Dom Lunardo | May 19th, 2020
Every once in awhile a top-tier, talented blue-liner comes along and takes junior hockey by storm. Whether it’s his skill set, charisma, or propensity for the big moment, these players are few and far between. That defenceman leading up to this summer’s 2020 NHL Entry Draft, is Jamie Drysdale. Let’s take a deep dive and examine one of hockey’s most coveted prospects.
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Team: Erie Otters, Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
2020 Draft Prospect Ranking (Central Scouting): 3rd Amongst North American Skaters
Taking “The O” by Storm
Despite their sub-par play, Drysdale has had a remarkable year for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Drysdale’s brilliance on a nightly basis has completely overshadowed the poor play of the Otters in 2019/20. His edge-work, hockey IQ, and “knack” for making plays have been evident all season long in Erie, Pennsylvania. From a statistical standpoint, Drysdale tallied 16 goals and 71 assists for 87 points over the past two seasons.
Drysdale’s raw talent was a breath of fresh air across “The O”, along with his explosive talent in all three zones. This is a kid who “gets it” even at the tender age of 18. Fans intentionally went out of their way to catch an Otters game and grab a close glimpse of Mr. Drysdale. We’re talking about a real special draft-eligible player here, folks! His ultimate “coming out” party, however, came on a much larger stage. Next up for Drysdale was the World Junior Tournament, with the entire hockey world watching.
International Duty (2020 IIHF World Juniors)
With the pressure on, Drysdale rose to the proverbial challenge donning the red and white of Team Canada. Every winter, the hockey world shifts its focus to one of the most anticipated two-week tournaments. This marks the annual IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. For many, this is a “cool” dream or experience to simply be a part of. For others, they use this tournament to stamp their authority on the game of hockey as a whole. Drysdale opted for the latter.
As a key figure on Team Canada, Drysdale was a standout player throughout the tournament. Drysdale notched a goal and two assists in seven games helping Canada claim the Gold Medal. In addition, his stellar play against the mighty Russians in the all-important final game was something to behold. Drysdale’s confidence with the puck and his mad dashes on the ice were on full display all tournament long. An all-action defenseman, Drysdale was the youngest member on Canada’s defense corps, and certainly one of the best. He has a never-ending engine and keeps you on the edge of your seat each and every shift. Talk about leaving your mark on the world stage!
The “Skill Set”
Blessed with vision, skating ability, and “hockey-sense, Drysdale is the complete package on the blue line. The prototypical defenseman in today’s game, Drysdale certainly comes as advertised. His offensive instincts are exceptional, and he loves to jump into the rush to create scoring chances. In addition, Drysdale has a real passion for the game. He’s an intense competitor and loves the battle that comes with a 60-minute tilt. In just a few short seasons, Drysdale’s stock as a player has skyrocketed. Scouts have marveled at his foot speed, puck skills, and his passing ability. The past 18 months alone have seen Drysdale become of the best players at this year’s draft. Believe the hype, hockey fans, we’re in for a real treat with an outstanding defenseman, Jamie Drysdale.
One of the most difficult jobs of a pro scout is projecting what a player will become “down the line”. Scouts are tasked with examining a teenager, and predicting what they will be under the bright lights of the NHL. However, when it comes to Jamie Drysdale, we’re talking about a bonafide star in the making. He is skilled, intelligent, and has all the makings to excel on the biggest stage. Many “in the know” across the junior ranks are already touting Drysdale to crack an NHL lineup as early as next season. He’s turning heads and has single-handedly played his way into a top-3 draft selection. At the present moment, no one knows where Drysdale will end up once the draft lottery is finalized. What we do know, however, is that Drysdale carries the qualities to forever change the fortunes of any NHL franchise.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images