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NHL Draft: Ducks First Round Recap
By Thomas Harrington
As expected, Alexis Lafreniere went first overall to the New York Rangers, while Los Angeles took Quinton Byfield second overall, and Ottawa took Tim Stutzle third overall. Detroit took Lucas Raymond, one of the players that was on Anaheim’s radar, at fourth. Ottawa’s pick of Jake Sanderson at fifth was the first real surprise.
The talent level in the top 10 picks is close; Marco Rossi and Cole Perfetti ended up going ninth and 10th overall, but either could have been picked in the top five. The first goaltender selected was Yaroslav Askarov, who went just outside of the top 10 when Nashville took him 11th overall.
The Anaheim Ducks started the draft with two first-round picks, 6th overall and 27th overall. With those two picks, they selected defenseman Jamie Drysdale and right-winger Jacob Perreault. Drysdale was one of three players whom I thought Anaheim was likely to take. He’s a highly-skilled, right-handed defenseman. If he can turn into a top-pairing player, Drysdale is a great pick. The last time the Ducks had the sixth overall pick, they selected Hampus Lindholm and he’s worked out pretty well. Perreault is a shooter but does need to work on his overall consistency. Him falling to the Ducks at 27th overall could end up becoming a huge break.
6th Pick – Jamie Drysdale
Drysdale has played for the Erie Otters of the OHL for the last two seasons. He’s a fantastic skater and he’s more of a playmaker than a shooter. In 49 games this past season Drysdale scored nine goals and 47 points. His 38 assists were second on the team, his 47 points were third, and his 136 shots were fourth, which are spectacular numbers for a defenseman. Drysdale was particularly lethal on the pp, as he was tied for the team lead with 19 powerplay assists and his 22 powerplay points were second. Drysdale was named an OHL First Team All-Star after the OHL season ended.
On the international stage, he played for Team Canada at the World Juniors last year, and scored a goal and three points in seven games, helping Canada win Gold. Drysdale isn’t the most physical player, but he’s a smart player and uses his skating ability and stickwork to be an effective defender. He’s the future powerplay quarterback that Anaheim desperately needs.
Cam Fowler was the last Anaheim draft pick to go from the draft directly to the NHL and spend the entire season in Anaheim. If this were a normal year, I wouldn’t expect Drysdale to spend the year in the NHL. Maybe he gets a few NHL games to give him some experience, but he’d then be sent back to Erie. However, given the uncertainty around the NHL, AHL, and junior hockey, there’s a chance that the Ducks could decide to keep him up in Anaheim. Also, Anaheim doesn’t have an elite right-handed shot on their blueline, and that alone could give him a chance to suit up for some NHL games. I still think he’s likely junior bound, but it wouldn’t shock me to see him in a Ducks uniform.
27th Pick – Jacob Perreault
Perreault has played for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL for the last two seasons, scoring 30 or more goals both years. This past season, he played in 57 games and scored 39 goals and 70 points. In Perreault’s rookie season, he was named to the OHL First All-Rookie Team and was the fifth 16-year-old in the OHL to hit the 30 goal mark since the 2009-2010 season. Perreault is a sniper. His shot is the best attribute of his game. His 39 goals led Sarnia and his 70 points were second.
Similar to Drysdale, Perreault does some of his best work on the powerplay, scoring 15 powerplay goals and 29 powerplay points, both of which led Sarnia. He was tied for 10th in the OHL in goal scoring with top 10 pick Marco Rossi, and he was tied for fifth in powerplay goals in the OHL. With Troy Terry graduated from the prospect ranks, Anaheim desperately needed a top right-wing prospect, and Perreault should fit the bill.
Similar to last year’s second first-round pick Brayden Tracey, Perreault will probably spend the next two years in juniors before turning pro. Depending on how he develops, he might get some time in San Diego, or he might get a shot in Anaheim immediately.
I had thought that the Ducks would pick a winger and a defenseman. Well, I was right about the two positions, just wrong about the order. Drysdale has the potential to become a top-pairing player and put up a ton of points on the powerplay. Perreault has the potential to be Anaheim’s next great sniper. Depending on how things develop over the next few years, he could be a fun player to put next to Trevor Zegras in the future.
One thing the Ducks did today was improve their future powerplay, as both Drysdale and Perreault are powerplay specialists. The Ducks have five more picks left in the draft: 36th overall, 67th overall, 104th overall, 129th overall, and 160th overall. With those five picks, I’d expect the Ducks to take another defenseman and probably a center, but I also think they will potentially take at least two more wingers. The first round is over, and while these two players probably won’t make Anaheim a better team this coming season, I do hope and expect big things from them in the years to come.
Want to hear more draft discussion from Thomas?
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October 6th, 2020