens will be relying on their talented forward corps to step up, including players like Tyler Toffoli, Nick Suzuki, and Jonathan Drouin. In fact, in a recent interview, interim head coach Dominique Ducharme discussed how Drouin was growing for Montreal, even if he isn’t always hitting the scoresheet.
As said by Ducharme, “I really like the way that he’s playing right now… and I’m confident he’s going to keep playing that way, growing as a player, and the points will follow.”
Drouin Looking To Increase His Presence for Montreal
Since joining the Canadiens in the 2017 offseason, Drouin has had his ups and downs with the franchise. In 2018-19, for example, he tied his career-high in points, posting 53 in an 81 game season. 2019-20 was a bit of a step back, however, as injury struggles caused him to miss the majority of the season. He did seem to get things back on track in the playoff bubble, though, scoring seven points in 10 games.
While the 2020-21 season hasn’t been bad for Drouin, his two goals and 13 points in 21 games isn’t what was expected from him production-wise, either. Part of this lack of scoring could be due to his ice-time falling to roughly 15 and a half minutes of each night, more than a minute and a half below his career average in Montreal.
Since the coaching change, Drouin has seen his ice time returning to the 17 to 18 minute range. So, if Ducharme continues to believe in his play, he will likely see an increased nightly role with the Canadiens and, hopefully, an uptick in his scoring totals.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.