A visit to Halifax could be giving Jonathan Drouin “second thoughts” about playing in the QMJHL this season.
Drouin, who the Halifax Mooseheads selected second overall in June’s draft, was in town on Friday and watched the Herd’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar at the Metro Centre. The 16-year-old and his family also visited the locker room and got a better feel for the Mooseheads’ setup with billets and schools.
Although the highly-skilled forward decided in August he would stay in Lac St-Louis, Que., to play midget AAA this season, he already has a league-leading 45 points in just 16 games.
“I think we gave him a lot of information about how things work and every aspect of it, from billets to hockey to everything,” said Mooseheads head coach Dominique Ducharme. “I think Jonathan and his family enjoyed their visit here and he’s just thinking. He’s dominating the (midget) league and he’s having second thoughts.”
Drouin had planned to report to training camp in August but had a last-minute change of heart. According to his agent, Petr Svoboda, in August, he wanted to finish his Grade 11 year in Quebec and thought he’d be more “game-ready” for the QMJHL in 2012-13.
But Halifax isn’t the only town Drouin has visited this month. Last week, he was in Dubuque, Iowa, to visit the United States Hockey League’s Fighting Saints, who drafted him 43rd overall in last summer’s Futures Draft. He was interviewed by the team’s official website on Nov. 4 and said he’s still considering the U.S. college route.
"Every year there are more people going to the States for college, the USHL … (Some) like it more, some people like the Q,” Drouin said in the interview. “I have both options, I’m keeping them both open (and I’ll) see at the end of the year what’s happening, if I’m going to junior or the USHL.”
The five-foot-eight, 153-pounder from Dollard-des-Omeaux has been compared in style to Pavel Datsyuk. He piled up 92 points in 60 games last season and was named midget AAA playoff MVP.
“The guy has franchise talent and ability and we’re excited to have him here when he feels comfortable,” Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell said when Drouin no-showed in August.