2020 Chicago Blackhawks Draft Profile: Jamie Drysdale
By Dylan Terry
It’s no secret that the Chicago Blackhawks could use some help on the blue line. Jamie Drysdale, one of the top defensemen in this year’s draft class, could provide the spark that the Hawks need defensively.
In recent seasons, we’ve all seen a number of young, smaller sized defensemen taken very early in the NHL Draft. Many of these selections have flourished in the NHL during the past couple of years. Jamie Drysdale would like to add his name to that list in a few seasons, as he is currently projected as the top defensive prospect in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Weight: 170 lbs.
Current Team: Erie Otters
Drysdale has had hockey in his blood from the day he was born, as he was born in Toronto, Ontario. He spent his youth days playing for his hometown team, the Toronto Marlboros. After multiple seasons playing for the Marlboros, he then was selected 4th overall in the 2018 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection by a team that has produced a number of recent stars in the NHL, the Erie Otters.
During his first season with the Otters, he became acclimated to the OHL right away. In 63 games played, he posted a stat line of 7 goals and 33 assists for 40 points. While his +/- ratio was a question mark at a -20, he then worked on his defensive side of the game. He had an exceptional showing during his first time participating in the World Juniors Tournament. During the tournament, he had a +/- ratio of +7, while also dishing out 2 assists in 7 games played. This helped Team Canada win yet another gold medal.
In his second season with Erie, Jamie elevated his game to another level. Relying on his stellar skating ability, his lethal wrist shot, and his very high hockey IQ, he was able to muster up 9 goals and 38 assists for a whopping 47 points in only 49 games played. His +/- also improved to a +9 over the course of the season. His second trip to the World Juniors resulted in another Team Canada gold medal, as Drysdale had 1 goal and 2 assists in 7 games played during the tournament.
Only being 5’11” and weighing in at 170 pounds, it is clear that Drysdale could use some growth before the jump into NHL action. On the flip side, other smaller defensemen have been talented in the league recently. Two of this year’s Calder Candidates, Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar are both only 5’10” and 5’11” respectively.
Jamie has been compared to a number of NHL defensemen. Some comparisons he has drawn include Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty and Scott Niedermayer. All three have had success in the league, as they have 9 Stanley Cups, 4 Norris Trophies, and 11 All-Star Appearances between the three of them.
Drysdale is a very good skater, as his edgework and speed are unmatched for a defenseman. This makes him a very reliable two-way defender since he can go from the offensive zone back to his defensive zone in a blink of an eye. His on-ice vision and playmaking ability also allow him to produce very effectively on offense. While he is not projected to be a true #1 defenseman in the NHL, he still has the potential to be a very talented 1st line defenseman or a very reliable 2nd line defenseman.
Fit with Blackhawks:
If you’ve watched the Blackhawks at all over the past few seasons, it is very evident that they need all of the defensive help that they can get. Even though young guys like Adam Boqvist and Ian Mitchell are coming up in the system, Chicago could still use a reliable two-way defenseman. Boqvist is typically very offensive and is the only true first-round defenseman the Hawks have since the Henri Jokiharju–Alex Nylander trade took place last July.
Keith and Brent Seabrook are coming to the end of their careers, so the Blackhawks will need defensive help even more than they already do. Olli Maatta and Connor Murphy are both unrestricted free agents at the end of their current contracts as well. Drysdale could make the jump to the NHL right around that timeframe, if not sooner. If the Blackhawks select Jamie, it could help them save precious cap space instead of having to resign Maatta or Murphy.
Drysdale could make for a very good pairing partner with Boqvist on the first line or part of an efficient second line with Mitchell in a few seasons. The Hawks have been pretty good at selecting young defenseman in the draft throughout the past 20 years, so why wouldn’t they want to take a shot on a solid two-way guy like Drysdale?