Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin is taking an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons, the club announced Wednesday.
Drouin hasn’t played since April 21 and was placed on the long-term injured reserve list.
“The most important thing right now is ‘Jo’ taking care of what he needs to take care of,” Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme said. “When I heard his name this morning, I don’t think hockey, I think about the person. I’m not going to get into the details. All that I wish for him is that he does what he needs to do, that he takes care of his business. We are with him, we support him, his teammates support him. We’re a team and we’re going to remain a team.”
Drouin missed the last three games due to a non-COVID illness, but the team confirmed that wasn’t the reason behind his personal leave.
Drouin’s placement on the long-term injured reserve list is likely retroactive, which means he will be required to miss at least 10 games or 24 days counting back to his last appearance.
The 26-year-old from Ste-Agathe has 23 points in 44 games this season, including two goals and 21 assists. Drouin is in his fourth season with the Habs and was limited to 27 games last season due to a wrist injury. He produced 15 points in that campaign, including seven goals and eight helpers.
“We’re definitely going to miss him, he’s a great teammate, unbelievable player,” forward Jake Evans said. “Loves the game and he’s a really fun person to be around.”
Drouin was selected with the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, going two spots behind his Halifax teammate Nathan MacKinnon. He debuted in the big leagues with Tampa in the 2014-2015 season, playing 70 games and posting 32 points. Drouin was traded to Montreal in June of 2017.
The Canadiens are fourth in the North Division, with a 21-17-9 record ahead of hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. They are six points up on the Calgary Flames in the division.
Pic: Graham Hughes/Canadian Press