Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Jamie Drysdale.
The fourth overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection Draft, Jamie Drysdale had a strong rookie season and was named to the OHL All-Rookie Team. He put up seven goals and 33 assists for 40 points in 63 games. Drysdale also played for Canada at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship. He put up two points in seven tournament games. He followed that up with five points in five games at Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, winning a silver medal. A natural leader, Drysdale was named captain for the Hlinka-Gretzky team.
This season, Drysdale has taken his game to another level. He scored nine goals and 38 assists for 47 points in 49 games for the Erie Otters. He also serves as an alternate captain for the team. Drysdale also played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships, putting up one goal and two assists for three points in seven games. He also brought home a gold medal from the tournament.
Jamie Drysdale Scouting Report
Right Defence — shoots Right
Born April 8th, 2002 — Toronto, Ontario
Height 5’11” — Weight 170 lbs [180 cm/77 kg]
Drysdale is one of the best skaters in this draft and this helps him to be a strong two-way defender. He has very good speed in both directions, as well as the agility and edgework to make quick pivots and transition from offence to defence and vice-versa. Drysdale’s stride is smooth and powerful, at times it looks like he is gliding above the ice. He could stand to improve his strength though. Increased lower body mass would help to improve his balance and give him more power to fight through checks and win battles on the boards and in front of the net.
Drysdale can rush the puck up the ice, making plays and setting up teammates. Drysdale can use his skating and puckhandling skills to avoid the forecheck and start the transition game. He is very strong in transition, making an excellent first pass to start the rush as well as carrying the puck up the ice himself. He finds open teammates and can set up scoring chances. Drysdale is also good at walking the line in the offensive zone and creating shooting and passing lanes for himself. He can play the role of power-play quarterback. He has excellent vision and passing skills and is able to find open teammates and create scoring chances. Drysdale controls the puck at the line and extends possession. He can also make a quick move to change the angle and create a passing lane.
Drysdale could use some work on his slap shot. While his shot is accurate and he has a knack for keeping it low and on the net, it lacks some power. His wrist shot is more effective as a weapon. Drysdale likes to sneak down to the top of the faceoff circle and lets off that wrist shot. He also keeps it low, allowing teammates to get in front of the net for screens, deflections and tip-ins.
Drysdale can also get back in his own end and his agility, smarts, and quick stick make him very difficult to beat off the rush. He is a bit undersized and will need to add muscle to his frame over the next several years. This will help him to win battles on the boards and in front of the net. He is not afraid to get involved physically but can be overmatched at times right now. His ability to read the game and cut down passing lanes and create turnovers is his best defensive skill. He combines that with the ability to quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone and transition to offence, which also helps to limit the chances against.
Projection and Comparison
Drysdale has the offensive and defensive skills to be a franchise level defender at the NHL level. However, he likely needs at least another year back in the junior ranks, getting stronger and continuing to improve his shot and defensive game. His skating and ability to read the play make him perfect for the modern NHL. In terms of a comparison, his game is reminiscent of Scott Niedermayer. It must be noted that this is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Jamie Drysdale that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Jamie Drysdale Main Photo:
OSHAWA, ON – NOVEMBER 22: Jamie Drysdale #4 of the Erie Otters skates with the puck during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on November 22, 2019, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)