It’s been an attention-grabbing yr. Delayed begins. Cancelled seasons. Gamers travelling abroad for enjoying time. Worldwide tournaments cancelled. Many performed regardless of the percentages.
All of this was on high of the stress of dwelling, not to mention enjoying hockey, within the international pandemic.
However we’re right here. The opening spherical of the 2021 NHL Draft is now rapidly approaching and is about for June 23.
2021 NHL DRAFT: FCHockey’s full 300-player rating
Within the scouting world, it’s been troublesome at instances to regulate. From shedding the vast majority of in-person views at rinks to not having the ability to see some NHL Draft eligibles in any respect or solely getting a number of video games in of others. A number of different challenges pressured scouts to considerably regulate by the 2020-21 season to get a grasp on this draft class.
What provides to the uncertainty of the category, is the dearth of a clear-cut No. 1 prospect. There’s no Alexis Lafrenière or Jack Hughes. There isn’t even a Quinton Byfield or Kaapo Kakko proper behind them. As an alternative, there are roughly 5 gamers with a professional alternative to go first total, fronted by Owen Energy, and a sensible group of 10 skaters that might go throughout the high three.
FCHockey’s crew poured over the tapes this season, conversed over the takeaways, went again to the tape and mentioned some extra. After intense deliberation, right here is the last rating for this unpredictable draft and the way the top-32 form up.
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1. Owen Energy, D, College of Michigan (NCAA)
Energy is a really clever, well-rounded defender that excels in transition whether or not by a cross or his toes. His understanding of the sport and dimension make him a high prospect, with just a few minor enhancements wanted to be NHL prepared. His Energy’s efficiency with Canada on the IIHF Males’s World Championship helped to place doubts apart.
“A tower of ‘power’ from the backend that brings a blend of size, skill, and mobility to the ice on every shift. Effective at both ends of the rink [he] often separates attackers from the puck using his long reach combined with strong four-way mobility.” — Video scout Brandon Holmes
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2. Brandt Clarke, D, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Clarke is a robust offensive defenseman that oozes confidence. He excels in creativity and deception with the puck, creating house and main a transition. He’s an above-average skater, though his mechanics might want to enhance. One of the polarizing prospects, Clarke’s ceiling retains him as a high participant on this class.
“A shifty, creative and intelligent rover-style defender. He drives chances through his incredible transition skills, taking the blue line with speed and driving the puck deep into the offensive zone. Needs to improve his gap control and defensive positioning.” — Head Japanese scout Dylan Galloway
3. Luke Hughes, D, USNTDP (USHL)
Hughes is a robust, smooth-skating defenseman that performs with endurance and poise. He has glorious imaginative and prescient and a median shot. He wants to enhance his defensive engagement and total assertiveness. One of many youthful gamers within the class, Hughes’ potential is extraordinarily intriguing.
“One of the best skaters in the entire draft class, Hughes has enormous potential as a high-end play-driving defenseman. Needs to improve his effectiveness on special teams.” — Head video scout Derek Neumeier
4. Matthew Beniers, C, College of Michigan (NCAA)
Beniers is a particularly aggressive ahead with robust skating and excessive intelligence. He’s robust on the puck and strikes it very effectively, regardless of not being overly inventive on offense. Whereas the high-pace recreation works now, creating his secondary technique will probably be necessary for the following degree.
“Among the most intelligent players in this draft, Beniers is a high hockey IQ, 200-foot center that also brings a blend of mobility and skill. One of this draft’s most effective players at transitioning the puck through the neutral zone and securing zone entries.” — Holmes
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5. William Eklund, C, Djurgardens (SHL)
Eklund is a well-rounded ahead with excessive intelligence. He’s a fearless competitor at each ends of the ice and excels at discovering harmful ice. The Swedish ahead is among the most NHL-ready gamers on this class and will very effectively be the highest ahead off the board on draft day.
“One of the most interesting prospects this year. He has so many different layers on the ice and can fit into multiple roles. Eklund can be the hard-working type or be a creative player and score goals and be a focal point offensively for his team.” — Regional scout Fredrik Haak
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6. Dylan Guenther, LW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Guenther is a whole bundle. He’s a robust skater and a menace as each a playmaker and a shooter. There are enhancements to make in his play off the puck, however there are few weaknesses in his recreation that will give groups pause.
“Guenther is a high IQ player whose malleable game allows him to adapt and excel in a variety of scenarios. Excellent at playing a hard-nosed and deceptive game when called upon and can play the game a step ahead of the opposition. Upside is there to be a consistent top-six scorer who sees all situations.” — Head Western scout Justin Froese
7. Simon Edvinsson, D, Frolunda (SHL)/Vasteras (Allsvenskan)
Edvinsson is a giant defenseman that boasts a fluid skating type. He excels at shifting the puck in transition and staying calm below stress. Shifting ahead, he’ll must work on his defensive positioning and consciousness. Whereas closely questioned after his efficiency on the 2021 IIHF World Underneath-18 Championship, Edvinsson’s ceiling stays excessive and extremely coveted.
“A two-way defenseman with great offensive instincts. He is also a great skater with good mobility. His decision-making is a question mark, and he can be inconsistent at times.” — Regional scout Viktor Bergman
8. Jesper Wallstedt, G, Lulea (SHL)
Wallstedt is a technically superior, well-positioned goaltender. His consciousness of the place his internet is always is exceptional. He’s persistently calm and picked up when below stress. The Swede might enhance his athleticism and reflexes however he might be the primary goalie since Carey Worth to be drafted throughout the top-10.
“He’s a goalie with all the tools in his box. Great body size, well-positioned in the crease, excellent puck tracking, and overall good technique. Besides that, he is so calm and confident. A top goalie in a few years.” — Haak
9. Kent Johnson, LW, College of Michigan (NCAA)
Johnson is arguably the strongest puck handler on this class and an intriguing offensive menace. He’s extraordinarily inventive, mild on his toes, and has nice imaginative and prescient. Including power to his recreation will push him to a different degree. If a group is in search of a highly-skilled winger, Johnson is the reply.
“Overshadowed a bit by Power and Beniers at Michigan, Johnson is very strong at carrying the puck through all three zones and is at his best when he’s dictating the pace of the game with the puck on his stick. The puck skills he has in combination with his agility make Johnson an offensive threat every time he is on the ice.” — Video scout Curtis Schwartzkopf
10. Mason McTavish, C, Peterborough Peters (OHL)
McTavish is a mature participant that’s well-rounded with a high-end shot. He’s an above-average skater and already boasts NHL dimension and power. He might want to construct on his explosiveness and consistency however is among the extra prepared prospects on this class. Watching his recreation enhance in Switzerland and the Underneath-18s has pushed him into the top-10 dialogue.
“Solid and competitive, yet a highly-skilled power forward. He owns an accurate and powerful shot, and is capable of creating space for himself in the dangerous areas to be able to use it. Can combine size and creativity with the puck to create space for himself and teammates to be an effective playmaker as well.” — Galloway
11. Fabian Lysell, LW, Lulea (SHL)
Lysell is an offensively dynamic menace together with his glorious imaginative and prescient and consciousness. His toes and his fingers are extraordinarily fast, resulting in a extremely inventive participant. Nonetheless, his shot does want some enchancment and he’ll want so as to add power. One other polarizing prospect, Lysell has a excessive ceiling however might want to enhance his recreation on the cycle to search out success within the NHL.
“He’s a winger with great hockey IQ and skating. Lysell has impressive puck skills and is consistently creating quality opportunities for himself and his teammates. A constant threat, both with and without the puck.” — Bergman
12. Corson Ceulemans, D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
Ceulemans is a particularly inventive participant with misleading skating and spectacular puckhandling talent. He can create alternatives for himself and his teammates, however he does must work on his effort and decision-making off the puck. The dimensions and mobility that Ceulemans brings stay engaging commodities to NHL scouts.
“Ceulemans is a bit polarizing to some but there’s no denying the toolkit and IQ. A highly effective transitional defender because of his deceptive skating ability and expressive skill set. His upside is potentially one of the higher in the draft if he can become a trusted and accountable defender.” — Froese
13. Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Sillinger’s creativity is elite. His understanding of the sport, mixed together with his imaginative and prescient, permits him to be a dynamic offensive weapon. He’s a sneaky participant that may assault at any time. With enhancements to his skating mechanics and tempo of play, he needs to be a high participant from this class. Making the choice to switch from the WHL to the USHL this season paid off big for Sillinger as he tailored and excelled rapidly to the brand new league.
“He possesses one of the best shots in the draft, being able to pick his spot and beat a goalie clean. There aren’t many places in the offensive zone where he is not a scoring threat.” — Regional scout Dylan Krill
14. Chaz Lucius, C, USNTDP (USHL)
Lucius is among the greatest pure goalscorers within the draft, if not the most effective. However his playmaking has considerably improved as effectively this season, too. He might want to enhance his off-puck play and energy in his stride. Whereas he missed a big a part of the season as a consequence of damage, he impressed with the time he did have each on and off the ice.
“A knee injury derailed the first half of his season and affected his skating at first, but his elite shot, puck skills, and offensive instincts allowed him to step in without missing a beat and scored at a goal-per-game rate the rest of the way.” — Regional scout Joseph Aleong
15. Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Cossa is a tower within the internet and has the technical and athletic potential to be a star on the subsequent degree. He’s fast with robust rebound management, and nice monitoring. Cossa’s dominance over the WHL has been pleasant to observe, and groups needing to fill the goaltending pipeline needs to be ecstatic for this yr’s class.
“A huge netminder who doesn’t just rely on his size, as he also displays excellent mobility, reflexes and athleticism. Has all the tools needed to become one of the best starters in the NHL one day.” — Neumeier
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16. Isak Rosen, RW, Leksnads (SHL)
Rosen is an offensive weapon with explosion in his first steps and excessive competitiveness. He’s not afraid to get into the soiled areas regardless of his smaller body. He’ll must work on his decision-making and construct some power. Rosen has been a riser all season and his efficiency for Sweden on the Underneath-18s confirmed how far he has come this season.
“A creative winger with elite puck skills, great vision and really good skating. Rosen can create breakaway opportunities or odd-man rushes on his own. He owns a good shot too.” — Bergman
17. Aatu Raty, C, Karpat (Liiga)
Raty is a boom-or-bust prospect. His imaginative and prescient, playmaking and maneuverability with the puck stand out as strengths, however his consistency and hockey sense give pause. Coming into the yr because the projected No. 1 Raty has had fairly the autumn; if he can get again on his improvement path, he might be a wonderful worth decide down the road.
“A very hard competitor who is good at everything but lacks game-breaking talent. Raty has a high motor, fast hands and a hard accurate wrist shot of which he can get off deceptively. His fall down the draft boards this year warrants caution, which will make watching his future development very interesting.” — Video scout Sebastian Demise
18. Fyodor Svechkov, C, Ladia Togliatti (MHL)/Lada Togliatti (VHL)
Svechkov is among the greatest two-way, well-rounded forwards on this class. He’s an extremely clever participant with glorious competitiveness and imaginative and prescient. There’s not loads of flash to his recreation and his lower-body power can enhance, however he’s extraordinarily constant. Whereas there have been some questions on his offensive upside, the Underneath-18s silenced these critics.
“A natural center who plays a very advanced 200-foot game. Might not show up often in highlight reels, but is effective and reliable on every shift and in all situations.” — Neumeier
19. Logan Stankoven, RW, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Stankoven’s a high-motor participant that anticipates play extraordinarily effectively. He’s a power on the ice with the power to get into harmful areas. Gaining confidence with the puck will probably be key for him shifting ahead. Smaller forwards are likely to drop on draft day, however seeing how profitable they are often in at present’s NHL, Stankoven matches the mould of a smaller participant that may not solely make it however succeed.
“He’s an exciting player to watch both with and without the puck. Plays the game with a lot of intensity regardless of his small stature, and has perfected how to leverage his body against larger opponents. Can score goals in many different ways and has the agility to create room for himself when possessing the puck.” — Schwartzkopf
20. Matthew Coronato, LW, Chicago Metal (USHL)
Coronato is an offensive menace each time he steps onto the ice. He’s an all-situations participant that reveals robust puck talent and nice transition. He wants to enhance his explosiveness and decision-making at instances. Arguably the speak of the scouting world this season, Coronato pressured everybody to take discover this season and may be a giant riser on draft day.
“He’s one of, if not the most competitive player in this draft. Never taking his foot off the gas on any shift, he plays the game with great energy. Contributing on both sides of the puck consistently, he will be a reliable and effective player that many teams would love to have.” — Krill
21. Nikita Chibrikov, RW, SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)
Chibrikov is a formidable skater that excels within the transition recreation together with his calm demeanor. He’s a talented playmaker that has fearlessness in his recreation. He wants to enhance the consistency of his effort and assist in his personal finish. Spending some important time within the KHL this season helped to point out his transferability to the NHL.
“One of the draft’s more purely skilled players, he is incredibly dangerous on the rush and can pull off some highlight-reel plays with the puck. If he can find a way to improve his pace, intensity and consistency, watch out.” — Neumeier
22. Brennan Othmann, LW, Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Othmann is a goalscoring winger with among the best pictures within the class, but he additionally has the power to arrange his teammates. He’s a robust skater with a little bit of an edge to his recreation. Leaning into his physicality and placing in a constant effort defensively would be the subsequent steps for him. Taking part in in Switzerland this season helped to show that he’s a high OHL participant on this class.
“A very skilled agitator, Othmann plays a game that every coach loves. He is hard on the puck and competes in all three zones. An underrated playmaker with soft hands and a very quick, hard release, Othmann is a danger to score everytime he touches the puck.” — Demise
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23. Zach Dean, C, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Dean is a particularly inventive, playmaking heart that shows glorious imaginative and prescient. He’s among the best passers within the class and might maintain his personal defensively as effectively. Displaying consistency in his personal finish and driving the center of the ice are areas of enchancment. Like Lucius, Dean missed prolonged parts of the season as a consequence of damage however regarded large after getting settled in.
“An incredibly fun, flashy and talented attacker, Dean showcased amazing creativity, slick puck skills and high-end playmaking abilities. By constantly gravitating around the disc, he bets on having more puck touches to empower his quick hands and feet to create for others through traffic.” — Regional scout Andy Lehoux
24. Xavier Bourgault, C, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Bourgault is a highly-dynamic offensive participant with spectacular intelligence. He’s an above-average skater with glorious positioning and consciousness. Adapting to each scenario and enhancing his defensive engagement will probably be necessary shifting ahead. The highest of the QMJHL class is tight, however Bourgault has remained within the dialog all season.
“A skilled, intelligent and creative attacker, Bourgault owns a remarkable set of offensive tools and dual threat capabilities. He enjoys expressing his imagination with brilliant dekes and flashy moves, yet his play flows in harmony with the offence through his simplicity.” — Lehoux
25. Zachary Bolduc, C, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
Bolduc appears to be one of many higher two-way forwards on this class, displaying that he is aware of contribute offensively whereas being dependable in his personal finish. Additional improvement in his offensive recreation and total consistency will assist him to the following degree. Proper there within the dialog for the highest QMJHL participant, he appears like he would be the first off the board. There are some questions, nonetheless, round simply what he’ll be on the subsequent degree.
“A center that makes his teammates around him better. A strong skater who uses his edges well to protect the puck. Has some of the best poise in the draft and will consistently make the right play. Has top-six NHL upside if he can further develop his speed and shot.” — Demise
26. Olen Zellweger, D, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Zellweger is an offensive defender that’s an distinctive skater. He dishes the puck out extraordinarily effectively, by transition or within the offensive zone. He’ll want so as to add some power to his body to succeed on the subsequent degree, however his progress season-over-season and showcase on the world stage on the Underneath-18s has him proving his worth.
“A deceptive skater, his spatial awareness sets him apart as he is able to leverage the ice and his opponents to dictate the terms of play. Everything is methodical and on angles with him and he counteracts a lot of stature questions with his ability to step up and kill plays before they can really begin.” — Froese
27. Simon Robertsson, RW, Skelleftea J20 (J20 Nationell)/Pitea HC (HockeyEttan)
Robertsson is a extremely aggressive ahead with good dimension and power. His fearlessness in puck pursuit and excessive intelligence make him a harmful participant on the ice. He’s well-rounded, with out being elite in a single particular space. Robertsson generally is a participant to take over a play, however he also can disappear at instances so getting that consistency in his recreation will probably be essential.
“A dangerous power forward, Robertsson works hard, reads the game well, has great hands and a really good wrist shot. Decent skater too, and loves to play the game at a high pace.” — Bergman
28. Daniil Chayka, D, CSKA Moskva (KHL)
Chayka is a defensive zone specialist with a protracted attain that enables him to excel in breaking apart performs. Whereas his protection is a power, his offensive recreation is an space of focus from his playmaking to his total effort. Chayka has been a bit underwhelming this season in comparison with 2019-20, however the potential remains to be there and the rangy defender has intriguing traits.
“A big, rangy defenseman who can close gaps effortlessly. He’s a little unpolished and passive right now, but has the potential to become an all-situations top-four defender one day.” — Neumeier
29. Carson Lambos, D, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Lambos is a talented, cell defender that can be utilized in all conditions. He can play a really calm and picked up recreation however does are likely to mix into the motion at instances. There’s a stable talent base; nonetheless, in Finland this season, he didn’t proceed that improvement curve seen in 2019-20. Taking part in simply two video games within the WHL, Lambos is a little bit of a wildcard on this class.
“Lambos is a smart kid and layered player that can play in big moments or make the simple play. Was a go-to guy in Winnipeg, but didn’t see steps forward in his game and fear is he’s peaked physically.” -— Froese
30. Matthew Samoskevich, RW, Chicago Metal (USHL)
Samoskevich is a well-rounded prospect that excels with the puck on his stick. He’s a really poised participant with fast toes and fingers that performs with fearlessness. Bettering his defensive consistency and including power would be the subsequent steps. Samoskevich had a really robust season for the Metal and has confirmed to be a particularly thrilling participant.
“Very skilled forward who has great vision and a very accurate shot that he is very effective with. He is able to deke and control the puck in very tight spaces and does not need much room to create plays.” — Krill
31. Francesco Pinelli, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Pinelli is a inventive and dynamic offensive participant. His use of misleading maneuvers and his imaginative and prescient permit him to always apply stress to the opponent. He’ll must develop his processing and defensive reliability. Pinelli got here out of the gate robust this season in Slovenia however then confirmed points together with his consistency. There’s potential right here however some flags have sprouted up in his recreation.
“Pinelli has the opportunity to be a stealthy player, and he shows it often. He is always ready to engage in the play and make his mark.” — Regional scout Olivia McArter
32. Benjamin Gaudreau, G, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Gaudreau is a robust stability of athleticism and technical talent. He’s extraordinarily fluid in his internet, shifting round easily and effectively. His rebound management isn’t a weak spot, however might use an improve and he wants to enhance sealing the submit. After not enjoying all season, Gaudreau used the Underneath-18s as his 2021 draft platform and didn’t disappoint, main Canada to a gold medal and was named the event’s greatest goaltender.
“Gaudreau has always shown to be a strong, dependable goalie. He has very precise positioning and stays square to the play, tracking the puck to the best of his abilities.” — McArter
Josh Bell is a scout and the director of content material for FCHockey.