Drouin coming, now what?


(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

Oh what a difference a year can make.

Last year the Mooseheads were struggling, no light at the end of the tunnel and continuing on what may have been the worst three years in the history of the Halifax franchise.

In what has been a complete turn-around, this team now boasts an embarrassment of riches that is highlighted by the 2013 NHL Draft’s top prospect in Nathan MacKinnon, Czech phenom Marty Frk, hot-shot goalie Zachary Fucale and now Jonathan Drouin.

Fresh off a 5-goal outing by MacKinnon, the Mooseheads are ready to welcome back injured forward Marty Frk this Friday against PEI, before they finally get to see the talented Drouin added to their roster.

With all indicators pointing towards Drouin joining the team early next week, the saga of whether Drouin would or would not report is finally coming to an end.

The second overall draft pick in this Summer’s QMJHL entry draft, taken just behind MacKinnon, had spent the rest of this season with his QMAA team in Quebec for the Lac St. Louis Lions, where he easily racked up 16 goals and 22 assists in 14 games played.

The team now has some difficult decisions to make roster wise, with the team needing to drop numbers once the dust finally settles.

It looks like the odd two out, once players return from injuries, would be Falkenham and Desjardins.

Falkenham falls prey to the fact he’s young and will still gain experience at a lower level, but he’s shown he’ll be a big part of this team moving forward.

On the other side of the spectrum, Gabriel Desjardins’ stock is higher than ever right now and his age plays against him, he’s great trade bait and Cam Russell has shown he’s adept at making the right moves at the right time. With 11 goals already, this could be a career season for the Mooseheads forward and it has other teams taking notice.

With those changes, here’s what i’d see the lineup looking like early in the new year once players return from international duties:

Ryan/MacKinnon/Frk

Grenier/Boudreau/Ashley

Ciampini/Andrews/Drouin

Critch/Cuzner/Randell

13th Forward:Cote

Of course, Drouin turning up six months ago is very different to turning up midseason and he will have to earn top ice-time and his way up the lines.

Ducharme is pretty happy keeping the CCR line as a shut-down line and i’m a big fan of the Ryan-MacKinnon-Frk combination, plus this is a Top 9 Forward situation where any one can score on any given night.

Add in that shutdown line and you’ve got a pretty dangerous set of forwards that can contend with the top teams in this league.

Oh what a difference a year can make.

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Monday Morning at 10am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

 

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