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Drouin wants return to Avs: 'It's a great place to play hockey'

Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images / Denver Post / Getty

Colorado Avalanche forward Jonathan Drouin reflected on his bounce-back campaign after his season ended in Friday's Game 6 loss against the Dallas Stars and expressed a desire to remain with the team.

"Awesome," Drouin said of his first season in Colorado, according to DNVR Avalanche. "Obviously had tough years in Montreal, so to come here and play with this team, kinda find my way as the year went on, it was cool. It's a great bunch of guys, this staff is awesome. It's a great place to play hockey."

Drouin tallied 19 goals and a career-best 56 points in 79 games this year. His resurgent campaign came after a two-goal, 29-point season with the Canadiens.

"It was a good year for me. Definitely took some steps forward toward my game, how I want to play," Drouin said. "Credit to a lot of people here, from the coaching staff to the players. It's a hell of a group, a lot of good players."

Drouin signed a one-year contract worth $825,000 on July 1 with the Avalanche. He rekindled some of his chemistry with former Halifax Mooseheads teammate Nathan MacKinnon in Colorado a decade after the duo last shared the ice in the QMJHL.

The 29-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent and is in line for a notable raise from his sub-$1-million cap hit.

"I'd love to come back here and sign here," Drouin said. "I've loved my time here, my family's loved their time."

Colorado has $15.9 million in projected cap space entering the summer, according to CapFriendly. The Avalanche have six forwards under contract for 2024-25, plus restricted free agent Casey Mittelstadt.

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