It would be difficult to call Jonathan Drouin a draft year surprise. After all, he was selected second only to Nathan MacKinnon in the 2011 QMJHL Entry Draft for a reason. He then went on to serve notice of his abilities with a strong rookie debut, including a magical playoff run alongside MacKinnon and the rest of the Halifax Mooseheads. He followed up that performance by helping Team Canada win their fifth consecutive gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this summer. So if anyone thinks Drouin has come out of nowhere, they simply were not paying attention to begin with. With that said, who would have expected that a mere 12 months after he was torching midget AAA goalies as a member of the Lac St-Louis Lions, Drouin would be burning his way through the QMJHL with similar ease? Who would have thought that after being "that guy" picked immediately after the highly touted MacKinnon, Drouin would not only be linemates with the young phenom, but would also be quickly proving that the gap between #1 and #2 isn't as wide as previously thought? Who would have predicted that the duo would be making serious noise to be selected first and second overall again, but this time at the NHL Draft and possibly not even with MacKinnon being the first player picked? Drouin has been nothing short of incredible so far this season, but as mentioned, his real story begins over a year ago when he was drafted second overall by the Mooseheads in the 2011 QMJHL Entry Draft. With Drouin opting to stay with his midget AAA team in Lac St-Louis to start the 2011-12 QMJHL season, the Mooseheads, in the meantime, had acquired first overall selection Nathan MacKinnon, a hometown player who was already being hailed as the latest 'Next One'. Hardly challenged at the midget AAA level, with 22 goals and 53 points in 22 games, Drouin opted to join the Mooseheads shortly before Christmas. Despite tallying two assists in his first QMJHL game and displaying his obvious talents, Drouin didn't immediately dominate the QMJHL as Central Scouting's Kim Houston explains. "He came in basically at the end of the first half there, around Christmas break and he just kind of looked like he was going through the motions a lot of nights, but really I think he was just processing and then when the playoffs started, he was a different player. That's what I really noticed, he stepped up his game," says Houston. Mooseheads assistant coach Jim Midgley agrees. "[Drouin] came here at Christmas and he's just gotten better every single day and that's what's fun to watch, to watch a player. He was outstanding when he came here last year and obviously his playoffs speak for themselves." After finishing the season with a solid seven goals and 29 points in 33 games, Drouin really came into his own in the post-season. In a magical playoff run, including a second round comeback from a 3-0 series deficit against the Quebec Remparts, Drouin scored nine goals and had 26 points in 17 games as the young Mooseheads squad made it all the way to the third round. In particular, it was his goal in the Game 7 overtime that clinched the comeback against Quebec. That experience led into a busy summer where he played for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. His five assists in five games helped pace the Canadians to their fifth straight gold medal performance. Drouin has continued to improve in his second season in the QMJHL with expectations for both he and the rest of the Mooseheads being that much higher. Even an early season injury couldn't slow him down. In 20 games so far this season, Drouin has 15 goals and 41 points, leading all QMJHL players in points-per-game, less than a year after he was averaging over two points-per-game at the midget AAA level. Last month, Drouin also appeared in the second Canada/Russia Subway Super Series match after missing the first with injury. In the game, he scored once and finished with four points in Team QMJHL's 5-2 win over the Russians.
Mooseheads’ Drouin making his case as a top prospect
Hockey's Future | May 4