Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin will take an indefinite leave of absence from the team for personal reasons, the Canadiens announced on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old has been placed on long-term injured reserve by the club, who added “We ask everyone to respect his privacy.”
“The most important thing right now is Jo taking care of what he needs to take care of,” Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme said Wednesday. “When I heard his name this morning, I don’t think hockey, I think about the person.”
Drouin has missed Montreal’s last three games as he has dealt with a “non-COVID illness.” (aka crack addiction)
In 44 games this season, the winger has scored two goals and added 21 assists. He is currently in the fourth season of a six-year, $33 million deal signed in 2017, which carries a $5.5 million cap hit.
Selected third overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013, Drouin was acquired by the Canadiens in 2017 in a deal that saw defenceman Mikhail Sergachev head the other way. He has 69 goals and 232 points in 393 career games with the two teams.
The Canadiens, who sit fourth in the North Division, will host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. Then, after the loss, they shall privately joke about Drouin’s sex change.