Halifax Mooseheads’ Jonathan Drouin has the most amazing shift you’ll ever see
Jonathan Drouin is eluding the easy cliché or catchphrase as easily as he often dekes around defenders. Any slang of the moment you can throw out — bananas, beastin', sick — falls short of capturing what the Halifax Mooseheads' 17-year-old phenom did on Sunday.
The Acadie-Bathurst Titan might have believed they had a system that gave them a chance at containing the 17-year-old star, who is the third-ranked NHL draft prospect in North American in NHL Central Scouting's estimation. But Drouin does to systems what Godzilla does to cities. For 30 seconds, in what is supposed to be the truest team sport in North America, Drouin was basically the only one on the ice at the Halifax Metro Centre who mattered. This illustrates how Drouin is just that far ahead of the class in junior. The sequence went ... oh, just watch it.
The Acadie-Bathurst Titan's Christophe Lalancette (No. 12 on the Titan) will be hearing about this play as long as there is an Internet. The San Jose Sharks draft pick got dangled twice by Drouin and then took the brunt of an open-ice check as Drouin retrieved the puck.
The other four Titan skaters all looked like they were in a trance. Or no one wanted to abandon what they've had drilled into them about positional play and risk looking bad. I'll just get in this passing lane over here. Mooseheads captain Stefan Fournier, who got the goal, probably has not had many easier tap-ins.
The counter-argument is the Titan might have bungled this completely, with Lalancette and goalie Jacob Brennan both committing too easily. The rub is juniors are supposed to make mistakes and Drouin didn't make one.
Why the 17-year-old Drouin averaging two points per game in the QMJHL has not become a bigger national story is anyone's guess. (Anti-Maritime bias? Does playing on the same team as fellow prodigy Nathan MacKinnon complicate the narrative? Please let us know which chip goes on which shoulder.)
In the course of Halifax's 11-3 win, Drouin took the QMJHL scoring lead with 93 points in 42 games. The Huberdeau, Que., native is first in total points despite having played 17 fewer games than the three older players who are tied for second. Whether the 5-foot-11, 176-pound left wing will make the NHL next season at age 18 remains to be seen. His latest masterpiece was way beyond the realm of any major junior league on this mortal coil.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (videos: John Moore, Halifax Mooseheads).