Montreal Canadiens: Analytics Can’t Save Jonathan Drouin Anymore

Oct 14, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 3, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Jonathan Drouin. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 3, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Jonathan Drouin. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2015-16 Season and the Rise of Mikhail Sergachev

Going into the 2016 off-season, the Canadiens had come off what was, to put it kindly, not the best of runs in 2015-16. A remarkably hot start behind star goalie Carey Price and a talented, depth-filled offense gave way after Price’s season ended early due to injury.

Backup goalie Mike Condon did what he could as starter until well… fatigue gave in and the Condon broke. While it wasn’t the worst season in team history, it was rather unfortunately filled with false positives. Former third overall pick Alex Galchenyuk broke out for 30 goals only to never approach anywhere close to those numbers again, now finding himself playing overseas with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.

Condon was seen as a potential NHL starter but had a fall from grace unlike any other, recording a 4.27 GAA and .863 SVP in 4 games in the ECHL (yes, the ECHL) in his final season.

For all of this, the one saving grace at least, was getting the 9th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Highlighted by the selection of franchise forward Auston Matthews first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs, this first-round unfortunately had its fair share of whiffs, and well you’d expect the Canadiens to be one of them, right?

Surprisingly, no, at least not initially, as the Vancouver Canucks committed possibly the biggest whiff in modern-day draft history, taking defenseman Olli Juolevi fifth overall ahead of… let’s see here, Charlie McAvoy, Jakob Chychrun, Matthew Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, Tage Thompson and last but not least, defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, whom Montreal selected with the ninth overall pick.

An immensely promising and physically impounding defenseman coming out of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, Sergachev was seen as a future cornerstone of Montreal’s blue-line, one that was undergoing an identity crisis at the time with the impending departure of star defenseman P.K Subban and veteran Andrei Markov.

After an impressive training camp, Montreal made Sergachev a part of the opening night lineup, giving him a 4-game cup of coffee before sending him back to Windsor, where he posted great numbers again after 17 goals and 57 points in just 67 games the year prior.