Cage Match! Poolies who invested a lot in Jonathan Drouin and Jonathan Huberdeau have reason to be pleased with how both players fared in 2016-17. The question is whether their solid seasons were stepping stones to fantasy greatness. Let’s find out – Cage Match starts now!
Career Path and Contract Status
Drouin, who just turned 22, was drafted 3rd overall in 2013 and produced a modest 32 points in 70 games as a rookie. Things looked great in 2015-16 when he emerged with six points in five games; yet after that his Ice Time dropped and he went scoreless in five other October contests. Then injuries limited him to nine games in November and December, with points in just one lone contest. Drouin was back healthy in early January, but was assigned to the AHL and failed to report, igniting a “he said, she said” firestorm. That mess stretched into March before he did finally report to the AHL, where he posted 13 points in 17 games. He was back with the Lightning for their final two regular seasons games, posting two points, and then starred with 14 points in 17 playoff contests. This season the drama of 2015-16 seemed to be a thing of the past, and Drouin finished with a solid 53 points in 73 games.
Huberdeau, 23, was also drafted 3rd overall, but two years earlier. In his rookie campaign, Huberdeau produced one point less than Drouin did, but in 22 fewer games. Yet as a sophomore he slumped to 28 points in 69 contests. Fortunately for the Panthers, and poolies who owned him, he made big strides in his next two campaigns, with 54 and 59 points. Expectations were understandably high for 2016-17, until Huberdeau was lost to injury right as the season was set to begin. Although Huberdeau ended his abbreviated 2016-17 with a 69 point full season pace (via 26 points in 31 games), 15 of those points came in just six total games.
Drouin just completed the final season of his ELC and is an RFA on a team that also has Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat to sign. Huberdeau already inked his post-ELC deal, which is set to pay him $5.9M per season through 2022-23.