The Montreal Canadiens’ Jonathan Drouin is at an unfortunate crossroads in his career, which seems too soon for a player only 26 years of age. I won’t speculate or assume what is going on with him, but a young player doesn’t take time off from the sport he loves if it isn’t serious. A lot of pressure was put on Drouin while playing in his native Quebec, and, sometimes, that pressure can be too much. His future needs to be dealt with according to what’s best for both him and the team, whether that means he stays in Montreal, changes teams, or leaves hockey altogether.

 

Drouin Leaves the Team for Personal Reasons

On April 28, Drouin took a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons and was subsequently placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). He had 23 points in 44 games and was among the team leaders in assists before his departure – he may not have been scoring goals, but he had significantly improved his two-way game, and he was dedicated to all aspects of his game.

The Canadiens did not go into details about what was going on with him. They told the media that they intended to respect his privacy and would not provide further information on the situation. Drouin has not played or practiced with the team since, and he will not return for the playoffs, no matter how far the Canadiens advance. However, he has been in constant contact with the team, encouraging them, and the players are keeping him up to date and reminding him how important he is to them.

 

Francophones Have Increased Pressure in Montreal

I won’t dive too deep into this part of the story because my THW colleague Blain Potvin has already written an incredible article detailing this situation. Drouin was traded to the Canadiens from the Tampa Bay Lightning for defensive prospect Mikhail Sergachev, with the hope that he could become a francophone star for the team. Instead, Sergachev soared to new heights in Tampa Bay while Drouin didn’t meet the high expectations placed on him by the media and fans.