Written by: DSN Special Contributor, Paul Shabi
Over the years, the Detroit Red Wings have seen their fair share of great defensemen during their two and a half decades of success in the NHL. Brian Rafalski, Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, and Brad Stuart to name a few.
As the Wings have declined in performance, so has their defensive depth. Starting with Kronwall retiring last year, and veteran Mike Green, who retired prior to the NHL’s Return to Play program. Despite all of this, the Wings have managed to find some small diamonds in the rough: Trading Nick Jensen 2 years ago for right-handed defenseman Madison Bowey (the type of player they needed), and calling up defenseman Gustav Lindstrom from the Griffins last season.
As the Stanley Cup Finals are now in the books, we are not too far away from the NHL Draft, which will take place on October 6-7th, where the Red Wings are picking 4th in the opening round. There are many questions as to what the Wings need to address, mainly regarding the depth of their roster. With the plethora of prospects in this year’s draft, the Wings have quite a few options they can go with to tailor their needs, and one of those would be defensive depth.
One of the best defensemen in the draft is Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters. Given their history of drafting elite players, especially defensemen; Drysdale would be a prime fit for a rebuilding team like Detroit.
Drysdale is a super aggressive defender who goes into attacking the puck carriers bent on making the opponents look silly to venture his side of the ice to enter, as well as the ability to use his lower body to skate backward and forward like those at the NHL level. As aggressive as he is on defense, he’s a pinpoint passes who utilizes his teammates and uses his four direction feet along with skillful hands to bring concern into the opposition. Detroit’s special teams have been ranked no higher than 25th in the last 4 seasons, so having a gifted player who can bring both sides of the game to a young team will feed off many of their existing younger players.
When Drysdale has the puck, he can make passes to every teammate on the ice, choosing the most available player to get a shot off. It’s been no surprise that he’s been described as someone who can move his way around the ice so well, and at different speeds. As a bonus, he can rifle shots from far out the ice, looking for teammates to score on deflections and rebounds on any given situation.
Overall, if you’re looking for another young player to add to the defensive depth charts, and someone who can bring his best both ends of the ice game in and game out, don’t be surprised to see Jamie Drysdale in the Winged Wheel come draft day in October.