Sometimes the NHL surprises you. Almost always, a player who was once a top-five pick would get a ton of support going into free agency no matter what his previous seasons showed. We’re talking about a top-three pick who’s shown he can score 20+ in the NHL. Agents are salivating at the possibilities. Then, there’s Jonathan Drouin, who might have the most bizarre collapse of talent we’ve seen in a long time.
After Nathan MacKinnon and Aleksander Barkov went 1 and 2, Drouin is the worst bronze medal in hockey drafting in a long time (although we suppose Dylan Strome is making a heavy case for it). He was playing well with the Tampa Bay Lightning before he was traded for Mikhail Sergachev. He was coming off a 21-goal season.
The Devils might have a lot of interest in giving this player a shot. Not because of what he did this past season, because that season was dreadful. This is a player that had two goals last season. He did have 27 assists, but what a weird stat line. This was a player who had no idea what he should be in the lineup.
With the Devils, Drouin can reset. He can find his scoring touch again. This is a coaching staff that finds a strength and uses it to build on the rest of what makes a great hockey player. Jack Hughes is a phenomenal playmaker, but he became a scorer this season. Something similar, but on a much smaller scale, can happen with Drouin with the Devils.