While the Anaheim Ducks added two key right-handed defensemen in the offseason, drafting Jamie Drysdale and then signing Kevin Shattenkirk, one other prospect to keep an eye on is Hunter Drew.
A sixth-round pick in 2018, Drew played his first year of professional hockey last season, spending the majority of the year in the AHL. With San Diego, Drew had seven points in 29 games and he also managed four points in five ECHL games with Tulsa. This year, however, Drew looks to have possibly taken a step in his development.
Drew, who’s been loaned to play in Slovakia’s highest league, has five goals and 10 points in his first nine games of the season and more notably, nine points in six games after nearly a month-long stoppage in play for his team. Those stats have him leading his team in both goals and points and also ranked first in the league in goals by a defenseman and second in the league in points by a defenseman.
It’s worth noting that Drew did have one huge game that contributed to those numbers, where he scored four goals and five points.
That said, even without that game, Drew still has four points in five games in November.
For reference, Zdeno Chara spent a quick run of games in the Slovakian league as a 24-year-old and had four points in eight games. Andrej Meszaros, who was consistently good for about 35 points per season over his NHL career, had six points in 44 games in the league as an 18-year-old and 31 points in 48 games last season at 34 years old. As a final comparison, in Erik Cernak’s draft year, Cernak had 13 points in 43 games while playing in the league.
These aren’t great examples, based on the different age range or small sample sizes for these comparables. However, it should show that Drew averaging more than a point per game in Slovakia’s top league is quite impressive.
It’s still very early in the year and this isn’t much to go off of, but at the very least, it’s a positive sign for Drew’s development. We’ll see if this level of production can continue once Drew is back in North America.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Do you think Hunter Drew will earn a spot with the Ducks at some point?