Sep 24, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin (27) handles the puck against the Nashville Predators during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators beat the Lightning 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Drouin: The Next Martin St. Louis?

Jonathan Drouin has had Tampa Bay Lightning fans on the edge of their seats ever since being selected third overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. Like most top picks, he’s drawn comparisons to many different players throughout the league. For me, the one he is very similar to would be former captain Martin St. Louis.

With excellent on-ice vision, he can usually find teammates and make plays to get them the puck. This is helpful on the power play, as it’s important to know who’s open to possibly score.

St. Louis was a fixture there until his trade back in early March. So much so that the phrase ‘St. Louis to Stamkos’ is engrained into Lightning fans heads by now.

Drouin also possesses an uncanny ability to be creative with the puck. That means he’s able to position his body in a way which usually allows him to stick handle out of trouble. St. Louis did almost the exact same thing, making it difficult for opposing defenders to figure out what he planned to do.

Would he keep the puck himself or find a teammate uncovered who could make a play? You never knew, something that made the Lightning’s offense so lethal over the past 6-7 years.

The numbers Drouin’s put up in recent seasons furthers this belief. During his draft year (2012-13′), he tallied 64 assists and 105 points in 49 regular season games with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads.

Last season, after starting slow and missing time due to injury, he rebounded in a big way. The 79 assists, 108 points and plus-50 rating were all career highs, furthering the claim he should make the 2014-15′ Lightning roster.

St. Louis, on the other hand, spent most of his time playing college hockey for the University of Vermont. He wasn’t drafted either, instead signing a minor league deal with the Calgary Flames during the 1997-98′ season. His numbers were comparable to Drouin’s, especially considering he never made more than 36 appearances until after college.

Can Drouin be the Lightning’s next St. Louis? Though unknown, he’s got the tools to amaze everyone for years to come.

 

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