The Flyers could use what Drysdale brings to the table. At his best, his skating can propel the offense at 5-on-5 and on the power play. In seven games since the holiday break, Philadelphia is 2-3-2, averaging 2.29 goals per game and shooting 11.5 percent on the power play.
“He has a tremendous amount of skill and is a really good skater,” said Travis Sanheim, who will likely play on the left side of the top defensive pairing with Drysdale against Montreal. “He’s looking forward to playing with him, working with him and helping each other.”
The 21-year-old right-handed shot, who was selected by the Ducks with the sixth pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, had five points (one goal, four assists) in 10 games, but missed 29 games last season with a lower-body injury. He also missed all but eight games due to a shoulder injury.
“It’s good to play,” Drysdale said. “I’m focused on making sure I’m ready for the game. Everything feels good.”
The big changes will come on the defensive side. The Flyers played a zone defense and the Ducks played man-to-man. Coach John Tortorella said assistant Brad Shaw, who oversees defensemen and penalty killing, will be responsible for getting Drysdale back on track.
“We’re going to teach him our game,” Tortorella said. “There’s definitely a difference, but I don’t think he’s going to wrap his head around it and say, ‘Oh, I’ve never done that before, I don’t know if I can do it.’ It’s going to be an easy transition for him. It will be.
“The biggest thing is he can skate. He can get to the area and that’s huge in transition. I think zone coverage just transitions into offense quickly. That’s what our I think it will really help his game in understanding how to play, go offensively.”
The Flyers are equally happy to acquire someone of high character who wants to stay in Philadelphia. General manager Daniel Briere said Gauthier, the No. 5 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, told him he didn’t want to play for the team.
”[Drysdale] He’s a quiet guy, a little soft-spoken, but he’s got a great character and I know everyone here is going to like him,” York said.
Tortorella wouldn’t say what Wednesday’s lineup would be, but he said playing seven defensemen for a while could be an option Monday. Drysdale, Sanheim and York will be joined by Sean Walker, Nick Seeler, Rasmus Ristolainen and Egor Zamula, with Marc Staal likely also playing.
“This is what happens when we’re in the process of building a team and we actually sign a contract where no one leaves our team, so we have to understand that,” Tortorella said. Told. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll see tomorrow night.”
Drysdale is ready to get back to playing hockey.
“I’m hoping to get a few games under my belt, get used to the team, the players, the coaching staff, the system and go from there,” he said.