ColoradoAvalanche.com will look at some of the top draft-eligible prospects in the week leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft. The top three North American skaters and the top two European skaters according to NHL Central Scouting's final rankings will be profiled. Next up is the No. 3 ranked North American skater, Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads.
NHL teams looking to add a playmaker with elite hockey sense and flare should look no further than Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads.
At 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds, the left-winger doesn’t have the size of many of his fellow draft prospects, but that hasn’t stopped him from making a big impact on the ice. The 18-year-old has been praised for his high hockey IQ, as well as his creativity and impressive lower body strength; making it difficult for opposing players to knock him off of the puck.
“An agile forward, Drouin is very creative and a good skater. He is an extremely offensive player with fantastic hands and excellent on-ice-vision,” said Elite Prospects' Matias Strozyk. “Drouin has a good shot but is best used as a playmaker and is very dangerous on the power play. He is not a large player or an explosive skater, but he is very agile and able to play his way out of tight spots thanks to his hockey sense.”
Drouin was rated third among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings prior to the 2013 NHL Draft, behind Portland defenseman Seth Jones (WHL) and Halifax teammate Nathan MacKinnon.
“Jonathan Drouin is an exceptional hockey player. His hockey sense and playmaking abilities are just over the top,” said NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr. “He’s one of those thread-the-needle passers – he can be on the ice and can create a play out of nothing that’s there. Whenever you want to reference him today, they think he’s going to be able to impact the game along the lines of Martin St. Louis or Joe Sakic.”
In his first full season with the Halifax Mooseheads (he started the 2011-12 season with Lac Saint-Louis Lions midget AAA team in Quebec), he tallied a team-high 105 points (41g/64a) and had a plus-48 rating in 49 games. His 105 points ranked second in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and was only five points behind leader Ben Duffy of the PEI Rocket, despite Drouin playing in 14 fewer games. He was also named the QMJHL MVP and the Canadian Hockey League's Player of the Year for 2012-13.
In the QMHJL playoffs, Drouin ranked first on his team in points with 33 and recorded the most assists (23) by any player in the league. He also had a plus-22 rating, second in the QMJHL postseason behind teammate Brendan Duke.
His solid playoff performance helped propel the Mooseheads to the QMJHL championship, and eventually to the Memorial Cup championship game where he had five assists, tying MacKinnon (3g/2a) for the most points in the contest. Halifax defeated the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League 6-4 for the Memorial Cup title.
At the international level in 2013, Drouin represented Canada at the Under-18 World Championship as well as the Under-20 World Championship in Ufa, Russia. He tallied five points (all assists) in six games for the U-18 Juniors, where he won gold with Canada, and had four points (2g/2a) at the U-20 World Juniors, where Canada finished fourth.
Personality – Not Just A Player
After being ranked third among NHL prospects coming into this year’s draft, Jonathan Drouin knew he had to set himself apart from the two players ahead of him on the draft board.
While the limelight was shining on teammate and No. 2 prospect Nathan MacKinnon, Drouin had a chance to let his game – and personality – shine on its own.
"That’s something you have to show. You’re not just drafting a player, you’re drafting a person,” Drouin said in an interview with Yahoo Sports. “That’s what NHL teams are trying to see [at the combine], what kind of person you are off the ice."
Drouin secured the QMJHL Paul Dumont Trophy for Personality of the Year, and hopes that scouts won’t look past his unique style and creativity come draft day.
Highlights From His 2012-13 Season
- QMJHL Michel Brière Memorial Trophy (MVP for the 2013 season)
- QMJHL Mike Bossy Trophy (Top Professional Prospect)
- QMJHL Paul Dumont Trophy (Personality of the Year)
- QMJHL Guy Lafleur Trophy (Playoffs MVP)
- QMJHL First All-Star Team
- CHL Player of the Year
- Named to the CHL Top Prospect Game
- CHL Memorial Cup champion
- Gold medal with Canada at Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament (U-18 Junior World Cup)
Did You Know?
- Halifax secured its first Memorial Cup championship this season, marking the QMJHL’s first Memorial Cup in a Western Hockey League city (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan).
- He was the second player taken in the 2011 QMJHL Draft, behind linemate Nathan MacKinnon.
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