A wise man once said: “Think before you speak”. How many people have repeated this to you from time to time? And how many people actually apply it in their life? While it is impossible to quantify, the tendency is to pin some words, some ideas, in the back of the memory bank in order to pull them out later. And sometimes, people with any integrity end up regretting their outburst, their first reaction. And if they are being honest, they will even admit that they should have taken the ‘wait and see’ approach before spewing some harsh words. But that my friends, often comes with age and experience.
If you’re a Habs’ fan, there are multitudes of examples of such behaviour and for the sake of accountability, I’ve been pointing to some in recent articles, just to bring to light the negativity too often displayed in this fan base. Whether it is the reactions when Jesperi Kotkaniemi was drafted, or when Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin traded Alex Galchenyuk for Max Domi, there is plenty of crow being served. And with Jonathan Drouin heating up, there could now be a legitimate concern about the crow population due to the high consumption. That being said, the black bird is often being consumed by the same culprits: those who simply hate Bergevin’s gut for trading their golden boy.
That being said, there were plenty of people who didn’t like the fact that Bergevin traded blue-chip defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev for Drouin – a legitimate concern – but many went overboard by claiming that the Habs had lost that trade. You see, when you trade such young players, only time can dictate a winner and a loser, if any are to be found. No sense in climbing on a high horse and get infuriated. You don’t know how it will pan out. I don’t know either. In fact, while they are hoping for the best, the General Managers involved don’t even know!
When Drouin was learning a new position at centre last season, his production slightly suffered, although finishing with 13 goals and 46 points which placed him in pretty good company amongst NHL centres. But that production allowed some people to pile on their displeasure in the trade, particularly that in the meantime, Sergachev raked up 40 points that year, though 16 of which were on the powerplay.
This season is a different story. Drouin, back playing at his natural position on left wing, has found immediate chemistry with newcomer Max Domi and both are having great offensive production in the first third of the season. In 29 games so far, Drouin has 26 points (0.9 pts/GP) including 10 goals. That’s on pace for a 28 goals and 74 points season over 82 games! Domi leads the Canadiens in goals (13 – tied with Brendan Gallagher) and in points (30 in 29 GP) while doing an excellent job at centre. Oh and Sergachev this season? We don’t hear much about him… as he has yet to light the lamp after 30 games.
When looking at Drouin, let’s not forget that he finished the season last year with 13 points in his last 14 games so if you combine that with this year’s production, he now has accumulated 39 points in a stretch of 43 games! But Canadiens’ head coach Claude Julien will be the first to tell you that more than his offensive production, Drouin has shown a steady progression in all aspects of his game. While he likely will never be confused for a Selke Trophy candidate, the 23 year-old Ste-Agathe native is taking pride in trying to improve his all-around game and it has shown greatly, particularly in the past two or three weeks, where he has often been the first guy back to help his defensemen.
All in all, I stand by what I originally said back in the summer of 2017 when the Canadiens acquired him. This is a good trade for both the Habs and the Lightning. Both received what they bargained for but one thing that I am pretty sure of is that Bergevin will not lose this trade. At worst, he will have tied it but so far, one thing is for sure: Drouin is making a strong case for his General Manager. Go Habs Go!