Prospect Review: Dryden McKay

Position: G

Age: 24

Date of Birth: November 25th, 1997

Place of Birth: Downers Grove, Illinois, USA

Nation: United States of America/ Canada

Junior Teams: Green Bay Gamblers (2015-2016) Madison Capitols (2016-2018) (Both teams in the USHL)

University Team: (2018-2022) Mankato State Mavericks (NCAA)

Height: 6’0” / 183 cm

Weight: 183 lbs. / 83 kg

Catches: L

Drafted: Was not drafted, was signed from college on April 26th, 2022

            Just 17 days after the Mankato State Mavericks, unfortunately, lost in the NCAA National Championships, Dryden McKay’s life changed for the best. He signed a 2-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. This was a huge sign of relief for McKay since he had just finished his last year of eligibility in the NCAA and his options were running low. It was also a huge sigh of relief after his name had been surrounded by controversy after the NCAA National Championship, but we will get to that later. First, let’s talk about where McKay started.

            Dryden McKay started in Juniors playing 1 game with the Green Bay Gamblers at the end of the 2015-2016 season. After that, he played the next 2 seasons with the Madison Capitols in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. In 2 seasons with the Capitols, McKay played 88 games posting a 3.04 Goals Against Average, a 0.912 Save Percentage, 2 shutouts, and an overall record of 37-41-6. These numbers were good 19-year-old goalie but nothing that shocked the world. Once McKay turned 20 and decided to take his talents to the NCAA, he became a whole different beast.

            McKay played 4 seasons with the Mankato State Mavericks which is located in the southwestern part of Minnesota in the United States. By the time McKay’s senior year came around, Mankato State had become one of the top teams in the NCAA. In McKay’s 4 years he helped lead Mankato State to 2 National Championship Semifinal games (2021,2022) and 1 National Championship game in 2022 (unfortunately they fell short and lost that game). Now let’s get into his stats which are jaw-dropping. In 140 NCAA games, Dryden McKay posted a 1.46 goals-against average, a 0.932 save percentage, an NCAA Division 1 record 26 shutouts, and an overall record of 113-20-4. Read that last part again, over the course of 4 years he lost a total of 20 games. He had more shutouts in his college career than he had losses. These insane stats helped McKay win the Hobey Baker Award for the 2021-2022 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey season. The Hobey Baker award is given to the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player in the nation.

Some notable winners of this award include Cale Makar (2019), Johnny Gaudreau (2014), and Jack Eichel (2015). I could go on and list all of McKay’s awards and accolades but it would take up about 2 pages so I will include this link to his elite prospects account, and you can see them all.

            Now when a lot of Leaf fans saw this signing, a big thing they also had to hear was how he had just been suspended for 6 months due to him using banned substances. If you look at this, your automatic reaction is oh that isn’t a good look for the Maple Leafs, and to make it worse, he was facing a 4-year suspension. His suspension is clouded in misconceptions, so I am here to inform everyone about what happened. McKay was drug tested on January 23rd after he was selected as a reserve for the 2022 USA Men’s Ice Hockey Team in the Olympics. It is standard practice for all athletes in the Olympics to be drug tested so this was seen as normal. During their investigation, the USADA said they had found a supplement McKay was taking contained Ostarine, which was a banned substance. McKay came out and said that the reason this drug showed up in the test was because of an all-natural non-NSF vitamin D3 immune booster. He did this to help protect himself from COVID-19. Ostarine was not labeled as a drug that was in the immune booster so McKay assumed it would be good to take them. This reason is why the suspension was reduced from 4 years to 6 months. The suspension started on April 14th and ends October 14th. For more information about this matter, I will include this link to an article about the subject at hand.

            After all of this, you must be thinking why didn’t teams sign him right after college ended. McKay is on the smaller end of goalies that play in the NHL nowadays. He is only 6 feet tall which is very short in comparison to most goalies in the NHL. Even though he is short, he plays the net very large. The way he fits himself in the net makes him look a lot bigger than you think he is. His vision for the puck really impressed me.

Even if McKay was being screened by 3+ guys, He was always able to find the puck. Since he is on the shorter end, McKay is very agile and can move around the crease with ease. This makes for a lot of flashy plays but not only are they flashy, the work. I plan to see McKay as a prominent goalie in the AHL this year. He has been at Leafs Training camp this fall so hopefully, we can see a lot of him when his suspension is lifted, and we can watch him play in the AHL. Excited to see what this kid can bring to the NHL soon.