Tampa passes on Jones, takes Drouin third overall

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The Tampa Bay Lightning had to be a bit surprised when Seth Jones, the No. 1 ranked North American skater, was still available for selection at No. 3 overall.

But it didn’t sway their choice.

The Bolts drafted Jonathan Drouin from QMJHL Halifax, two spots after Mooseheads teammate Nathan MacKinnon went first overall.

Drouin, 18, teamed with MacKinnon to form one of the best scoring duos in the Canadian Hockey League last season. Drouin scored 41 times in 49 games and was named the Quebec League MVP and CHL Player of the Year, edging out MacKinnon and Jones.

Widely regarded as the best playmaker in the draft, it appears Tampa Bay has now found a table-setter for Steven Stamkos. Veteran center and captain Vincent Lecavalier has been bought out of his contract and is now a free agent.

Drouin is on record saying he’s ready to play in the NHL next season, despite being just 18 years old and registering at 5-foot-11, 176 pounds.