Coming Soon: The Jonathan Drouin Experience
When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman sent Martin St. Louis to New York, he dealt away Steven Stamkos‘ set-up man. Surely Yzerman envisioned Jonathan Drouin eventually taking on that role. The third overall pick of the 2013 draft has torn up the QMJHL this season.
In 46 regular season games with the Halifax Mooseheads, Drouin scored 29 goals and dished out 79 assists for 108 points. The Ste-Agathe, Quebec native also had 43 penalty minutes, 217 shots, ten power play goals, three shorthanded goals and a +50 rating. Drouin’s points per game average was actually higher (2.34) than last season when he was a linemate of Calder Trophy front-runner Nathan MacKinnon‘s (2.14).
Aside from the ridiculous statistics, Drouin possesses a “refuse to lose” attitude and many times this season, seemed to will his team to victory. He’s too good to play in the CHL and despite being cut from the Lightning, the 2013-14 season has benefited him greatly. He’s completed the switch from wing to center and has become much more disciplined. He’s too young to play in the AHL next season. He will make the Lightning’s opening day roster.
His stickhandling and playmaking abilities are generational, so much so that I feel comfortable saying he is the most skilled player with the puck I have seen during my 15 years covering the league. And, yes, I was on the QMJHL beat when Sidney Crosby played for the Rimouski Oceanic between 2003 and 2005. – Willy Palov, Halifax Chronicle-Herald
Much of Drouin’s success in 2014-15 with the Lightning will be based on how coach Jon Cooper uses him. Drouin isn’t going to net 60 points playing on the third line and getting thirty seconds of power play time with the second unit. Cooper needs to give him a chance to click with Stamkos. The Bolts brass need only look at what happened with rookie Ondrej Palat this past season. After being given time as a top six forward, Palat became a point per game player in the second half of the season.
Drouin’s playoff numbers have been off the charts. In 16 games played, he has accumulated 13 goals, 28 assists, 18 penalty minutes, 95 shots and a +9 rating. Going back to the regular season, Drouin had at least one point in 27 of his last 28 games, a streak that saw him earn a stunning 78 points. The Mooseheads lost to the Val-d’Or Foreurs 3-2 in game seven of the semifinals.
Jonathan Drouin is coming to Tampa and it’s going to be spectacular.
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