The Montreal Canadiens keep falling down the standings with no end in sight.
The Habs are 5-15-1 since Dec. 1, which has dropped them from first place in the Atlantic Division to a tie with the Ottawa Senators for the last wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
General manager Marc Bergevin must consider making changes to his roster, and one rumored trade target is Tampa Bay Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin, a highly touted offensive player who has requested a trade.
Brian Wilde of CTV reported Monday that Montreal has increased its efforts to land the former No. 3 overall draft pick.
Wilde also tweeted that Tampa Bay “wants a roster D and a high prospect” in a trade package for Drouin.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie shared his thoughts on Wilde’s report, noting multiple teams have interest in Drouin.
The Canadiens have done plenty of scouting on Drouin, with assistant general manager Rick Dudley taking in a recent Syracuse Crunch game. Drouin was sent to the AHL’s Crunch on Jan. 2.
Drouin is a potential superstar with a bright future, but he’s not at that level yet. He’s been a bit of a disappointment so far, but in fairness, Tampa Bay hasn’t given him much of a chance to succeed. He’s played in 19 games for the Lightning this season. The 20-year-old is scoring at 1.79 points per 60 minutes and driving puck possession just over 50 percent at even strength.
Montreal certainly could use a player of Drouin’s caliber, one with a great shot, very good playmaking skill and game-changing speed.
After all, they are expected to have Dale Weise in their top six for Tuesday night’s game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. Weise is best suited on the fourth line, but Habs head coach Michel Therrien has been forced to use many different combinations to help his team break out of its scoring slump. Montreal has scored 1.86 goals per game in that span, tied for the second-fewest in the NHL.
The cost of acquiring Drouin is high, and the Canadiens must be weary of overpaying. That said, the Canadiens were not only expected to make the playoffs, but also advance a few rounds. If their recent slide continues, changes behind the bench and/or to the roster must be considered.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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