TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed the third overall selection of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Jonathan Drouin, to a three-year, entry level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Drouin will be participating in the Lightning’s annual development camp which kicks off tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum.
Drouin, 18, skated in 49 games with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, registering 41 goals and 105 points to go along with 32 penalty minutes. He ranked first on the Mooseheads for goals, assists (64), points and shorthanded goals with four. The Ste-Agathe, Quebec native also led all Moosehead forwards with a plus-48 rating during the regular season. He ranked second in the QMJHL for points, third in assists and ranked tied for seventh for goals. Drouin also skated in 17 playoff games, recording 12 goals and 35 points with 14 penalty minutes. He helped the Mooseheads win the Memorial Cup, recording five assists in the championship game against the Portland Winterhawks.
Name: Jonathan Drouin
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 186 lbs
Club: Halifax (QMJHL)
Tampa Bay elects to forego selecting perhaps the best need pick in favor of the player who might be the best prospect in this draft in slick winger Jonathan Drouin out of Halifax. Drouin starred on a line with top overall pick Nathan MacKinnon as Halifax swarmed to QMJHL and Memorial Cup titles.
Drouin mixes some of the best hockey sense and passing ability to be seen in the draft in quite some time with world class stickhandling ability and lateral quickness and skating. He truly appears to have the puck tied to the blade of his stick with a string. Add to that a solid shot and you have a player who is equally adept at shooting, passing, or making you look foolish by carrying it past you in the offensive third. As an added intangible, Drouin might also be one of the fiercest competitors in the draft, and while he may not be a bone cruncher he will go to the high traffic areas to make plays.
Drouin is not the ideal NHL size and he doesn't have a top level gear in terms of straight line speed. Those knocks should be tempered by saying he does have excellent lower body strength and really just needs to get his upper body strength to the same point, and his straight line speed may be compensated for by his lateral agility and advanced ability to read the play. Also, like many young forwards, he needs to continue to work on his play in the defensive third.
Top Line Left Winger and Top-20 NHL Scorer
Names That Have Been Floated: Patrick Kane, Claude Giroux, Martin St. Louis, Denis Savard, Gilbert Perrault