The Montreal Canadiens seem to be a team on the rise last season as the team finished just two points out of a playoff spot behind the Columbus Blue Jackets. In the end, if the team just could have pulled off a late win, the season could have been looked at differently. The Montreal Gazzette’s Brendan Kelly also wonders whether forward Jonathan Drouin could have made that difference as well.
The winger, who was converted to center to start last season and then quickly moved back to wing after seeing that experiment failed, Drouin struggled throughout the year, especially in the final third of the season. The 24-year-old prized forward the team acquired two summers ago, hasn’t developed into the elite forward the Canadiens had hoped for. But his final 26 games resulted in just one goal and six assists. Had he played better, who knows what might have happened to Montreal?
Kelly writes that much of the Canadiens’ hopes for this season will fall on Drouin, who can be the difference-maker the team needs. Kelly believes Drouin has what it takes to be a star, but needs better coaching to take his game to the next level after looking lost in the final third of last season. The stress of being the savior to the franchise could also be having an effect, but his success could be the most critical element to the team’s season.
- The Detroit News reports that Detroit Red Wings executive Kris Draper has been promoted to director of amateur scouting. Draper, a former assistant to former general manager Ken Holland, replaces Tyler Wright whose contract wasn’t renewed three weeks into current general manager Steve Yzerman’s tenure. Detroit also announced a few other front office additions as the team hired two amateur chief scouts in Ryan Rezmierski (formerly with Nashville) and Jesse Wallin (formerly with St. Louis). The team also added two more scouts in Bryce Thoma and Rob Rassey as well as bringing over former Tampa Bay Lightning goaltending scout Phil Osaer, who has been named head of goaltending scouting and development.
- Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe writes that Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller still hasn’t started skating yet in his recovery from his twice-fractured right kneecap. The 31-year-old played just 39 games last season and didn’t make an appearance after Apr. 4 due to the injury. Millar was actually close to being ready to return for the Stanley Cup Finals when he fractured that kneecap a second time, ending any hope of returning. The blueliner said, however, that the kneecap has healed through twice-a-day workouts over six days so far this offseason and he hopes to begin skating in the next few weeks. He doesn’t expect to be ready for drills in training camp and can’t confirm if he’ll be ready for the start of the season either.