Like Morgan Barron earlier today, who is leaving Cornell to sign with the New York Rangers and start his professional career, other NCAA players will have to find different ways to continue their hockey careers after several schools canceled the upcoming season. One of those players is Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Jack Drury—son of Ted Drury and nephew of Chris Drury—who is off to Sweden to play with the Vaxjo Lakers of the SHL for 2020-21.
The 20-year old Drury was the 42nd overall pick in 2018 and had an outstanding (albeit shortened) season this year for Harvard, scoring 39 points in 28 games. He also participated in the World Juniors for the second year in a row, representing the United States and scoring two points in five games. The young center has impressive offensive upside, plus the same responsible two-way play that his uncle was known for (Chris received Selke Trophy votes on five occasions).
Heading to Sweden will give Drury a chance to continue playing and is going to be an interesting option for many prospects affected by the current hockey climate. It could potentially mean a flood of college-aged players signing professional contracts, or perhaps deciding to return to the CHL should that league get underway on schedule. For many, professional hockey in Sweden might be too difficult, the opportunities too few. But in Drury’s case, he was likely ready for a bigger challenge after having his way with the NCAA on so many nights this season.
For Carolina, they’ll retain his draft rights for now and do not need to sign him to an entry-level contract immediately. Seeing how he does against professionals may actually give them a better idea of his readiness when the 2021-22 season comes around.