2019-20 Team: Erie Otters (#4)
Date of Birth: Apr. 8, 2002
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 170 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 3rd (Mid-Term Rankings, NA Skaters)
- Future Considerations: 7th (Spring)
- HockeyProspect.com: 7th (January)
- Josh Bell’s Rankings: 7th (February)
- Andrew Forbes’ Top-217 Rankings: 5th (March)
- Larry Fisher’s Top-300 Rankings: 5th (March)
- McKeen’s Hockey: 6th
- ISS: 3rd (March)
- Bob McKenzie: 4th (Mid-Season)
Jamie Drysdale has had a season he won’t soon forget. It started for him at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup where he helped Team Canada win a silver medal before bowing out to Yaroslav Askarov and Team Russia in the final.
Then it was time to get ready for the new Erie Otters’ season. It was a season full of higher expectations after two straight seasons out of the OHL playoffs. But injuries have hampered the Otters all season and it eventually caught up to Drysdale in Saginaw. He took a high hit from Blade Jenkins and had to miss time. He has returned and before the hockey world came to a stop, he helped the Otters maintain a playoff spot.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
But in-between all of this, Drysdale has gone through a crazy schedule. He appeared in both games of the Canada/Russia series. He played a key role in helping Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Juniors thanks to injury while showing he belonged in the process. He also performed in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Think of the miles he’s put in this season all to get ready for the most important day of his life. When we asked him if he was tired after returning from the World Juniors, he admitted that “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t.”
That is probably the most impressive part about watching Drysdale’s season firsthand. You could tell he was tired. But he was still the best player on the ice on many nights anyway. He didn’t let that become an excuse at all during the season. He produced almost a point per game this season with nine goals and 47 points in 49 games all while playing 25-30 minutes a night on occasion.
What stands out about Drysdale? First thing that jumps out is his speed. He can recover from almost any situation by getting back on defense if the puck goes the other way. He doesn’t have the size yet, but he uses his hands and stick to disrupt his opponents. The number of turnovers he created by stick checking was absurd.
When he wasn’t frustrating opponents, he was creating offense from any zone. Whether it was the first pass out or his acceleration into the opponent’s zone, Drysdale always has offense on his mind. He’s not afraid to shoot when given the chance. But he can make plays even when there’s not much room to work with. He made the Otters dangerous on the rush.
It’s hard to find faults in Drysdale’s game as it’s a bit nitpicky. But in seeing enough of him this season, two things do stand out. He can miss the net in bunches especially on the power play. This has led to odd-man rushes the other way. He needs to get his shot on net more to create havoc around the net. He also needs to choose his battles more carefully. He tends to be aggressive and sometimes it costs him. Opponents at the next level will feast on that aggressiveness. When he’s in control and makes the right reads, he’s usually the best player on the ice.
In the end, the good far outweigh the bad. Whoever lands Drysdale will not only get an elite player, but they’ll get a great leader and someone of very high character. He is one of the genuinely nice guys in the entire OHL. He brings the total package on and off the ice.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Jamie Drysdale – NHL Draft Projection
Drysdale is the best defenseman available in this draft. The question is how high will he go. Most of the industry has him well within the top-10 with some having him as high as third overall. He checks in at fourth overall for me. A lot of this will depend on how the draft lottery shakes out. If a team is starving for a defenseman and they pick third, they’ll take a long look at Drysdale. If he starts falling past seventh, trade up if you can.
“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.” –Steve Kournianos/The Draft Analyst
“Drysdale has done nothing to discredit himself as the best defenseman in the 2020 NHL Draft since the start of the year. He’s been outstanding for a middling Erie squad putting up a point-per-game through 40 games. His skating and IQ have been on display all season long including when he emerged as one of the best defensemen on the gold medal-winning Canadian World Junior team despite being the youngest member of the blueline group and has grown his game in the defensive end of the ice. If anything, Drysdale has raised his stock since the beginning of the year and will likely continue to solidify his place as the clear-cut number one defender in this years class.” –Tony Ferreri/Dobber Prospects
- Elite skating
- Defensive recovery
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Choosing when to be aggressive.
- Shooting accuracy.
Drysdale’s potential at the next level is sky high. He can be both a shutdown defender on your top pair and your power-play quarterback for the next decade. Players like this only become available at the draft.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 10/10, Defence – 7.5/10
Drysdale has won at just about every level he’s been a part of. From 2013-18, he has won a championship in the respective league he was in. In 2018-19, he was named to the OHL First All-Rookie Team. And this season, he won a silver at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup and a gold medal at the U-20 World Junior Championships.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2022-23 season will mark nine seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager. Please take note of the updated Twitter handle: @mark_scheig.