Bottom Six Minutes: Is Jonathan Drouin becoming trade bait?
Drouin had arguably his best game of the year against Nashville, and more of that could put him into deadline discussions.
After an inspiring speech from PK Subban, and an appearance from Carey Price, the Montreal Canadiens looked energized. They came out hard against the Nashville Predators, and while the end result was close, they definitely played that game with the kind of passion Subban was talking about en route to a rare win.
And one of the players who really put forth an impressive effort was Jonathan Drouin, who could soon find himself on the old TSN trade bait list with more performances like that.
Secondary assists are often overlooked, or assumed to be a product of luck more than anything else. Drouin had three of those on Thursday night, but they weren’t at all lucky. He was very effective in making smart passes that led directly to scoring chances, and even had to pick this puck out of the air before re-adjusting and finding Jesse Ylonen streaking into the zone.
Drouin to Ylönen and the Finn sets up Kirby Dach for a tap-in goal.— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 13, 2023
2-1 Habs! pic.twitter.com/rT0SKMxjrg
More often than not, good things were happening as a result of his puck touches, and it makes you wonder if he could be trade bait. He’s in the final year of his contract, and with how things have shaken out for him in Montreal, it’s tough to envision him returning next season.
A team looking to add a little skill on the wing in their middle six could be interested, and the Habs could facilitate a deal by retaining salary, given that he’s off the books at the end of the year anyways. He hasn’t been the subject of much early deadline chatter, but if he can keep bringing what he brought last night, that could pick up quickly.
It might honestly be the best thing for both parties at this point. His struggles have been well, nay over-documented, and he could perhaps use a change of scenery. The Habs brass, for their part, can scarcely afford to turn down assets in return for an expiring contract, whatever those assets may be.
A trade would make a lot of sense, but he does have a modified no-trade clause to consider. If he’s willing to work with the team, perhaps this increased level of play could earn him a chance with a contender.
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