Earlier this week, Elliotte Freidman noted that Jonathan Drouin might end up being the odd-man-out in what’s shaping up to be a logjam up front in Montreal. Soon after, Eric Engels added fuel to the fire, reporting that his name was out there on the trade market.
This will come as no surprise to anyone who follows the Canadiens, but they are looking to move a forward. Nick Suzuki is pushing. Even though he was sent Monday night to AHL Laval, Jake Evans is too. Hopefully Ryan Poehling makes a quick and complete recovery, but even with his injury, they have extra bodies. Jonathan Drouin played 11:57 in Monday’s 3-0 loss Toronto, lowest among all skaters. Already, this is something to keep an eye on.
“His name is definitely out there,” texted an Eastern Conference executive during Wednesday night’s game.
Marc Bergevin tried to stomp out the fire by saying that he had no idea where the rumours would have come from. This, of course, means nothing, given that Bergevin said that there was no way P.K. Subban would be traded. We all know what happened next.
Marc Bergevin on reports Jonathan Drouin is on the trade block: “I don’t know where they come from. Most of those reports are from somebody in his basement in Toronto, so I don’t pay attention to that to be honest with you.”
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) September 26, 2019
It’s safe to say that Drouin is available.
After having a difficult time getting his career started in Tampa Bay, the former third-overall pick was traded to Montreal, making a childhood dream come true. He’s posted two decent seasons as a member of the Habs, but it’s far from living up to his former elite prospect status and $5.5 million cap hit.
The cap hit is the interesting thing for the Habs here. Montreal has Max Domi in need of a new deal this off-season and shedding Drouin’s $5.5 million annual cap hit could make it significantly easier to get him signed long-term. The Habs wouldn’t just be getting rid of Drouin as a cap dump, given he’s still a solid contributor, but moving him out to make an addition on the blueline would be killing two birds with one stone.
Montreal’s issue is the left side of their blueline. Shea Weber and Jeff Petry are a nice one-two punch on the right side, but there’s isn’t much there on the left side. They also don’t have any major game-changing blueline prospects on the way up.
If Drouin continues to struggle in his third season as a Hab and rookies like Nick Suzuki and Ryan Poehling push him down the depth chart, we’ll start to hear more and more chatter about a move. If Bergevin becomes giddy to move on from Drouin, could the Canucks be a possible trade partner?
A Drouin for Olli Juolevi swap would make some sense for both sides, but there are salary cap implications that make the deal challenging for Vancouver to execute. If Montreal were willing to take on a contract like Brandon Sutter, it might become doable. It’s hard to say, but Drouin is certainly a name to keep an eye on.
What do you think? Should the Canucks be interested in Drouin? What trade would make sense?