A big season for Jamie Drysdale was recently made a whole lot more interesting.
Already widely regarded as one of the top eligible defencemen for the 2020 NHL Draft, the Erie Otters rearguard was named to Team Canada for the World Junior Championship where he’s been thrust into the spotlight with the opportunity to showcase his abilities for the entire hockey world. It’s a rare feat for 17-year-old Canadian defencemen. The list includes just six others since 1991 with names such as Aaron Ekblad, Ryan Ellis, Jay Bouwmeester, Chris Phillips, Wade Redden, and Scott Niedermayer.
Drysdale’s National Junior Team debut follows an impressive Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August where he served as captain for the maple leaf silver medalists. The Toronto native has 31 points through 29 games with the Otters which currently puts him tied for seventh among OHL blue liners. He’ll also compete at the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on January 16 in Hamilton.
Before heading overseas, the rising star chatted with the Canadian Hockey League:
How does it feel to be named to Team Canada?
It’s an unbelievable feeling. You just dream of this growing up and the fact that it’s come true right now, I can’t be more excited to get things going.
What special skill sets do you bring to the back end?
I think my skating is probably my strongest asset right now. I think I use that in all aspects of the ice and I think that I’ll bring a quick pace and quick movements to the game.
How have you developed since your rookie season with the Otters?
I think once you get that first year under your belt I think it’s just a matter of confidence and just believing in your capabilities and what you can do. I think that’s what I’ve been doing this year, just trying to put everything together and being more confident in my game.
What is your favourite World Junior moment?
My favourite World Junior moment was probably when Jordan Eberle scored those big goals. I think that were probably my favourite just because I was at the age where this was not really in the picture, making the team, so I think it was just a lot of fun sharing that with my family and friends and just what an unbelievable experience that was.
How have you approached competing in your NHL Draft year?
Obviously it’s an exciting year. Also some pressure. You just have to try and enjoy it and do what you can because at the end of the day that’s all you can control. It will be a lot of fun in June hopefully hearing my name get called. I’m looking forward to it and hoping that I continue on with a good season.
The 5 Questions series appears every Sunday.