Well folks, it's the
When is it taking place and where can I watch it?
The 2021 NHL Draft is being held roughly a month later this year due to the delayed start to the season and will once again be over Zoom. The first round takes place on Friday, July 23, 2021 and rounds 2-7 take place the following day Saturday, July 24, 2021. It will be aired on Sportsnet in Canada. It is widely expected that ESPN will air the draft as part of its new NHL TV deal, but the league has not officially announced the channels or timing.
Who's eligible this year?
Ice hockey players born between January 1, 2001, and September 15, 2003,* are eligible for selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Additionally, un-drafted, non-North American players born in 2000 are eligible for the draft; and those players who were drafted in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, but not signed by an NHL team and who were born after June 30, 2001, are also eligible to re-enter the draft.
*For context: Shake Ya Tail Feather by Nellie and P. Diddy was the #1 single in the world on this date
Who are the top prospects?
In short: no one but here's some of the highest ranked guys. It's a bad year with no standout or even consensus #1. This is in large part due to the fact that a lot of top prospects were forced to play limited minutes in professional leagues overseas as the CHL seasons were either very short (QMJHL and WHL) or did not happen at all (OHL).
Owen Power - LD - 6'5" 215lbs - Shoots Left
Matthew Beniers - C - 6'1" 185lbs - Shoots Left
(Also a nerd)
Pronounced "Bin-ears," Matty Beniers was a teammate of Owen Power this year and is generally regarded as the best forward available. He's an up tempo, two way guy that has (not unfairly perhaps) been compared to UND product Jonanthan Toews in his two-way ability. He's not a flashy player, but he's always on the move and loves to have the puck on his stick. He'll relentlessly hassle guys on the backcheck and has the dexterity and stick lifting ability to steal the puck and quickly turn the play in the opposite direction. He'd probably benefit from being a better distributor and carrying the puck a lot less in the pros, but he's one of the few guys in this draft that could step into an NHL lineup next next season given his 2002 birth year and polished play. It's unfair to expect any dynamite offensive seasons from him, but it's safe to assume he'll top out somewhere in the Ryan O'Reilly/Derick Brassard range.
Brandt Clarke - RD - 6'1" 180lbs - Shoots Right
A smooth skating right shooting defender, Clarke spent the year in Slovakia due to the OHL not holding a season and acquitted himself very well against professionals. His strength is first and foremost his skating, especially off the rush. He's a quick defender with an all out offensive mindset who can pivot and sidestep equally well forwards and backwards. He loves to join the rush and step in from the point, and in the NHL will likely end up a powerplay specialist. He has a good shot and is a slick passer who can run the cycle from the blueline or down low because he loves to play in front of the net in the attacking zone and sorta forgets to get back in position. He's basically a fourth forward. Defensively... well he's never going to be a guy you rely on at any level. He's a wind 'em up and let him go sorta guy while you let a partner cover for the inevitable mistakes and turnovers. Think Tyson Barrie or a (hopefully) less racist Tony DeAngelo.
Luke Hughes - LD - 6'2" 180lbs - Shoots Left
(The one on the right)
The third and final Hughes brother is very much cut from the same cloth as his sibling, but with the added benefit of being 6" taller. Like Jack and Quinn, he was coached by his mother into being a world class skater. Like his brothers, he's a smooth and effortless skater with a penchant for quick pivots and spins away from forecheckers to find open space. He walks the line well and relies on being elusive and quick thinking over any sort of exemplary physical attributes. Unlike Quinn, he's less inclined to lead the rush or carry the puck below the goal line. He takes a safer mindset, but is certainly no slouch in the offensive zone. He's a work in progress and committed to Michigan next year, so he's likely 2-3 seasons away from the NHL but projects to be a regular top pairing guy down the line. Late season foot surgery has raised questions about his recovery timeframe and how it'll affect his skating, but those are probably just looking to find a problem with a guy who's been a consensus top 10 pick since he was 14.
Buffalo needs to take him 1st overall so they can have Jack Quinn and Luke Hughes.
William Eklund - LW/C - 5'10" 170lbs - Shoots Left
A smaller winger, it's quite possible he'll move to centre at the NHL level given his two-way play and unique skillset. He's probably the most naturally gifted forward in this draft, and the one with perhaps the highest likelihood of being a top level NHL scorer (although don't get too excited about that). He's a flashy forward in the modern Swedish style with great skating ability, terrific vision and a bullet one-timer combined with a high level of defensive awareness. With that said, he's smaller and doesn't have a great top end speed. He could certainly stand to gain some weight and work on his positioning in all zones, but he's pretty close to a finished product already. He'll likely return to Djugardens for another season and be relied on to be a top offensive threat, but should move over to the NHL in 2022/23. He gets compared to Zetterberg and Pettersson a lot (stylistically at least if not from a high end skill level), but I see a lot of Pavol Demitra in his game. He could be the pick of the draft in 3-4 years IMO.
What about the rest?
That's roughly the consensus top 5 at the moment, but this draft is really all over the place so the top-9 could go in pretty much any order based on team needs/priorities. Guys like Dylan Geunther could easily go as high as #2 overall. Here's some current rankings to give you an idea of how all over the map things are.
1. Buffalo Sabres
2. Seattle Kraken
3. Anaheim Ducks
4. New Jersey Devils
5. Columbus Blue Jackets
6. Detroit Red Wings
7. San Jose Sharks
8. Los Angeles Kings
9. Vancouver Canucks
10. Ottawa Senators
11. Chicago Blackhawks
12. Calgary Flames
13. Philadelphia Flyers
14. Dallas Stars
15. New York Rangers
Now, let's all come back to this in 5 years and laugh at how wrong I/you were about these kids.
ThinkTank fucked around with this message at 16:14 on Jun 10, 2021
|# ? Jun 10, 2021 16:12|
|# ? Jun 22, 2021 11:32|
Can't wait to see how the Hughes trilogy ends.
I didn't watch the Worlds at all and didn't know Power had played, pretty good for an 18 year old eh?
|# ? Jun 10, 2021 19:07|
Yeah the USA took Matty Beniers too but he was used pretty sparingly (although apparently acquitted himself nicely). It's becoming somewhat commonplace that the top guys in the draft get taken to the WCs by USA and Canada. It's mostly a last chance at scouting to see how they do against NHL leclr competition and the guys get pretty limited minutes. It's notable when they're given a more substantial role like Power this year and Quinn Hughes back in 2018 (in retrospect it's insane he fell to 7th as he already had the full trust of the USA Hockey in the WCs which should've been a huge hint to teams he was more complete defensively than they assumed).
|# ? Jun 10, 2021 19:19|
Power has been hunting he might go back to college for another year
Pretty sure that won't matter much, but shrug emoji
|# ? Jun 11, 2021 20:27|
Power has been hunting he might go back to college for another year
I'm sure any team currently at the bottom of the league won't be very upset avoiding an infusion of talent going in to the Shane Wright draft.
|# ? Jun 11, 2021 20:35|