Brandon Prust did not have a season like he did last year, especially from an offensive standpoint. His willingness to put his body on the line and play injured has ultimately paid a price in his effectiveness.
STATS: 52 Games | 6 G-7 A = 13 P | 121 PIM | -1 | 42.2% Corsi | 1.1 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 13 games | 0 G-2 A = 2 P | 32 PIM | +1 | 44.5% Corsi
STORY: Brandon Prust, by the end of the playoffs, looked like a shell of his former self. He was passed on the depth chart by both Dale Weise and Michael Bournival and despite playing some games with Tomas Plekanec just could not get anything going.
Prust suffered through shoulder injuries and was not 100 per cent over the season and there are questions whether he allowed it to heal properly. In his first game back from one of his injuries, Prust fought. That’s the kind of reckless abandon that made Prust who he is but also makes the long term contract given to him look misguided.
Last year, Prust found a home with Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk and put up offensive numbers he never had before in his career. He outscored himself compared to this year despite playing in 14 less games.
If Prust actually rests and recovers, he is still a useful part of this team. With added depth at the forward position, the team can afford to rest him and allow him to stay healthy and fresh. Although if given the choice, Prust will want to play.
Prust will never be as good as he was last year. This season was maybe a snap back to reality, but I would think he may still have more left in the tank. The key will be to play a little more responsibly and not allow himself to run himself into the boards to the point that he has no shoulder left.
FUTURE: Prust is still signed for the next two seasons at $2.5 million. The emergence of Weise and Bournival show how quickly a team can have turnover on their bottom six forwards. Prust is still a key member of this team and will look to bounce back from an unlucky year to probably match up with Weise to give the Canadiens a very good four lines.
2016-2017: Unrestricted Free-Agent