Things started a little slow for Jonathan Drouin here in Colorado, but it's beginning to feel like he's hitting his stride and buying into Bednar's system. So far this season, he has six points in 19 games played. Three of those points have come in the last four games for the Avalanche. That puts him on pace to score 25 points this season, which isn't a whopping number, but if he continues to improve, the prorated point total should improve. Based on what I've seen and heard lately, he finishes in the 30-50-point area.
What has changed for Drouin?
It's no secret that Jared Bednar strongly emphasizes checking, defensive responsibility, and clean breakouts. Droiun seems to be getting the hang of the last two parts of this requirement for sure. He's told numerous media outlets that he's been looking into how Logan O'Connor uses his speed as a weapon, which has shown both on the forecheck and in transition.
I don't think this rush to the net is something Jonathan Drouin would have done a few weeks ago.— Evan Rawal (@evanrawal) November 28, 2023
A little confidence can go a long way. pic.twitter.com/oiys5OSBEZ
We are starting to see Drouin with the puck in the open ice. If you watch his career highlight reel, you'll begin to get a picture of what Drouin does best offensively. That is becoming an immediate threat and allowing his passing to open the door for his teammates. It's great to see him score, but assisting is where his bread and point production will be buttered.
We’ve also seen him get a bit more time on the powerplay, which is huge for getting him more ice time. Touching the puck always gives skill guys more confidence and your best chance of scoring is on the powerplay.
The culture shock is over.
It's only natural for anyone in a new workplace with new colleagues to have an adjustment period. That's what I'd chalk the first 15 games up to for Drouin. Throughout that window, you could pick up on his thought process, which makes things more complicated. It feels like Drouin is starting to think less about the process and has started to flow with the game a bit more. That comes with practice and familiarity.
Just the fact that Jonathan has improved as the season has gone on should make us more confident in his contribution in the future. Add to that his teammates like Ryan Johansen, Miles Wood, Tomas Tatar, and Ross Colton are fitting into Colorado's culture and strategy more effectively, giving you a well-rounded roster that gets contributions from all four lines.
Depth wins in the playoffs.
I'm most excited to see how this roster fairs in the playoffs. I know I'm getting way ahead of myself, but humor me. If the Avalanche can stay relatively healthy and see the return of Gabe Landeskog, the number of serviceable forwards on this roster will almost be unfair. Kiviranta seems plenty capable, Drouin is rounding out, and Logan O'Connor and Andrew Cogliano are still doing their thing.
Someone will have to be the healthy scratch, but as we've learned in the past two seasons, depth wins cups, and that sort of thing is done by committee. It's an exciting time in Denver as the Avs are heading to Arizona tomorrow amidst a four-game winning streak. Keep an eye on Jonathan Drouin, who has eight points in 13 games against Arizona. He has had three assists in the last three games against the Yotes.