Earlier this week, the Ducks signed one of their first-round picks in Jacob Perreault to an entry-level deal. They’ve now done the same with their top selection, announcing the signing of defenseman Jamie Drysdale to a three-year, entry-level contract. CapFriendly reports (Twitter link) that the deal pays $925K in the NHL and $80K in the AHL (both entry-level maximums) while having an additional $850K in potential performance bonuses each year.
The 18-year-old was the sixth-overall pick last month and the second blueliner off the board after a dominant season with Erie. Drysdale hovered around the point-per-game mark for most of the year (no small feat for a draft-eligible defender) and wound up with nine goals and 38 assists in 49 games with the Otters. He also was part of Canada’s entry at the World Juniors and while he had a somewhat limited role, he still had a goal and two helpers in seven games. As things stand, he’s expected to be a key part of Canada’s entry this time around with that tournament set to run next month.
As Drysdale is ineligible to play in the AHL next season, his options will be Anaheim or Erie. There’s a good chance that he’ll get a look with Anaheim at camp but with Josh Manson and Kevin Shattenkirk already in place on the right-hand side of their back end, there may not be much of an opportunity to play impact minutes right away. Drysdale is one of a few players from this draft class that could conceivably play right away but if management deems that top minutes in Erie are better than a third-pairing role in Anaheim, he’ll return to junior. He will be subject to the entry-level slide rule which means he could normally play up to nine NHL games before his contract officially begins but that number could be pro-rated based on the length of the shortened schedule.