The Erie Otters have had an up and down season full of injuries to many of their best players at different times. But they may have suffered their worst injury of the season Saturday night in Saginaw.

Top prospect Jamie Drysdale took a hit from Blade Jenkins in the first period of the Spirit’s 6-3 win over the Otters. Per the Otters, Drysdale has an upper-body injury. There is no established timeframe at this time for his return but word is that Drysdale was feeling better today. The expectation is that he will miss time. However the team gave no indication that this would be a long-term injury. As well, the team didn’t specify the exact nature of the injury, so we can’t say for sure if this is a concussion.

Drysdale has been everything for the Otters this season. He’s their best defender. He’s one of their most lethal offensive threats. He runs the point on their power play. He kills penalties. His absence will leave a giant hole in the lineup that simply no one can fill given what all he brings to the table. He is a likely top-10 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

What This Means For The Otters

In terms of what this does mean for the Otters, it means their young defensemen will get important minutes in the playoff race. Brendan Kischnick, Cameron Morton and possibly Christian Kyrou will have to step in and hold their own on the bottom pair.

This injury also means the playoff race becomes even tighter than before. As of this writing, the Otters do hold the eighth playoff spot in the West but by only a point over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The Otters will have to have their entire team step up to try to make up for the absence while getting important points in the standings.

Not only is Drysdale out, draft-eligible Hayden Fowler is indefinitely suspended for a blind-side hit. We should learn his fate sometime this week. To say this is a challenging time for the Otters is an understatement. It will be very interesting to see how they come out. Chris Hartsburg’s job won’t be easy.

OHL, Erie Otters, Chris Hartsburg
Chris Hartsburg will have to help manage the Otters through injury and suspension in this playoff race. (Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

The Otters play their next two games at home. They host Flint on Friday night and Owen Sound on Saturday night. Then they have to play in Kitchener and then come home to host Barrie and Oshawa. It’s not an easy schedule.

But if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that the Otters will not rush Drysdale back. They’ll monitor this injury closely and he will return when he’s 100%. When that will be is to be determined.

When the team shares a new update, we will pass it along to you.