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Jonathan Drouin Is Colorado Avalanche Masterton Trophy Nominee



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The Colorado chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has named Avalanche forward Jonathan Drouin its nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy for this season.

The award is given each year “to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” Each chapter nominates one player from their local team, and later on, the top three vote-getters are designated as the finalists. Our Colorado chapter ultimately decided on Drouin, although Sam Girard is another name myself and a few others mentioned as well.

Ultimately, by majority vote, we decided on Drouin, who is very deserving of the nomination.

It’s hard to ignore what he has done this season. After spending six years in Montreal where he battled through inconsistency, injuries and mental health struggles, Drouin got the fresh start he was looking for with the Avalanche, reuniting with his former linemate Nathan MacKinnon. Signed over the summer to a one-year contract at just above league minimum, there was always hope that Drouin would work out, but it was far from a guarantee.

Early on, it wasn’t looking great. Drouin had just three points in the first 16 games, and found himself in the press box as a healthy scratch twice early in the season. To his credit, he kept a positive attitude and has been consistently one of the hardest workers at practice, getting on the ice early and staying out late most days.

The 29 year old winger put in the work to get better, and has been a committed 200 foot player for the Avalanche the majority of the season. Since that slow 16 game start, Drouin has registered 48 points in 56 games, and is on the brink of setting a new career high for points in a season.

In the span of just a few months, the narrative changed quickly with Drouin. At one point everyone was wondering if he could still be an effective NHL player. Now everyone is wondering how the Avalanche can make the money work to bring him back beyond this season.

It’s been a remarkable turnaround, and all the credit goes to Drouin for putting in the work to become a complete hockey player that has the trust of the coaching staff.

“I think it is progress. I think it’s positive,” Drouin told the media about being the nominee from the Avalanche. “Any time you get nominated for an award in the NHL, it is cool. To be nominated for an award like that is cool. We have a lot of guys here who work hard and dedicate themselves to hockey, and I do as well. It’s awesome.”

Drouin admitted that at times, he had to push the game to the side a little bit in recent years to focus on himself. That hockey itch started to come back last season, with the help of his son.

“I’ve always loved the game I’ve played. That love of the game really came back last year and even more this year,” he said. “I owe a lot of credit to the guys here, the staff, for helping me find that love and that passion again, but it also never really ever left, either.”

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar has witnessed first-hand the growth of Drouin as the year has gone on, especially with his play away from the puck.

“I think that’s the evolution of his game,” Bednar told me. “It’s something we expect from all of our players. Not just high skill, make plays when you have the puck, but be relentless in checking the puck back up ice, neutral zone, in the zone, so we can play with the puck more…he’s been dedicated to that portion of the game because that’s something (that) maybe it didn’t come natural to him before, but he certainly put in a great effort and improved it dramatically.”

The Masterton Trophy last season went to Kris Letang. We’ll find out in about a month or so if Drouin will be a finalist for the award.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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