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2020 NHL Draft: Anaheim Ducks select Jamie Drysdale with No. 6 pick

The right-handed defenseman is an elite skater and should be an impact player for years to come.

HAMILTON, ON - JANUARY 16: Jamie Drysdale #4 of Team Red skates during the 2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game against Team White at FirstOntario Centre on January 16, 2020 in Hamilton, Canada. Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Anaheim Ducks wound up with the sixth overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery. This is the highest the franchise has picked since taking Hampus Lindholm at No. 6 in 2012.

With the sixth pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Anaheim Ducks have selected defenseman Jamie Drysdale of the OHL’s Eerie Otters.

Our SB Nation NHL team had general manager Bob Murray taking Drysdale at No. 6. Here is the profile on Drysdale by Sie Morley:

Name: Jamie Drysdale
Position: Defense
Shoots: Right
DOB: April 8, 2002
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 170 lbs.
Hometown: Toronto, Onatario
Nationality: Canada
2019-20 Team: Erie Otters, OHL

Who is Jamie Drysdale?

Jamie Drysdale served as the alternate captain to the 2019-20 Erie Otters, where he was nearly a point per game player. His work with Team Canada — as a 16-year-old with the U18 team and the following year with the U20 group — has most agreeing the Drysdale is the best defender available in a deep draft year.

Drysdale is on the smaller end, standing at just 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, but it’s hardly a footnote in most scouting reports. What he’s know for is being a playmaker, being able to read opponents and make quick decisions. He’s aided by an explosive skating talent that will surely only get better as he builds muscle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player skate backwards as confidently as Drysdale.

Over two seasons and 112 OHL games, Drysdale has tallied 87 points (16 goals, 71 assists). His 47 points in 49 games in 2019-20 ranked 13th among all OHL defenders and his .96 points per game ranked 10th. He ranked third on the Otters in points, beating the next defender by 20 points. His 38 assists ranked second on the team.

Drysdale isn’t perfect, but there isn’t much that anyone can complain about in the defender’s game at this point in his development. He says he models his game after Morgan Rielly, another model of a modern defender who is able to drive play. He racks up assists with a snapshot that seems to know exactly where his teammate’s stick is waiting for the tip or deflection.

Why Drysdale?

I have no doubt that Drysdale will become the type of player that the Ducks will build their D-corps around and that is something that they so desperately need. The Ducks have two first round picks and even though the second pick is late in the round, a lot of good forwards are still going to be available.

It comes down to an organizational need and the Ducks have a bit of a luxury at sixth overall to get to question whether to take the top defensive prospect, or the sixth-best forward prospect.

Barring a player like Quinton Byfield somehow slipping through to sixth, the bottom line is that the Ducks need to start building their defense for the future and if they don’t take Jamie Drysdale at sixth, there will not be another opportunity for the Ducks to fill that gap.

Murray finally got the potential top-pairing defenseman he coveted. With Trevor Zegras already in the pipeline, the Ducks now have two bluechip prospects in the system.

What do you think of the pick?