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Top prospect Drysdale discusses impactful year with NHL Central Scouting

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Jamie Drysdale had a dynamic season, racking up 47 points (9-38—47) in his 49 appearances on the Erie Otters blue line.

His explosive skating ability shone through at the Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in January, demonstrated further by his top three finish in multiple categories at the on-ice testing combine.

He impressed at the World Juniors, skating away with a gold medal while proving his ability to produce and adapt in high end situations as a 17-year-old, something that stood out for NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory.

He plays a fast paced game, can play up and down the lineup and is willing to play wherever he’s needed.

“That’s the mindset you’ve got to have,” he said about his type of game earlier this year. “I’m happy playing where I’m needed.”

Drysdale has maintained his third place slot in NHL Central Scouting’s 2020 North American Draft Rankings, which were released last week. Earlier in the season, he was touted by Director of NHL Central Scouting Dann Marr as a “smart, smart, valuable player.”

Gregory, too, had words of praise for Drysdale, applauding his quickness and playmaking abilities.

“A very smart puck moving defenceman who can beat you with his vision, his hockey sense,” Gregory described him.

“[He’s] able to use that great quickness and thinking to defend and strip a puck and turn it around. Before you know it, he’s going the other way to find the open man on the attack.”

On a video call last week with NHL.com’s Mike Morreale, Drysdale discussed some of the keys to becoming an effective all-around defenceman, drawing inspiration from successful young NHL skaters like Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar.

“Just how they think the game, how they have confidence with the puck,” he listed. “Those are things I try to use as much as I can in my game. Things that will lead to success at the next level.”

A Toronto native and fan of the Leafs, Drysdale said he models his game after fellow defenceman Morgan Reilly. Like him, he can be impactful on both ends of the ice.

“He’s trusted in all zones. Definitely a player I like to watch and take anything I can to add to my game.”

Drysdale also name-dropped Makar as another skater he looks up to, with nods to his confidence and skill level at the young age of 21.

“He’s pretty hard not to like when you watch him. How he’s as young as he is in his first full season and making an impact,” he told Morreale. “Definitely a guy I like to model my game after.”

Unable to hit the ice in preparation for the NHL Draft and camps that will follow, Drysdale has turned his living room into a makeshift gym. He’s been ensuring he stays in shape and continues to shoot pucks, trying to make the best of the current situation.

“I think it’s important to do everything you can,” he said on last week’s video call. “It’s not just time off. Everyone’s trying to stay in hockey shape.”

At the top of a draft class based mostly on regular season performances, he’ll hope to ensure he makes an impact at the next level, with high hopes from Gregory who described him as “too tough to pass up if he’s available when you’re picking.”

“Jamie Drysdale is the type of player that every team is looking for,” he said.

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