Ranking the top 31 Prospects in the 2020 NHL Draft: 7. Jamie Drysdale

OSHAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 22: Jamie Drysdale #4 of the Erie Otters skates with the puck during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on November 22, 2019 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
OSHAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 22: Jamie Drysdale #4 of the Erie Otters skates with the puck during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on November 22, 2019 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

Coming in at 7th on our rankings, Jamie Drysdale is widely considered the top defenceman in the draft class

 Jamie Drysdale (RD), Erie (OHL)

H: 5’11” W: 170 lbs

Without a doubt the best defensive prospect in this year’s draft, Jamie Drysdale oozes mobility and skill on the back end, something teams look for in the modern-day defenceman.

A staple in the middle of the top 10 in rankings produced by scouting services, the talented defenceman is a lock for the top 10 and could even go as early as the top 5. With his great offensive instincts and smooth skating, there’s no question why many scouts are drooling over him being a future number one defenceman in the NHL.

2019-2020 Recap

2019-2020 Stats

GP: 49 G: 9 A: 38 P: 47 +/-: 9

Jamie Drysdale started the season near as good as any prospect in the draft when he played for Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup as the captain. In 5 games Drysdale was able to put up 5 assists, on the way to leading Canada to the silver medal in the tournament littered with 2020 draft prospects.

Starting off his second season with the Erie Otters organization, Drysdale was awarded the “A” for the season, impressive for a player that’s only 17-years-old.

While Drysdale didn’t light the league on fire during the 2019-20 season, he nearly eclipsed a point/game. Erie was one of the lowest-scoring teams in the OHL, but Drysdale finished 9th among defenceman at 0.96. As expected at the beginning of the season, Drysdale led all draft-eligible defenceman in the CHL in points/game, beating out players such as William Villeneuve and Jeremie Poirier.

On top of his successful season in the OHL, Drysdale was an important part of Team Canada’s gold medal-winning World Junior Championship team. As the tournament began, Drysdale was stuck as the 7th defenceman but due to his impressive play, he was promoted to taking a regular shift for the team.

Drysdale scored a crucial goal in the semi-final versus Finland to help Canada jump out to an early 3-0 lead, a lead that ended up being too much for the Fins.

Concluding the season with 3 points in 7 games, carving out a big role on a championship team as a defenceman proved how much Drysdale has aged beyond his years.



An elite-level skater, Drysdale combines exceptional elusiveness with a smooth skating stride to place himself as one of the best skaters in the whole draft. He’s not quite an “explosive” skater, Drysdale uses his skating more efficiently than most, not wasting energy and making it look as if he’s gliding at times while blowing past his opponents

While he’s not moving at a high speed during the play below, he’s able to effectively get the puck out of his zone and rush the puck up ice to create a 3 on 2 and an eventually score on the wrap-around.

Dobber Prospects had some great things to say about Drysdale’s skating:

"One thing that is often said about Drysdale is that he is an elite skater. When you watch the tape, it’s impossible not to notice his mobility in all directions. He has the escapability that teams covet in defenders, especially smaller defenders. He has the agility and edgework to create space for himself in all three zones and the puck handling to do all of it with control of the puck. His stride is technically sound and doesn’t require a lot of effort. He seems fluid and effortless as he maneuvers around the ice."

His mobility and change of direction will make him a star at the next level, a similar skater to Quinn Hughes in the way he maneuvers his way around the ice.


Far and away the best playmaking defenceman in this year’s draft, Drysdale uses his great vision to set up his teammates for high-quality scoring chances from anywhere on the ice.

From taking a quick glance at his box score stats, you can tell Drysdale relies heavily on his passing ability as he isn’t a “shoot first” player.

More from SenShot

As evidence by his impressive 71 assists in his first two OHL seasons. He’s a powerplay quarterback in the mold of present-day stars Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes, he can control the whole powerplay from his position at the top.

A certain play that has grown in popularity over the years is the shot-pass, commonly used by Erik Karlsson, the defenceman will fire a low shot with the purpose of being tipped home by his teammate in front of the net. Drysdale has mastered the craft and showed the ability throughout his great season, with this one below standing out:

Drysdale had no intention of getting that shot on the net, he was trying to place it on his forwards stick for the pretty goal on the man advantage.


Defensive Play

While Drysdale was no slouch defensively at the junior level, he will have to add some weight to his frame if he’s going to thrive as a two-way player at the NHL level. At just 170 pounds, he will struggle to box out bigger players in front of the net.

Trending. 15 Years Later: Evaluating Dany Heatley’s Impact on the Ottawa Senators. light

While he may never be relied upon to kill penalties on a consistent basis, being strong on both sides of the puck would allow his coach to play him in the mid-high 20-minute range. This aspect of his game would be more of concern immediately if he steps into the NHL next season, but as that is unlikely, another year in Erie should allow him to bulk up and transform his play away from the puck to NHL calibre.

How Does Drysdale Fit in Ottawa?

If Drysdale goes at 5 to Ottawa he would likely place himself as Ottawa‘s top defensive prospect ahead of the promising Erik Brannstrom. Playing as a right-handed defenceman is a premium in the NHL, while Ottawa has recently drafted Jacob Bernard-Docker (2018) and Lassi Thomson (2019) in the first round and both are right-handed, Ottawa is deep at the position.

While likely not stepping onto the Senators roster next season, in 2021-22 Drysdale would be expected to at least start the season on the roster. Ottawa already has their bonafide number one defenceman in Thomas Chabot, adding another defenceman with similar qualities who shoots right would offer Ottawa a lot of versatility at the top of their defence. Potentially marching out Chabot and Drysdale together on the top pairing as well as both patrolling the powerplay make Ottawa a must-watch for NHL fans. This would result in a very strong top-4 as Erik Brannstrom and one of Bernard-Docker and Thomson would work as the second pair.

If Pierre Dorion takes another defenceman in the first round, Ottawa won’t have to worry about the position for the foreseeable future.