Mar 19, 2021
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
The way forward for the Anaheim Geese shone brightly in opposition to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday evening at Honda Middle.
Jamie Drysdale – the sixth total choice on the 2020 NHL Draft – scored a objective and added an help in his Nationwide Hockey League debut, changing into simply the third defenseman in league historical past to report a number of factors in his NHL debut at age 18-or-younger (Petr Svoboda of Montreal, Oct. 11, 1984 @ Buffalo & Ray Bourque of Boston, Oct. 11, 1979 @ Winnipeg).
Trevor Zegras – the ninth total choice on the 2019 NHL Draft – additionally scored his first NHL objective, changing into the third-youngest U.S.-born participant to attain a objective for Anaheim (Tenth-youngest participant in membership historical past).
The 2 rookies scored simply over two minutes aside, turning a two-goal deficit right into a tied recreation. The Geese would go on to full the come-from-behind victory, scoring a power-play objective in time beyond regulation to seize the 3-2 win. The 2 targets made Drysdale and Zegras the youngest set of teammates in NHL historical past to every rating their first NHL targets lower than 2:30 aside.
“Yeah, it is fairly humorous,” Zegras mentioned following the win. “I really did not know Jamie scored till two minutes in the past, which makes it that a lot better. Fairly humorous.”
DRYSDALE’S IMPRESSIVE NHL DEBUT
Drysdale earned his alternative after a robust begin with the San Diego Gulls, making his mark early within the American Hockey League.
The defenseman posted 4-6=10 factors with the Gulls, tied for the rookie lead in targets, assists and scoring. He grew to become the youngest Gull to attain a objective when he tallied his first skilled marker in opposition to the Bakersfield Condors on Feb. 6 and is only one of three rookies in staff historical past to earn CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month honors.
The Toronto, Ontario native first thought he may make his debut on Wednesday after practising with Anaheim.
“It was a morning apply, and I used to be speaking with among the coaches,” he defined. “I assumed I had an opportunity at getting in. (Anaheim head coach) Dallas (Eakins) referred to as me the evening earlier than the sport and mentioned, ‘You are going in tomorrow child.’ I believe it was only a actually thrilling second for me. As quickly as I obtained off the decision, I referred to as my dad and mom and allow them to know. I used to be fairly fast to inform my household and buddies due to how essential that is.”
The rookie admitted he grew extra anxious as puck drop neared.
“There have been undoubtedly nerves,” he mentioned. “It was my first recreation, plenty of nerves. However undoubtedly pleasure. It is an thrilling time for me and my household, so it was simply very nice to get on the market. I used to be joking with Z on the best way right here. I used to be simply saying that if I do not fall on my solo lap, it is a win. It was plenty of enjoyable to get that one underneath my belt, and popping out with the win on prime of it made it that a lot better.”
Drysdale obtained a shot of confidence proper earlier than the beginning, as Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf relayed a easy message to the first-year defenseman.
“I believe he simply mentioned, ‘Let’s go child,’” Drysdale mentioned. “One thing easy like that goes a good distance. It is Ryan Getzlaf saying that to you, you understand. I grew up watching him, whether or not it was right here with the Geese or on the Olympics. Standing on the blue line subsequent to a man like that’s fairly cool. One thing so simple as that offers you confidence, and everybody on the staff has been nice thus far.”
The defenseman settled in rapidly, impressing Eakins and the Geese along with his calm demeanor and easy skating.
“It was superb to me that this child has in all probability been – I do not know, has he been driving for a 12 months by himself now? Is that when you possibly can you drive by your self, at 17? – and right here he’s in an NHL lineup and he got here in like he’d been there for a really very long time,” Eakins defined. “He closed like we have seen him shut in San Diego, he moved the puck quick and laborious like we have seen, he obtained photographs by. He was a really, very assured younger man. A extremely, actually good first displaying at this degree. All of the folks at dwelling must be very, very pleased with that draft decide and the job our scouts and administration have put into that younger man.”
His two-point evening put him into spectacular firm:
The third participant in NHL historical past to report a number of factors in his NHL debut at age 18-or-younger (Petr Svoboda of Montreal, Oct. 11, 1984 @ Buffalo & Ray Bourque of Boston, Oct. 11, 1979 @ Winnipeg).
His objective marked solely the fourth time in NHL historical past an 18-year-old scored a objective in his NHL debut (Bourque within the aforementioned recreation, Scott Stevens of Washington, Oct. 6, 1982 @ New York Rangers & Jason Doig of Winnipeg, Oct. 7, 1995 vs. Dallas).
At 18 years, 344 days, Drysdale is the youngest Geese participant in 25 years and the second-youngest participant in franchise historical past to attain a objective in his NHL debut (Chad Kilger, Oct. 9, 1995 at Winnipeg; 18 years, 316 days).
Drysdale can also be the third-youngest Geese defensemen in franchise historical past to attain a objective (fourth-youngest participant total).
The youngest-ever participant in franchise historical past to report two factors in his NHL debut (1-1=2).
Drysdale actually made an impression on his veteran teammates.
“He has a pleasant manner of taking part in hockey,” goaltender Ryan Miller mentioned. “He is transferring his toes, which supplies him some separation and a while. He was near the play, in order that gave him the power to be on the defensive facet of issues, too. All in all, a superb search for him.”
ZEGRAS BREAKS THROUGH
It appears Zegras and the Arizona Coyotes will all the time share a particular hyperlink.
The Bedford, N.Y. native made his NHL debut at Gila River Enviornment in Glendale on Feb. 22, a highly-anticipated first recreation for followers of the Anaheim group. The rookie added one other milestone, tallying his first profession shootout objective within the loss.
Just some weeks later, Zegras notched one more profession milestone in opposition to the desert canines.
With the Geese trailing 2-1, Drysdale chipped the puck within the impartial zone to Troy Terry – one other former San Diego Gull – who carried the puck into the offensive zone. The wing drew the eye of each defenders, who by no means noticed Zegras streaking down the wing.
Terry floated a cross to Zegras, who collected the puck on his forehand whereas chopping throughout the crease. He held simply lengthy sufficient to pressure Arizona’s goalie, Adin Hill, to make a determined sliding push to his left, and buried his shot into the highest of the web for his first NHL objective.
“Jamie made a fantastic play, stepping up there,” Zegras defined. “I noticed Troy simply type of fell on the puck and so they gave him a bit area coming over the blue line. I simply tried to chop in behind the defenseman and make a bit transfer there. One lastly went in, which undoubtedly felt good.”
The rookie got here shut simply two nights in the past, placing the publish with an try in opposition to the Colorado Avalanche.
“Z may simply have 4 or 5 targets already,” Eakins mentioned. “That entire play was Terry, who’s a younger participant with ability, makes a talented play to a different expert participant, who makes a talented play to place it within the internet. Z has very excessive expectations for himself, which is superior, in order that one getting in is type of that aid he is on the lookout for. Hopefully it builds into one thing else.”
The debut of Drysdale – and the continued improved play of Zegras – inject greater than ability and pleasure into the Geese lineup.
“F-U-N. Enjoyable,” Eakins mentioned when requested concerning the younger gamers getting into the lineup. “That is what he introduced tonight. The blokes have been so excited that he was within the lineup. I do know he went by the rituals of the warmup right here. There was plenty of enjoyable by the night. The gamers wished him to learn out the opening lineup and never give him the heads up on it. That they had some enjoyable with him after the sport. That is what youth brings.
“It is no totally different than your youngsters. I am going dwelling; my youngsters preserve me younger. Jamie and Z and these guys, particularly Jamie tonight, the fellows have been excited for him. He introduced an entire lot of enjoyable to our dressing room, and that is essential.”