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Graduated Prospect: Jamie Drysdale
By Thomas Harrington
Anaheim selected Jamie Drsydale sixth overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He split time between the NHL and AHL the following year, and became a full time NHL player this past season.
Drysdale played in 81 games and scored four goals and 32 points. The 81 games was second on the team behind only Kevin Shattenkirk. His 28 assists were fifth among all NHL rookies, while his 32 points were second among rookie defensemen. Only Calder winner Moritz Seider finished with more points.
In franchise history, only Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin had more points as rookie defensemen, while only Trevor Zegras had more assists as a rookie with 38. He saw very little time on the team’s penalty kill unit, but he averaged 2:04 of ice-time per game on the powerplay, second to only Fowler among defensemen on Anaheim. Drysdale had five multi-point games during the season. Drysdale was a healthy scratch one time this season. Dallas Eakins decided to give him a night off in March against New Jersey. He was back the next night against the Islanders and had an assist.
Drysdale met my expectations from a year ago. First, I wanted him to play in as many games as possible. Playing in all but one game certainly satisfied that expectation. Second, I wanted his defensive game to improve as the season went along. While he struggled at times, I do think that Drsydale got better as the season went on. He still has a ways to go before he’s going to see time on the penalty kill or late in a game when protecting a lead, but he made strides in that direction this year. Finally, I wanted him to put up some points on the powerplay. While he surprisingly didn’t score a powerplay goal, he more than met my expectations for him on the powerplay. Drysdale recorded 12 powerplay assists, tying him with Fowler for second on the team, and his 12 powerplay points were fifth. Among all rookies he was 12th in powerplay scoring, and third among rookie defensemen.
This coming season, Drysdale should be a fixture in Anaheim’s top four. While he still has room to grow and improve his game, he showed last season that he’s an NHL defenseman who can put some points on the board. With his rookie season behind him, he’ll likely shoulder more minutes and could see significantly more time on the team’s penalty kill unit. With Hampus Lindholm gone, it will be interesting to see who he lines up with next season. He played with both Fowler and Urho Vaakanainen to finish out the year. He could play with either again, or maybe see time with Simon Benoit or Josh Mahura, or maybe the Ducks will bring in someone via free agency or trade this summer. The Ducks have a number of other defensive prospects, but I don’t believe any of them will be ready for top four duty with the team this season.
Drysdale has one year left on his entry-level contract and he’ll be a restricted free agent next summer. The Ducks can sign him to an extension as early as July 13th, when free agency begins. Personally, I’d be very comfortable if the Ducks signed him to an extension this summer. While he doesn’t deserve the type of deal Cale Makar got (a six-year deal worth $54 million), I could see him getting a five- or six-year deal and something in the $25 to $30 million range, or maybe even more. However, I think it’s more important to get Zegras extended this summer than Drysdale. Regardless of when he’s signed, I fully expect him to be a part of Anaheim’s defense for the foreseeable future.
With the graduated prospects complete, it’s time to start the prospect updates. First up will be Benoit-Olivier Groulx.
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June 30th, 2022