Patrick Kane’s hat trick put the Chicago Blackhawks into the Stanley Cup Final. A few years down the line we could see a similar fate for Jonathan Drouin. Often described as a wizard with the puck, Drouin’s game is frequently likened to Kane’s. An elite talent, Drouin looks to be a gamechanger, just waiting for a home.
When the Chicago Blackhawks won the lottery in 2007, they jumped from the 5th spot, to the 1st spot. Patrick Kane was not a consensus #1 pick, or a slam dunk for the Hawks. Kane wasn’t even the consensus top North American skater with many scouts pushing for either Kyle Turris or James Van Reimsdyk. Kane (5’10’’ 170 pounds at the time) didn’t have the size of JVR (6’3’’ and close to 200 pounds at the time), and you know how it works with scouts, coaches, and fans falling in love with a player's size.
Kevin Allen, of USA Today, wrote a piece in January of Kane’s draft year that lays out just how jumbled the top of the draft appeared to be.
There were probably many scouts that wondered about Patrick Kane’s ability to adjust to the NHL game. You can dominate juniors, or the World Juniors, but once you start to play with the men of the NHL, you’re in a different world.
Sounds a lot like Jonathan Drouin who's listed at 5'11'' and 176 pounds.
Both Kane and Drouin are players that don't have that huge Boston Bruin size that the league is always going to get scouts to go gaga. Each is an immensely talented player with plenty to like but it really all comes down to one trait above any other - HANDS.
If you’ve seen Patrick Kane play, you know what I’m talking about. Jonathan Drouin is in the same boat. Consider the following reviews:
Hockeysfuture.com - “A wizard with the puck, Drouin has already lit up the highlight reels by making fans' jaws drop and opposing defenders look foolish. He pairs his magical stickhandling ability with great lower-body strength that makes it nearly impossible to knock him off the puck. “
Hockeyprospectus.com - “Drouin is special offensive talent, with upside through the roof—a prototypical elite, puck possession forward. Drouin has unique puck skills, with the ability to show consistent offensive creativity. He naturally generated highlight reel scoring chances on a regular basis for the Mooseheads, and his ability to make plays in tight spaces is second to none. What separates Drouin, though, are his hands, and his tremendous ability to think the game. He has elite vision and offensive hockey sense, which allow him to dictate the offense. If defenders try to man him up one-on-one, he will find a way to lose the check. If they double him, he can make incredible passes to set up scoring chances. Although he possesses just good top-gear speed, he is a top-notch skater with a high level of shiftiness to his game. His agility and his puck skills make him a nightmare to check in open ice. That said, Drouin can be a liability when the game turns physical. He is a tad undersized, and his strength level needs to be improved in order to be effective in pro-level board battles. Drouin was given top line duties at the recent World Juniors, which is a rare feat for a Canadian 17-year-old, especially given the availability of talent at that tournament due to the lockout.” - Corey Pronman
Or, take a look at what Jonathan Drouin brings...
You’ll find Jonathan Drouin ranked anywhere from 1-4. An incredibly gifted winger that played alongside Nathan MacKinnon, there are some that wonder how he’ll play once he and MacKinnon are split up.
His numbers are off the charts. While the prevailing thought is that it's a lot easier to put up numbers in the QMJHL, Drouin's are ridiculous (In 49 games he scored 41 goals, and added 64 assists).
He’s not the biggest. He’s not the fastest. Neither was Patrick Kane.