If Steve Yzerman is trying to lock in the defensemen who are going to be strongholds on Detroit’s blue line for years to come, then Jamie Drysdale might indeed be a smart pick for him in this year’s draft.
The consensus best defenseman in this year’s draft class, Drysdale stands 5’11 and weighs 175 pounds. He scored nine goals and 38 assists for 47 points while playing in 49 games for the Erie Otters of the OHL.
Ranked as high as #3 on draft boards, the NHL Central Scouting department said the following about Drysdale: “Jamie is an excellent skater who can drive the play and push the pace from the back end. He’s an excellent transition player, can make tape-to-tape passes on the fly and presents a high-end offensive game and playmaking ability that make him dangerous every time he touches the puck. He makes good use of head and body fakes to evade pressure and shows the ability to lead the play up ice and gain offensive zone time for his team. He works the offensive blue line so well and his mobility puts himself in positions to get his quick-release shot off toward the net or in joining the attack as the late guy, making him a threat off the rush.”
His best assets, also according to NHL Central Scouting, are skating, hockey sense, and competitiveness. A possible NHL comparable is listed as Cale Makar, who was recently announced as the league’s rookie of the year.
“When I got the opportunity to go on the ice, it was just try to do what I can, don’t overcomplicate things, just play my game and have confidence in the plays that I’m making,” he recently told Mlive.com.
Mock drafts and talking heads have varied quite greatly on opinions for where Drysdale will be selected. One website (Draftsite) shows him sliding as far as seventh to Anaheim, while hockey writer JD Burke has heard rumblings of Los Angeles taking him with the second overall pick.
While Yzerman could be looking at a tremendous opportunity to continue rebuilding the back end of his team, my money is on Detroit passing on Drysdale (if he is even on the table at #4) in favor of one of the many scoring forwards on the table in this year’s draft.