The moment the New York Rangers won the number one pick in this year’s draft, Wings’ fans were jolted from their peaceful Lafrenière-dream. It was like a dream you have the night before Christmas: eagerly looking forward to waking up, you constantly check the clock, anticipating Santa gifting you the best player in the draft. A single jet-stream shooting a lottery ball up in the air ended that dream. But that dream doesn’t have to end. This draft is deep – there’s no real consensus on draft order and the Wings have several holes to fill.

Position- Defenceman
Team – Erie Otters- OHL
Age – 18
Height – 5’11”
Weight – 170 lbs
Nation – Canada

Shoots – Right


Santa would be the first to admit that Donner is the most vocal and frankly, loudest of all his Reindeers. In hockey terms, Wings’ fans should love the noise coming from Donner-defenceman Jamie Drysdale. The top-ranked defenceman in this year’s draft averaged nearly a point-per-game for the Erie Otters. Drysdale is a smooth-skating defenceman that fits the mould that the NHL is trending towards – fast, puck-moving and intelligent. The days of Chara-like monsters on the backend are fading away and teams are moving towards defencemen that can pass tape-to-tape up the ice as fast as possible. A lack of a true slapshot and top-6 strength will likely keep Drysdale in development for a few years, but the Canadian is drawing enticing comparisons.

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button –

“A complete No. 1 defenceman who can contribute in all areas of the game. His understanding of the game is excellent and he has the skills to make positive plays. Makes the game look easy, similar to Sergei Zubov”

The Zubov comparisons are bittersweet for Wings’ fans because, in the 90s, he was the kind of defenceman you hated playing against but would love to have on your team. Zubov played over 10 years in Dallas and the Wings need a defenceman that can imprint that same legacy in Detroit. Donner-Drysdale’s stock is boosted even more by possessing a right-handed shot. This fast, puck-moving, right-handed defenceman has become a unicorn in the modern day NHL, leaving teams willing to move considerable assets for a player like this. The Wings’ front office will no doubt be in a dilemma October 6th. Tremendous talent on both ends of the draft-bench will force Yzerman and his staff to evaluate their long-term plan but their lack of a goalie and having a young, talented forward group may suggest they select a defenceman. Drysdale is far from a consolation prize and will hopefully wear the Winged Wheel for years-to-come. 

Twitter: @Jonesinthezone