Ramblings: Defense Prospects, Virtanen, Gallagher, Hart Trophy Finalists (July 22)

Cam Robinson

2020-07-21

Today, I'll keep to my niche and focus on a few youngsters for those in the keeper/dynasty setup. This week lets talk blueliners. 

First up,  Jamie Drysdale

In recent weeks and months, the notion that Drysdale was far and away the top defender in a lite defenseman crop has slowly dissipated. USNTDP standout, Jake Sanderson has closed the gap precipitously. On some boards, overtaking the OHL standout. However, when it comes to points-only setups, it remains no contest.

A few important notes about Drysdale. The 5'11 170lbs right-side defender is on the younger side for this crop. Physically, he has a good deal left to gain before finding his NHL body and this has led to a few easily-sighted issues in his game.

1) he can be physically moved too easily

2) his shot lacks power and volume

This isn't a player who will ever play a 'hard' style. He'll make mistakes and cough the puck up while trying to do too much. And we'll take every minute of it for the offensive upside that tracks parallel.

What makes Drysdale so special is his skating ability. Frankly, it's gorgeous. It's that fluid, explosive style that we've begun to see pop up in young, impact defenders like Quinn Hughes, Miro Heiskanen and Adam Boqvist. He uses that weapon to skate the puck out of trouble and transition quickly.

I've been pretty steadfast in my belief that you don't reach for defense prospects in *most* leagues. Some demand it when you're starting six blueliners in a deep setup. But this draft class especially demands a focus on the forwards at the top of the board. They're worth it. This is why Drysdale is #7 on my real-life board, but I probably don't take him before 10 in a purely 2020 based draft. 

That said, if Drysdale can land in the right situation – IE easy access to PP1 rights within 2-3 years, and he can unlock the weapons at his disposal, he could conceivably be a player who flirts with 60 points on the backend.