Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St-Louis announced forward Jonathan Drouin will make his season debut Saturday night against the Washington Capitals.
Drouin missed a significant portion of the 2021-22 campaign with an absence for personal reasons, but still managed to finish the year with 20 points in 34 games.
The Quebec-native has been the subject of an overwhelming level of criticism, the majority of which forgets to include crucial facts about his play in Montreal.
Consider this: among the 67 players that have spent time with the Canadiens since 2019, Drouin ranks sixth overall in terms of 5v5 points per 60, with 1.78. That’s ahead of players such as Tyler Toffoli, Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki and Artturi Lehkonen.
Only Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher, Philip Danault, Christian Dvorak and Rem Pitlick have produced more points per 60 than Drouin in that time frame.
It’s also worth noting Drouin, who is on the last year of a six-year contract, maintained a positive shot share over the course of the last three years (50.4%).
In his only playoff appearance with the club, Drouin also finished tied with Nick Suzuki for the team lead in scoring.
But despite his reasonable production, Drouin can’t seem to shake the relentless criticism.
Given his openness regarding his mental health, it’s a very unfortunate and cruel series of events that speaks to the need to take mental health seriously in all aspects of life, including professional sports.
Drouin will replace Pitlick in the lineup, who, by all accounts, has struggled in the first two games of the season, controlling just 34 percent of the shots during his shifts, as well as allowing six high-danger chances against while only generating one for the Canadiens. It’s unfair to pin the fourth line’s struggles solely on Pitlick, but the numbers do suggest he’s had a hard time finding his rhythm this season.
Other news and notes
- St-Louis confirmed goaltender Samuel Montembeault will make his first start of the season
(Statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick)