VICTORIAVILLE, Que. - The Baie-Comeau Drakkar turned down trade offers from rival clubs and used the first overall pick in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft Saturday to select forward Nathan MacKinnon.
MacKinnon's hockey path has closely followed that of fellow Cole Harbour, N.S., native Sidney Crosby. MacKinnon grew up playing in the same minor hockey system and then jumped to Shattuck St. Mary's prep school in Faribeault, Minn.
The five-foot-11, 170-pound centre had 45 goals and 93 points in 40 games this season.
The Halifax Mooseheads and Crosby's old team, the Rimouski Oceanic, were reportedly among the clubs that made offers to Baie-Comeau for the first overall pick.
MacKinnon, who has Crosby's agent Pat Brisson as his adviser, has not yet committed to playing for Baie-Comeau and did not attend the draft, but general manager Steve Ahern has said he will do his best to convince the gifted playmaker to report. MacKinnon may opt to play in the USHL and then go on to a U.S. university.
Halifax traded up from the fourth spot to select forward Jonathan Drouin of the Lac St. Louis midget AAA team second overall. Drouin had 35 goals in 60 games this season.
Rimouski then chose forward Guillaume Gauthier from the St. Eustache midget team.
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies took St. Eustache defenceman Justin Guenette fourth overall and the Val d'Or Foreurs selected defenceman Matt Murphy of Fredericton fifth.
Highly regarded forward Anthony Duclair, who is expected to play in the USHL, was chosen in the third round by the Quebec Remparts.
The QMJHL will be down to 17 teams next season after the league announced it will buy out the Lewiston franchise. Sherbrooke is to be added as an expansion team in 2012-13.