Although it might be more likely that the Tampa Bay Lightning draft Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads, Tampa has not been as vocal about their intentions as some other teams. With the recent emergence of Aleksander Barkov’s draft stock, I believe it is now time to recognize the possibility of Barkov coming off the board third overall and Drouin falling to the Nashville Predators at number four.
Maybe this is wishful thinking, but this would be an ideal situation for Nashville GM David Poile. Considering the Predators desperately need left wingers, Drouin played on the left side of fellow draft prospect Nathan Mackinnon for the previous two seasons. Drouin would be the perfect fit to assume top line wing minutes right from the start in Nashville.
Halfway through the 2011-12 QMJHL season, Drouin joined friend and teammate Nathan Mackinnon and had immediate success for the Mooseheads. It was not until the 2012 QMJHL playoffs, however, that he took the league by storm and shot up the mock draft rankings, scoring 26 points in 17 games and reaching the semi-finals. In only 49 games in 2012-13, the 18-year-old netted 41 goals and 64 assists en route to an incredible 105-point season.
Drouin’s stick-handling has been compared to Patrick Kane and his jaw-dropping playmaking ability has been compared to Pavel Datsyuk, his favorite player. Scouts say that he’s only ranked behind his studly linemate because Mackinnon is better defensively.
It was not until reports broke that the Florida Panthers would not pass up on Seth Jones, if available, that it became a real possibility that Poile could get his hands on Drouin.
The Lightning did just buy-out longtime center Vincent Lecavalier, after all, and perhaps they prefer Barkov, who has spent more time playing center in years past. Predators fans watching Sunday should have all eyes on Tampa Bay and remain hopeful that they have bought in to the Barkov-hype.