The Anaheim Ducks will have the future on the ice tonight when they take on the Arizona Coyotes. Jamie Drysdale is expected to make his NHL debut, in the lineup along with fellow top prospect Trevor Zegras, who will be in his 11th. The 18-year-old Drysdale has dominated the AHL so far this season, scoring ten points in 14 games. The young defenseman was the sixth overall selection in the 2020 draft and has almost limitless offensive upside.
The Ducks, who have lost four straight and scored just 67 goals in 30 games this season have nothing to lose by testing Drysdale at the NHL level, though a few games down the road they’ll have a decision to make. The team has already elected to burn the first season of Zegras three-year entry-level contract when they could have theoretically had it slide forward, keeping him in the minor leagues all season. The same would happen for Drysdale if he plays in more than seven NHL contests this season. With the OHL still hopeful that a season could begin in April, Drysdale wouldn’t be able to return to the AHL if his junior team is in session. If he shows he can compete at the highest level right away, it might not matter.
- That CHL agreement, which states that players drafted out of the WHL, OHL, or QMJHL cannot play in the AHL while the junior league is in session until they are 20 years old, will actually expire once again at the end of this season. Frank Seravalli of TSN reports today that there is a growing appetite for some sort of an exception to be included in the renegotiated deal for players like Drysdale, who have shown an obvious ability to perform at the minor professional level. Seth Jarvis and Connor Zary have already been sent back to the WHL after it started, despite strong showings in the AHL.
- That agreement won’t matter for the players named today to the 2021 Biosteel All-American Game, a showcase for the top draft-eligible players in the USNTDP and USHL. The group includes Luke Hughes, the younger brother of Quinn Hughes and Jack Hughes, and many other picks that will end up going off the board relatively early in July. The game takes place in Plymouth, Michigan on April 7.
- The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have signed undrafted Ohio State University goaltender Tommy Nappier to an unusual three-year AHL contract that will kick in right away. Nappier, 22, posted a .906 save percentage this season but had been almost unbeatable in years past. His college career ends with a .925 in 82 appearances and his professional one is just getting started.