Who Is Jonathan Drouin?

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Contrarily to what some want you to believe, trading in today’s National Hockey League is far from easy. As a matter of fact, since the implementation of the hard salary cap back in 2005, the number of trades completed have dropped more than half of what they were prior to it. It’s easy to understand why. Teams obviously have to look at the fiscal impact on their team, and they also have to plan ahead, looking at whose contracts will need to be renewed in the foreseeable future. Hockey is a business more than ever and Habs’ fans had a hard reality of it when team General Manager Marc Bergevin had to let lifetime defenseman Andrei Markov walk away to the KHL late this summer.

Getting some young and productive talent at a reasonable cap hit is what will often make the difference in the mid to long term and Bergevin understands that. When he completed yet again one of the biggest trades of the summer in acquiring 22 year-old Jonathan Drouin, in exchange for blue-chip prospect Mikhail Sergachev, the Canadiens’ GM landed a top-end offensive juggernaut for a player who might (or not) become a stud on defense… but there is no denying that he is the one who received the proven asset versus potential.

Immediately after the trade was announced, Bergevin was on the phone negotiating a shiny new contract with Drouin’s agent, Allan Walsh (yes, him), agreeing to a six year, $33 million contract, ensuring that there was no doubt about the commitment between the team and the newly acquired fan favourite.

Who exactly is Drouin?

Jonathan Drouin was born on March 28, 1995 in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec. Few people remember that as a 17 year-old, he failed to make the roster to start the season with Halifax in the QMJHL despite being the second pick in the entry draft, so he had to return to play AAA midget hockey, until he was called up by Halifax December 9, 2011. Drouin made an immediate impact, getting two assists in his first game, including the primary assist on the winning goal. From that point, Drouin proved to be one of the top players in all of junior hockey. As a matter of fact, Drouin was named player of the year in the CHL. He was then chosen with the third pick overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2013 NHL Draft, two spots behind his Halifax linemate Nathan MacKinnon.

Drouin was among the final cuts in his first training camp with the Lightning and was returned to Halifax for another season, where he finished with 108 points in 46 games in 2013-14 and had 41 points in 16 playoff games. He joined the Lightning in the 2014-15 season, playing in 70 games, and enjoyed a breakthrough in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he had 14 points in 17 games, including four goals in the Eastern Conference Final.

Dispute with Tampa Bay

In a much publicized even, Drouin’s dispute with the Lightning drew a lot of negative attention on himself starting in January 2016. It was no secret that there was a relationship issue between Drouin and Lightning coach Jon Cooper, and one day after being reassigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, Walsh issued a statement on behalf of his client. The agent revealed that Drouin had made a trade request back in November, but had kept the matter private. Walsh referred to it as an untenable situation and that it was in everyone’s best interest that Drouin be allowed to move on and play hockey.

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While some people claimed that he was a head-case, others said that he was given bad advice from the people around him. Either way, this wasn’t good news for either the Lightning or the player. But Lighting GM Steve Yzerman stuck to his guns and on January 20, 2016, he suspended him indefinitely without pay for a failure to report to the Crunch’s game against the Toronto Marlies. It’s not until March 8, 2016 that Drouin finally reported to Syracuse for the first time since being suspended. On April 4th, the Lightning called up Drouin from the AHL after a nine-game stint, a stretch in which he recorded nine goals and an assist. The young forward wasted no time making his presence felt as he scored the game-winning goal in his first game back with Tampa Bay.

Impact of the trade for the Habs

No one understands better the need for local talent with the Canadiens than Bergevin and team President Geoff Molson, and getting arguably the best young Quebecois in the entire NHL was a very impactful feat in itself. As we have touched on this very blog back in May, there was no doubt that if Drouin was made available, the Habs would be all in… and they were!

As much as people loved P.K. Subban, Jonathan Drouin will have an even bigger impact. He’s a mature young man, well beyond his age, and he speaks the language of his fans in his home province. Before even putting foot on the ice, he has already been utilized by the organization for many public appearances and marketing events, and fans have responded to him in a very positive manner, making him feel welcome. Of course, what he does on the ice is what will matter most, but judging from what he has already shown in the NHL, at such a young age, the future certainly appear to be bright for both the player and the Canadiens’ organization. Training with team captain Max Pacioretty, Drouin seems to have already found a home in Montreal. Until we get to see him work his magic in a Habs’ uniform, let’s enjoy together a few highlights of what he has done and what’s to come for the fans. After watching this, you will join me in wishing that the season started now! Go Habs Go!

 

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Truth About Habs’ Bergevin’s Trade Record

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Marc Bergevin took over as the Montreal Canadiens’ General Manager on May 2, 2012. Since then, his team has a combined 210-128-38 record, including three Atlantic Division Titles and with at least 100 points (or on pace during lockout year) in four of the five years. As July 16, 2017, he has also completed a grand total of 46 trades, making him one of the most active GM’s in the last five years. While it’s one thing to trade players, the ultimate goal for a GM is to, at the very least, improve your team and Bergevin has done just that… for the most part.

As determining who “wins” or “loses” a trade is arbitrary, I tried to stay as unbiased as humanly possible but some won’t agree with my assessment and that’s just fine. You will see that regardless, if people take an unbiased approach, the results might change ever so slightly but they should rapidly realize that things aren’t as sombre as some want you to believe.

 

WINS

  • Cedrick Desjardins traded to Tampa Bay Lightning for Dustin Tokarski (2013) Tokarski was very good when Carey Price went down to injury.
  • (W) 5th round pick #146 (Patrick Bartosak) traded to Los Angeles Kings for Davis Drewiske (2013) Drewiske brought NHL experience at a time when the Habs needed some at the blueline.
  • Philippe Lefebvre and a 7th round pick #182 (Hugo Fagerblom) in 2014 traded to Florida Panthers for George Parros (2013) While some don’t like enforcers, it was a very low price to pay to bring in the best in the game at the time. It’s unfortunate that a fluke play during a fight against Colton Orr ended his career.
  • Raphael Diaz traded to Vancouver Canucks for Dale Weise (2014) Do we really need to explain?
  • 5th round pick #147 (Ryan Pilon – NYI) in 2015 traded to Florida Panthers for Mike Weaver (2014) Weaver was one of the NHL’s top shot blockers.
  • Sebastian Collberg and a 2nd round pick #57 (Johnathan MacLeod – TBL) in 2014 traded to New York Islanders for Thomas Vanek and a 5th round pick #125 (Nikolas Koberstein) in 2014. (2014) Vanek ended the season on one of the NHL’s top producing lines with Pacioretty and Desharnais.
  • Josh Gorges traded to Buffalo Sabres for a 2nd round pick #45 (Chad Krys – CHI) in 2016 later traded to Chicago (Weise/Fleishmann trade, turned into Danault + 2nd) (2014) The fact that the pick turned into Danault…
  • Jiri Sekac traded to Anaheim Ducks for Devante Smith-Pelly (2015) Smith-Pelly is still in the NHL.
  • 2nd round pick #57 (Jonas Siegenthaler) in 2015 and a 4th round pick #117 (Caleb Jones) in 2015 traded to Edmonton Oilers for Jeff Petry. (2015) Considering that Petry signed long term with the Habs bringing excellent minutes on the second pairing.
  • 5th round pick #129 (Philip Nyberg) in 2016 traded to Buffalo Sabres for Brian Flynn (2015) Small price to pay for a NHL forward capable of playing a sound game.
  • Jack Nevins and a 7th round pick #189 (Austin Osmanski) in 2016 traded to Buffalo Sabres for Torrey Mitchell (2015) Mitchell has provided excellent minutes for the Canadiens.
  • Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann traded to Chicago Blackhawks for Phillip Danault and a 2nd round pick (TBD) in 2018 (2016) This could very well be a steal of a trade.
  • Lars Eller traded to Washington Capitals for a 2nd round pick #58 (Joni Ikonen) in 2017 and a 2nd round pick (TBD) in 2018, which was later conditionally traded to Tampa Bay in the deal for Jonathan Drouin (June 15, 2017) (2016) Ikonen already looks very promising while the pick helped get Drouin.
  • Greg Pateryn and a 4th round pick #118 (Markus Phillips) in 2017 traded to Dallas Stars for Jordie Benn (2017) To the point where the Canadiens were forced to protect Benn, Phillips better be really good to make this one even.
  • 6th round pick (TBD) in 2018 traded to Detroit Red Wings for Steve Ott (2017) Ott has provided experience and grit down the stretch and in the playoffs.

LOSSES

  • Daniel Briere traded to Colorado Avalanche for P.A. Parenteau and a 5th round pick #131 (Matthew Bradley) in 2015 (2014) Briere never could find a niche with the Canadiens.
  • Peter Budaj and Patrick Holland traded to Winnipeg Jets for Eric Tangradi (2014) A meh trade, with relatively low cost.
  • Brandon Prust traded to Vancouver Canucks for Zack Kassian and a 5th round pick #124 (Casey Staum) in 2016 (2015) Twice Kassian has made the “losses” for Bergevin in a trade, a lot having to do with his addiction.
  • Devante Smith-Pelly traded to New Jersey Devils for Stefan Matteau (2016) Although DSP is not lighting it up, at least he’s in the NHL.
  • Zack Kassian traded to Edmonton Oilers for Ben Scrivens (2015) See above.
  • 4th round conditional pick (TBD) in 2018 traded to Los Angeles Kings for Dwight King (2017) King was a big disappointment with the Canadiens.

TIES

TO BE DETERMINED

  • 3rd round pick #87 (Anton Karlsson) in 2014 and a 4th round pick #117 (Michael Bunting) in 2014 traded to Arizona Coyotes for 3rd round pick #73 (Brett Lernout) in 2014 (2014)
  • 2nd round pick #39 (Alexander DeBrincat) in 2016 and a 2nd round pick #45 (Chad Krys) in 2016 traded to Chicago Blackhawks for Andrew Shaw (2016) If the prospects don’t pan out, it will be a win for the Habs.
  • Philip Samuelsson traded to Carolina Hurricanes for Keegan Lowe (2017)
  • Sven Andrighetto traded to Colorado Avalanche for Andreas Martinsen (2017) Andrighetto had a good start with the Avs. Let’s see what he does this year.
  • Nathan Beaulieu traded to Buffalo Sabres for a 3rd round pick #68 (Scott Walford) in 2017 (2017) Some would like to pounce on Bergevin for that one but the fact and the matter is that no team offered more than an early 3rd for Beaulieu.
  • 5th round pick (TBD) in 2019 traded to San Jose Sharks for David Schlemko (2017) This could very well be at the Canadiens’ advantage, in the win column for Bergevin but let’s wait to see how Schlemko plays in Montreal.

So as you can see, according to my calculation, Bergevin’s record when it comes to the trades that he made is an astonishing 15-6-19 with another six trades where it’s too early to tell. This means that he has tied or won 85 percent of the trades that he’s made so far, give or take a few trades here and there depending if you have an axe to grind against the organization or not. Any NHL team will take that and we better understand why Brian Burke feels like the attacks on Bergevin are absurd.