The Montreal Canadiens are in a downward spiral.
Yes, they defeated the rival Boston Bruins 5-1 in the Winter Classic last week, but the Habs are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games and in desperate need of a spark offensively.
Montreal has the second-worst shooting percentage and the third-fewest goals scored since Dec. 1. What’s the solution?
Drouin is ultra-talented, no doubt. The No. 3 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft is a speedy, highly skilled player capable of scoring plenty of goals and using his impressive playmaking skill to create chances for teammates.
His rate stats are excellent. He is scoring 1.64 points per 60 minutes at even strength, the highest mark of any Lightning forward, including Steven Stamkos. Drouin also hasn’t been given a real opportunity to shine. His most common linemate this season has been Ryan Callahan — not exactly a skilled player.
What would a potential Canadiens-Lightning trade involving Drouin look like? Well, Tampa Bay first and foremost needs help on the blue line. Outside of Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, there’s not a lot to be excited about.
Montreal defensemen Jarrod Tinordi or Nathan Beaulieu would be a good start. Both players are 23 years old and cost effective. As Wilde mentions, Eller is another possibility. He’s signed through 2017-18 at just $3.5 million and would provide extra center depth, which would come in handy if Stamkos leaves in July as a free agent.
The Habs probably would need to throw in a draft pick as well. They could dangle their 2016 first-round pick and/or one of two 2016 second-round selections, either their own or Minnesota’s.
One thing to remember is that Yzerman won’t be bullied into making a quick deal. Drouin isn’t an upcoming RFA, so there’s no rush to make a trade. Drouin hasn’t exactly lit it up at the NHL level and his recent trip to the AHL isn’t encouraging. He’s going to be a very good pro player, but his trade value isn’t exactly sky high right now.
There’s no need for Yzerman to pull the trigger from a position of weakness.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Nov 7, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin (27) in the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports