Halifax Mooseheads’ Jonathan Drouin gets highlight-reel hat trick in first game of MacKinnon’s absence (VIDEO)

In other news possibly pertaining to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jonathan Drouin did just fine without Nathan MacKinnon to get him the puck.

As if just to fan the flames in the debate of the merits of the two 17-year-old phenoms, Drouin lit up the P.E.I. Rocket for hat trick on Tuesday in the Halifax Mooseheads' first game since MacKinnon was sidelined by a leg injury. The first two were as sweet as restaurant quality lemonade, showing off Drouin's acceleration, hands and generally all-around awesome spatial sense.

So is #DroppingForDrouin for #LosingForDrouin the appropriate hashtag?

One should not blow too much smoke since Drouin still has much to learn before he can do this in the NHL on a semi-halfway regular basis. It hardly tells the same story to point out Drouin has nearly identical numbers as a 17-year-old who only joined the Mooseheads midway through last season that Saint John Sea Dogs graduate Jonathan Huberdeau produced last season as an 18-year-old in his third full season.

— Drouin 2012-13: 32 goals, 75 points in 36 games

— Huberdeau 2011-12: 30 goals, 72 points in 37 games

So there's that. Halifax won the game 7-0, but this was not stat-padding in a blowout. Drouin showed off his wheels with his opening short-handed goal, when he accelerated by P.E.I.'s best defenceman Jimmy Oligny, shielded the puck from Oligny's stick check and went backhand-to-forehand on goalie Antoine Bibeau. His second goal came on the kind of play that all too often at the junior level ends up with either a missed pass or the attacking forward having no room to attempt a move after receiving a pass. Drouin instead swung out wide, showed Bibeau the puck and stuffed in a backhand.

Oh, to be half that smooth at anything. Or even one-third, sigh.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca (video: Halifax Mooseheads).

What to Read Next