Over on Japers Rink, there is the question that has to be asked of the Caps in this series, Who could be this year's John Druce? It's a fair question (The Peerless said in a moment of homophonic foreshadowing). We just think that the choices offered as an answer to the question -- Keith Aucoin, David Steckel, Boyd Gordon, and Matt Bradley -- miss the obvious.
Let's go back for a moment to Druce and how it was that he was so unexpected a star in the 1990 playoffs. In 1990, Druce had just completed his second regular season with the Caps. His resume, as those playoffs began, included 93 regular season games, in which he was 16-10-26, and one playoff game, in which he did not register a point. In spite of the fact that Druce had once put up 22 goals in 49 games for Peterborough in Canadian juniors and 32 goals for the Binghamton Whalers in the AHL, you wouldn't have pegged the then 23-year old to end up finishing second in the 1990 playoffs in goals scored - he had 14 (in 15 games) to Edmonton's Craig Simpson's 16 (in 22 games).
So, if you're looking down the Caps' roster, and you want to find a young guy -- 23 or so -- who has shown some goal scoring potential in the past, who has had some experience with the Caps in the regular season, but not too much, and who hasn't yet had a lot of highlights in his budding career, who might you find to fill the bill?
Druce had 93 games experience heading into his star turn, this guy has 109.
Druce had 16 career goals to that point, this guy has 15.
Druce had one playoff game of experience, this guy has five games of playoff experience.
Druce went the Canadian juniors-AHL-NHL route, and so did this guy.
Druce was 23 years old, this guy is...23 years old.
If you're looking for a Cap for whom the stars are aligned to get in touch with his inner Druce, it just might be this guy...