2020 NHL Draft Preview: Jamie Drysdale, OHL Defense

As the NHL bears down on June 26, which is Phase I of the NHL Draft Lottery, we’ve taken a look at the likely top-3 picks should the Kings move up from their current fourth position slot. The experts begin varying quite a bit, which muddies the water as far as predictions.

However, we have taken a look at a variety of forwards, so peeking at a different position provides a change in pace and perspective.



Date of Birth: April 8, 2002
Height: 5’11
Weight: 170 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Defense

2019-20 Season

Drysdale played the entirety of the 2019-20 season for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He accumulated 47 points (9 G, 38 A) in 49 contests.

Act Your Age!

If Drysdale’s near point-per-game average in the OHL didn’t stand out enough, perhaps this will: he sat in the top-10 among defensemen. All the players ranked higher were born in the year 2000 or earlier – Drysdale was born in 2002.

Gone With the Gold

The native of Toronto, Ontario was also part of Team Canada in the World Junior Championship. If you remember, Kings prospect Akil Thomas scoring the gold-clinching goal in the last five minutes. He scored three points (1 G, 2 A) in seven games in this tournament, which is composed mostly of 19 year-olds.

You Otter Remember

Current Los Angeles defenseman Kurtis MacDermid also played for Erie in his junior career. A few other Otters now in the NHL are: Connor McDavid, Alex Debrincat, Dylan Stome, and Ryan O’Reilly.

Rankings by Independent Scouting Services

The Draft Analyst, Eighth. “Drysdale is a dominant presence on the ice who uses excellent speed, agility and rapid decision making to make himself the most dangerous player on the ice at all times. From a stylistic standpoint, there are several similarities between Drysdale and 2017 fourth-overall pick Cale Makar. Both are right shots who love the attack with speed and venture deep into opposing territory. Additionally, Drysdale is able to blend physical gifts such as quickness, escapability, and shot power with the natural instinct to time his movements perfectly and keep the other side in a state of confusion. Traveling at a high rate of speed can be a common trait of teenage offensive defensemen who are used to exploiting the inexperience of their opponents. But Drysdale is a poised, one-man breakout who processes multiple options as he darts up ice or weaves around traffic. Consider Drysdale one of the few draft-eligible puck rushers who not only consistently displays structure as he forrays across center ice, but also is one to produce far more clean zone entries than needless dump-ins or turnovers.”

Future Considerations, Seventh. Their article focuses on Drysdale’s skating ability and technique which provide a foundation of him being a solid offensive defenseman.

Hockey Prospect, Twelfth. In their Black Book, Drysdale is listed as an “A” prospect. His strongest skill was an 8 on a scale of 3-9. They noted felt quality of play and intensity elevated when he was on Team Canada versus the games they saw him on Erie.

See For Yourself

Here’s a highlight reel of Drysdale playing in International competition (2019 U18, Hlinka-Gretzky, and 2020 WJC):

Final Comments

Drysdale’s allure comes from his combination of skating and hockey sense complemented by some brilliant passing plays. He doesn’t boast size and strength, yet the newer NHL has provided more opportunity for smaller defensemen.

There are debates about him being the best defenseman in the draft. We saw quickly last year how the options become limited once a couple defensemen get picked, and teams will want to make sure they can get a blueliner from an acceptable tier when they are called to the podium.

It is at this point scenarios and planning is crucial for an organization. It’s very likely Drysdale will be available at least in the fourth overall spot. If you’re an organization and you feel he is your guy, or that he is the best defenseman, how late are you willing to wait for the rearguard to drop to you without risking someone else taking him? What if he falls to twelfth overall, where an independent scouting service has him listed? Would a team move assets to try to nab him?

For Los Angeles, there are several valid arguments. He’s perfect for the new NHL. The Kings have utilized their high picks on top-tier forwards, so why not add dynamism on the backend? Furthermore, with the turnaround season Matt Roy had, what could the coaching and development staff do with a player with high talent levels?


NOTE: David Hofreiter was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.

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