As part of our Road to the Draft content series, NewJerseyDevils.com will be profiling the top North American and European Skaters eligible for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft. This will allow Devils and hockey fans at large to familiarize themselves with the next class of NHL talent. We now take a look at Erie defender Jamie Drysdale.
WEIGHT: 170 lbs
DRAFT YEAR PRODUCTION: 49 GP, 9 G, 38 A, 47 P
WHAT'S THE BUZZ
"Jamie Drysdale is the kind of player that every team is looking for, very smart puck-moving defenseman who can beat you with his vision, beat you with his hockey sense, able to use that great quickness and thinking to defense and strip a puck and turn it around and before you know it it's going the other way."
- NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory
CUT TO THE CHASE
If there's one area of Drysdale's game you hear about most, it's his skating ability. His stride, his agility, and edgework make him one of the top-ranked defensemen in this upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft. This past season with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, Drysdale wore the 'A' on his jersey, in a season where he contributed 47 points in 49 games. Often remarked, Drysdale's skating coupled with his first-rate decision-making ability, will make him a valuable asset to any team.
Drysdale is ranked the No. 3 North American skater in the final rankings put out by Central Scouting. He is listed as the top North American defender. His 47 points with Erie this season earned him a spot as an OHL First-Team All-Star. Of his 47 points, 22 were scored on the man-advantage, capable of being a difference-maker on the power play, something pundits believe he'll be able to do in the NHL.
During the 2019-20 season, not only did he play for the Otters, but Drysdale also represented Canada on two separate occasions. The 18-year-old captained Team Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and later won a gold medal at the World Junior Championship.
The World Juniors was a unique opportunity for Drysdale. He entered the tournament as the team's seventh defensemen, but throughout the short tournament kept raising the level of his play. In just seven games, Drysdale moved from the seventh defenseman to a top pairing d-man in the gold medal game. At 17 years old, he was the only 2020 draft-eligible defenseman on Team Canada's roster, he also became just the seventh 17-year-old defenseman to play for Team Canada at the World Juniors since 1991.
Drysdale's north-south play, elite skating, and decision making make him a perfect mold for the 'new-age' NHL defenseman. He'll fit well with a team that doesn't require his services right away, some further seasoning in the OHL will greatly benefit the young man who will eventually be a difference-maker at the NHL level.
DID YOU KNOW?
Drysdale wears number 4 on the back of his jersey. It's a number he's been wearing since he first started playing hockey, his brother also wore the number when he played.
The number choice is credited to Drysdale's dad, whose favorite player was Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins.