Drouin on the rise in Craig Button's NHL draft ranking

TSN.ca Staff
12/4/2012 2:28:38 PM
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While Nathan MacKinnon has been touted as the best forward available for the next NHL Draft, he could face some tough competition from his own junior teammate.

Going up nine spots from No. 13 to No. 4, Halifax Mooseheads winger Jonathan Drouin made the biggest jump in TSN Scout Craig Button's December ranking - trailing only defenceman Seth Jones, MacKinnon and centre Alexander Barkov.

"At about this time last year, Jonathan was still debating if he was going to go the college route or go to the Mooseheads," Button told TSN.ca.  "After an initial feeling out process in the QMJHL, his play has soared in every regard.

"Last season in the playoffs against the Quebec Remparts he was instrumental along with 2013 NHL Entry Draft top prospects Nathan MacKinnon and Zachary Fucale after falling behind 3-0 in the series.  He was a key component of team Canada's gold medal team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.  The only thing that has stopped him this season is a shoulder injury."

Drouin, 17, has 15 goals and 42 points in 21 games this season and scored a goal and three assists in his apprearance at the Canada-Russia Subway Series last month. Drouin has also been invited to Hockey Canada's selection camp for the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship.

"When he's on the ice he's always dangerous," Button stated. "That and the chemistry that he and MacKinnon have developed have made them as threatening a duo as there is in junior hockey.  They intimidate opponents and electrify fans, and have certainly excited NHL scouts with their play to this point."

Jones, who plays for the WHL's Portland Winterhawks, remains at the top of Button's list from October with 20 points and a plus-22 rating in 26 games this season. MacKinnon is third in QMJHL scoring with 22 goals and 47 points in 27 games.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Swedish winger Elias Lindholm, Ottawa 67's forward Sean Monahan, defenceman Nikita Zadorov of the London Knights, Russian winger Valeri Nichushkin, Prince Albert blueliner Josh Morrissey and defenceman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Click here at (http://www.tsn.ca/craigslist) for the full December prospect list.

Jonathan Drouin (Photo: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)


(Photo: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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