Raw Grade: D+
Eakins Adjusted Bell-Curve Grade: A-
I wrote a short piece on Drysdale a little while back that suggested he may have been struggling somewhat in his first NHL season. Now that the season has washed up and been completed, in order to grade him adequately, it’s probably worth considering where he sits versus other rookie defencemen.
"“May as well unleash on Quinn Hughes lite or whatever that bland punching bag the Ducks drafted is called.” – Me in our writers slack when told I was grading the blueliners."
Over the past 3 seasons, there have been 93 blueliners to make their debut in the NHL, and 71 of those players have played at least 50 minutes of NHL hockey. Of that cohort of 71, Jamie Drysdale ranks 64th for shot attempts against, 66th for shots against, 68th for scoring chances against, 69th for high danger chances against, and 70th for expected goals against. That is to say that he has been uniquely poor compared to other rookie defensemen over the past few seasons on the defensive side of the ledger.
However, offense is Drysdales calling card so it’s worth saving the best for last. Among that 71-player cohort, Drysdale ranks 55th for on-ice shot attempts, 52nd for shots on net, 54th for on-ice scoring chances, 44th for high-danger chances, and 52nd for expected goals scored. Of course, that is purely on-ice results. As an individual, Drysdale ranked 57th for shots, 54th for expected goals, 39th for shot attempts, 66th for scoring chances, and equal last for high-danger chances (he didn’t create any).
Given the above, I think it’s fair to say that Drysdale’s answers to each question were largely incorrect. However, given his youth and potential upside, that he was in Dallas Eakins system of hockey, that he was only injured once in his rookie season despite being somewhat undersized, and that he somehow managed to get Anaheim Ducks fans interested in a pretty underwhelming year of hockey, I think he can be given a few additional marks for his working out.
I’ll be looking for him to improve dramatically on the ice (and during his interviews) in his sophomore season, yet I’m truly looking forward to seeing what he can do under the tutelage of a coach who isn’t one of the worst of his (any NHL coach in history) peer group.