Ducharme: « Jake Evans can fill the void left by Phillip Danault»

Published August 30, 2021 at 11:15

Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme met briefly with the media on Thursday as he was in town for his charity's annual golf tournament.

Ducharme made a couple of headlines when he mentioned that both Carey Price and Jonathan Drouin will be ready for the beginning of training camp, or shortly thereafter. The Canadiens camp is scheduled to begin on September 22, while their first preseason game is September 25.

Price was not expected to be available on day one due to injury and Drouin's status has pretty much been a mystery since he took a leave of absence from the team in March.

He also stated that Jake Evans can fill the void left by Phillip Danault.

I mean, somebody has step into the role that was vacated when Danault signed a six-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings that comes with a $5.5 million annual cap hit. I guess it makes the most sense that Evans is that player, and while Weber's minutes will be replaced by Savard and Tomas Tatar's role on left wing will be picked up by Mike Hoffman, there were no centres brought in to replace Danault so the candidate had to come from in house.

Evans played well for most of last season, but when I think of a player replacing Danault, I think of someone playing the toughest of minutes against the best opponent's every single night. They will also likely play on the same line as Brendan Gallagher.

Evans can play a defensive role, and showed he fit quite well with Gallagher and Danault when moved to the wing in the first round of the playoffs. That didn't last very long as Evans was injured in Game 1 of the second round, but he certainly did his job when asked.

Still, it is a huge leap to go from the wing on that line for a few big games to playing with Gallagher against the other team's best every night. Evans is 26 years old and has just 60 games of NHL experience so there is definitely room to grow, and his usage will be one of the more interesting developments to watch early in the season.

Credit: AWinningHabit
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