Should Jamie Drysdale still be available at 6th overall, the Anaheim Ducks should avoid drafting him.
In just a few short months, Anaheim Ducks General Manager, Bob Murray, will step up to the podium at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and select what could potentially be another franchise superstar with their 6th overall pick. There are several players he should consider adding to his arsenal alongside the apple of his eye, Trevor Zegras. However, Jamie Drysdale should not be that player.
Drysdale is without a doubt the top defensive prospect in this year’s draft. He will be the first defenseman selected sans another GM pull a move like Steve Yzerman did last year. Granted, my disinterest in the young Toronto Native is not a knock against his incredible talent. However, his skill set may be better suited for another team.
The consensus has Drysdale ranked between 3rd-7th overall, putting him well within reach of the Anaheim Ducks 6th overall pick. Several mock drafts have even suggested Bob Murray select the talented right-handed defenseman.
His dynamic two way-game, powerful skating, and aggression on the ice make him a tantalizing prospect for GMBM. He has been compared to players like LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and even the highly touted Cale Makar in Colorado. There is no denying that the Anaheim Ducks could use someone like him on their blueline. Should Murray pull the trigger, if Drysdale is still available, no tears should be shed.
The Ducks Defense is in a Better Place than their Forward Group
Nevertheless, how does this solve the Anaheim Ducks’ current issues? Yes, their defense has the tendency to be very inconsistent, especially under Dallas Eakins‘ system (if that’s what you want to call it). But, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson (should he not be traded), and Hampus Lindholm still have a few years of life left in them.
As Ben Thomasian so graciously stated in “Rebuilding the Anaheim Ducks with Home-Grown Parts”:
"“It should be noted here, before we go too deep down that rabbit hole, that the defensive group is in a better place than the forward group in terms of age and potential growth. As of the final regular-season game this year, the Anaheim Ducks blue line is the 2nd youngest in the league.”"
While the 2nd youngest may not mean the 2nd most talented blueline in the league (and they aren’t by any stretch of the imagination), the Ducks still have a Top 4 they can manage with, as well as other pieces like Brendan Guhle and Josh Mahura. The Ducks also have four defensive prospects they’ve drafted in the last two years who’s NHL potential is still quite unknown.
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None of them come close to comparing to Drysdale, but the current state of the Anaheim Ducks would suggest that the best course of action is to draft a forward with their 6th overall pick. Players like Marco Rossi, Anton Lundell, and Alex Holtz are just three players that fit the team’s current needs.
Getting Priorities Straight
The Anaheim Ducks have a plethora of bottom and middle six talents. Yet, on the fateful day when Ryan Getzlaf hangs up his skates, that leaves Trevor Zegras alone at the top. Granted, players like Rickard Rakell and possibly one of Jakob Silfverberg or Adam Henrique will still be around to fill those roles. Nevertheless, none of them have proven to be a 40+ goal scorer.
As cliche as it sounds, you cannot win games without scoring goals, and the Anaheim Ducks pathetic 182 goals for (with the league average at 208) proves that they cannot score goals on a consistent basis. It’s an issue Murray needs to address before he even begins to fix his blueline.
Again, fans have Zegras to look forward to, but outside of him, who else? By a stroke of complete luck, Murray was able to add him to the Ducks arsenal, and he needs another player in the same vein as young Zegras. So, with two first-round picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, Bob Murray needs to get his priorities straight.
Jamie Drysdale may be the next big thing on the blueline, but he isn’t a fit for the Anaheim Ducks. If Murray is so worried about his defensive prospects, while the pick accrued in the Ondrej Kase trade may be low, he still has the opportunity to select a defenseman in the first round or the early part of the second.
The Anaheim Ducks aren’t projected to look any better next year, which gives them another shot a high draft pick in 2021. So, there’s also hope that a superstar defenseman may arise from the 2021 draft class. All this to say, the Anaheim Ducks can’t afford to draft Drysdale if Bob Murray is looking to set his rebuild in motion. While he would be an incredible piece to add to our inventory, it would be, in my opinion, better for Bob Murray to set his sights elsewhere.
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