Drouin, Backes proving worth
There was a certain level of uncertainty in regards to Jonathan Drouin and David Backes this summer, but it seems to be dispelling more and more as the days go by. Both players are on teams in the conference finals and both are playing fantastic. Drouin is second on Tampa Bay in assists and Backes is second on St. Louis in goals.
Jonathan Drouin faced a tough season, which included a trade request and a holdout, but has excelled in an increased role he obtained when Steven Stamkos got hurt. Drouin’s vision, speed and offensive capabilities make him a threat whenever he is on the ice. He has slotted in nicely in the top-six, but would still be a likely candidate to move down if Stamkos came back.
Drouin has proved his worth to Jon Cooper. However strained the relationship still may be due to the events earlier this season is unknown, but it is very possible Drouin has re-found his home in Tampa Bay. He can help make up the young core if Stamkos leaves, or he could add to the blistering speed the Lightning bring night in and night out in a middle six role with Stamkos above him.
The time to trade Jonathan Drouin has come and gone. Although his value has increased drastically, the Lightning would prefer to keep him, as they always have. Drouin needs to put this whole situation in the past and move on as a professional, which he in all likelihood will.
David Backes, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is a unrestricted free agent this summer. Under his reign (and many others’), the Blues have not done much in the playoffs. However, this year is different. The Blues advanced to the conference finals and have a real shot at the Stanley Cup. Backes is playing at the top of his game and is proving how valuable he is to St. Louis.
It may not be far fetched to think that both team and player would have been ready to move on after another first or even second round exit. Backes would be a top target of many teams around the league.
To lose Backes while blowing up the core after another playoff disappointment would have been a regret in the long run, but it is out the window now.
Many would call David Backes overrated, but that is not the case. He is irreplaceable to St. Louis in multiple ways, both on and off the ice. I think you’ll see Backes in the blue and yellow for a long time coming.