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I still remember the first time I saw Jonathan Drouin in action. It was back when he was in the Q—just 17 years old—playing for the Halifax Mooseheads. No wonder this shift got dubbed “the best shift of the year”:

So you can understand my excitement when the Lightning decided to draft him third overall, just four months later. Now in his fourth season with the Lightning organization, after all his ups and downs in the NHL, he is finally ready for a breakout season.

The Hockey Writers write:

“One of Drouin’s strengths has always been his playmaking ability and he’s a leading candidate to be a winger alongside Stamkos during even strength and power play situations. If the pair clicks like they did briefly to start 2015-16, it would be the first time Stamkos has had a go-to set-up man since Martin St. Louis was traded in the 2013-14 season. At the same time, Drouin must also continue to improve his game defensively and be weary of taking the ill-advised penalty in important situations.

The growing pains Drouin and the Lightning went through during the 2015-16 season were something neither one wanted, but a sequence of events that seemingly had to occur to bring both sides together.

In the end, Drouin and the Lightning are better because of it.”

Drouin already has two goals and three assists to start off the season as right wing on the first line alongside Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat.

As a Lightning fan, it may seem biased that my first blog article is about the Lightning’s No.1 prospect but let me defend myself.

The reason I am writing about Drouin is because unlike the McDavid’s, Matthews’s and Laine’s of the league, Drouin has proven himself on the playoff stage after helping the Lightning to the Eastern Conference Final last season.

jonathan_drouin_-_tampa_bay_lightning

Photo by: Lisa Gansky

Drouin is now poised to be the future of ESPN’s No.1 franchise in sports. I repeat—’No.1 franchise in sports’—not just the NHL but the NFL, NBA and MLB too.

I think—nay—know that his dangles, snipes and grinder-esque play will lead the Lightning to hoisting Lord Stanley’s Mug for the 2016-17 season. You heard it here first.

That’s why Jonathan Drouin is my Player of the Day.

 

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