Weight: 175 pounds
Date of birth: April 8, 2002
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 1, 4th overall, 2018 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings
|A Prospect||A Prospect||3 N.A.||3 N.A.|
Erie Otters’ defenceman Jamie Drysdale Captained the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midgets AAA squad during the 2017-2018 season. He scored 8 goals and added 42 assists in 57 games and helped lead the Marlboros to the GTMMHL Championship and was named the GTHL Player of the Year.
Drysdale had a superb OHL Cup with a goal and 8 helpers in 6 games and is 7th among defencemen all-time in points at the tournament despite having played the fewest games. In comparison, Mitch Maunu led all defencemen in all-time scoring at the OHL Cup with 4 goals and 8 assists, but in 16 games.
Winning is nothing new for Drysdale as he has won at just about every level from GTMPHL in 2013-2014 to World Junior Championship gold in 2020.
The Otters selected Drysdale 4th overall at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection behind Quinton Byfield (Sudbury) Evan Vierling (Flint) and Will Cuylle (Peterborough). Here’s what OHL Central Scouting had to say at the time:
Jamie is one of the elite defencemen in this year’s Priority Selection. He is an elite skater that moves effortlessly around the ice and looks like he could skate all day long. He has excellent edge work, an explosive 10-foot game and has game changing speed. He is an offensive minded defender that has great puck skills and can do everything at full speed. Jamie is very dynamic on the offensive blue line and is hard to handle because of his mobility, puck skills and decision making.
Drysdale broke onto the OHL for the 2018-2019 season and appeared in 63 games finishing 21st among OHL blue liners with 40 points on 7 goals and 33 assists. More importantly, he finished 8th among all rookies in points. If there was any proof necessary that he could run the powerplay, he led all rookies in powerplay helpers. The OHL named him to the First All-Rookie Team.
Drysdale also represented Canada internationally during the 2018-2019 season. He captained Team Canada Black at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 (4 assists in 5 games) and at the World Junior Championship Under-18 (2 assists in 7 games).
The 2019-2020 season began with Drysdale once again captaining Team Canada, this time at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He had 5 helpers in 5 games as Canada captured Silver.
This season saw Drysdale appear in just 49 games, but he still managed to put up 9 goals and 38 assists to lead all draft eligible blueliners with 47 points. That was still good for 13th among all defencemen in the OHL.
As talented as Drysdale is, the World Junior Championships was the proof in the pudding. As the youngest defender at just 17 for Team Canada, and one of the youngest in the tournament, it was obvious he could play with and against players that were older than he. He scored once and assisted on two others in 7 games and helped win Gold for the Canadians.
Unquestionably, Drysdale is the top defender from the OHL draft class. And for most of the year, he was the top defenceman available from around the world but by the time everyone had completed their rankings, Drysdale was being pushed by Jake Sanderson of the US National Team Development Program. But they are different players and it’s going to come down to preference when an NHL team needs to call one of their names.
Drysdale truly is an elite skater. He has top notch speed in both first strides and top end. It’s hard to find a defender with better mobility. His edgework is elite, turns from forward skating to backward skating without missing a beat and watching him do crossovers is a thrill. I often joke that if he wasn’t a hockey player, he could be a figure skater.
But it doesn’t end with skating for Drysdale. His hockey IQ is also at an elite level. The speed at which he processes the game is astounding really. From the defensive zone, he plays with ice in his veins and is able to make a quick decision on the best play – whether to skate the puck out or to make a perfect pass to clear the zone, all while under forechecking pressure. Offensively, he commands the blueline and with his superb vision and playmaking abilities, he is a threat to create offence. Give him the extra space on the powerplay, and you’d better know exactly where he is at all times.
Drysdale’s shot is something that could be worked on, and maybe it can get heavier as he adds some muscle to his frame. But what he does do is almost always get it through to the goaltender.
Most people feel that Drysdale needs to improve defensively. I have said it many times before, you can say that about almost all defenders at this stage of their careers. But Drysdale’s skating and mobility allows him to keep good gap control and stay with attackers and he tries to use that to his advantage by keeping opponents to the outside. He also has a very active stick and with his gap control, uses that to his advantage to “swipe” pucks away.
Drysdale is trending in the right direction and is only going to get better. I suspect he is going to have an immediate impact in the NHL (when he gets there) similar to that of Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche.
OHL Writers · Brock Otten talks Quinton Byfield and the 2020 NHL Draft