Prospect of the Week: November 13, 2013
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for November 4, 2013 is … Jonathan Drouin, C/W (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL, CAN).
If there were concerns as to how the 18 year-old would take being returned to Halifax and fare without former teammate and current NHLer Nathan MacKinnon to play alongside of, they ought to be non-existent now.
After being hindered by some minor injuries in the early going this season and what amounted (for him) to something of a slow start, Drouin's gotten off to a hot start in November, registering six goals and seven assists in just four games. It was only a matter of time before Drouin earned our weekly honors and, though he has yet to win any of his league's weekly or monthly awards this season, we suspect he's on the cusp of earning one of those distinctions as well.
The 2013 first round draft pick had two goals and four assists last week, tallying one apiece against Moncton while netting a goal and setting up three others against Saint John last week. He is currently 15th in the QMJHL scoring race but has played in substantially fewer games (14) than all of those in front of him, between 6 and 9 games less than all but one player who has played only 18 games. At slightly over 2 per game, his 29 points put him only a hair off of average last season when he posted 105 in 49 games.
Drouin projects as an elite top-line winger at the NHL level. His playmaking ability and vision are exceptional; his control of the puck, particularly in tight on defenders and goaltenders is mesmerizing. Drouin may not have explosive speed but he’s extremely shifty -- especially quick in his lateral movements -- and still moves up-ice very well. Often knocked for his supposed lack of size, he's got a compact frame at close to 6'0" and 190 pounds that he'll flesh out even more as a pro. Even now, he's strong on the puck and his skating ability makes him difficult for defenders to line up for solid contact.
We rank Drouin as Tampa Bay’s No. 1 prospect ahead of goaltender Andrey Vasilevskiy and forward Nikita Kucherov.
2013-2014 Prospect of the Week winners:
November 4: Nikita Kucherov, FW, (Syracuse Crunch, AHL, USA).
October 29: Kristers Gudlevskis, G, (Syracuse Crunch, AHL, USA).
October 24: Henri Ikonen, W, (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL, Canada).
October 16: Nikita Kucherov, W, (Syracuse Crunch, AHL, USA).
October 9: Henri Ikonen, W, (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL, Canada).
October 1: Andrey Vasilevskiy, G, (Salavat Yulaev, KHL, Russia).
September 24: Adam Erne, W, Tampa Bay (NHL) and Quebec (QMJHL)