NHL 2021 Draft
The NHL 2021 Draft is Friday. Will Owen Power go first overall or will the Buffalo Sabres call an audible? Photo Courtesy of the NHL.

With the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward to Friday night and the NHL 2021 Draft. This is my first (and last) mock draft of 2021. Editor’s Note: This is who I feel each team will pick and not necessarily how I rank each player. In a draft most believe to be underwhelming, this will probably be way off, so please don’t bet any money you can’t afford to lose.

One of the reasons teams (and fans) have found this draft to be underwhelming is the fact we have been in a pandemic for over a year. That has made team scouting more difficult, and if you are an OHL prospect, you might find yourself dropping simply because you weren’t playing (unless you went abroad). There’s also the caveat that a number one pick, while becoming more agreed on in recent weeks, could be any number of players. This NHL 2021 Draft won’t get you a Nathan MacKinnon or Connor McDavid, but it could definitely provide much needed depth to help that run for a cup.

So let’s get the show on the road with the top four…

TEAMDRAFT PICKPOSITION
1. BUFFALO SABRESOWEN POWERDEFENSE
2. SEATTLE KRAKENMATTHEW BENIERSFORWARD
3. ANAHIEM DUCKSWILLIAM EKLUNDFORWARD
4. NEW JERSEY DEVILSLUKE HUGHESDEFENSE

This is my first break in the mock draft, as this is where I feel it goes off the rails. Owen Power seems to be the consensus number one pick. We’ve already discussed his fit with the Buffalo Sabres, and there’s no guarantee they won’t target William Eklund or Matthew Beniers.

Going into an offseason where losing Jack Eichel and/or Sam Reinhardt is a possibility, I would be looking to restock my forward group with a high end talent if I was Buffalo. And it’s not like the drop-off between Power, Beniers, and Eklund is significant. All three are sure-fire NHL’ers. Power going first overall will not shock me, though.

However, Luke Hughes going fourth will! Hughes seems to be highly thought of, and his brother Jack Hughes, forward for the New Jersey Devils, has made no secret of his desire to suit up beside his younger sibling. This could force the hand of the New Jersey Devils to keep the future of the franchise happy, but it definitely wouldn’t be my pick.

The Ryan Graves trade makes me question my pick here. However, given there is little chance of Luke going straight into the NHL as one of the younger draft kids, I still believe this may be the move the Devils make for better or worse. Personally, my top four in order would be Eklund, Beniers, Power, and Aatu Raty, but I’m not an NHL GM… yet.

TEAMDRAFT PICKPOSITION
5. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETSMASON MCTAVISHFORWARD
6. DETROIT RED WINGSBRANDT CLARKEDEFENSE
7. SAN JOSE SHARKSDYLAN GUENTHERFORWARD
8. LOS ANGELES KINGSSIMON EDVINSSONDEFENSE
9. VANCOUVER CANUCKSFABIAN LYSELLFORWARD
10. OTTAWA SENATORSJESPER WALLSTEDTGOALTENDER
11. ARIZONA COYOTESFORFEITEDFORFEITED
12. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKSMACKIE SAMOSKEVICHFORWARD

Here is the second break of the mock draft to explain myself. Above I said Aatu Raty would be in my top four, but some personal setbacks will have teams doubt the pick. Don’t worry, he’s up soon, and I think our resident Philadelphia Flyers fan, Andrew McGuinness, will be very pleased.

I stop here because most draft boards have Matthew “Mackie” Samoskevich lower than my twelfth. The highest I could find him was 19th, with most having him around the early 30s. If this is so, I won’t be disappointed as it gives the Colorado Avalanche a real chance, but alas, I don’t think Mackie will be there come pick 28th (technically 27th as the Arizona Coyotes’ pick was forfeited).

I also have Goaltender Jesper Wallstedt going to the Ottawa Senators. I just think that’s a position that the Senators are not set on, and Wallstedt would be an awesome addition to a young core. As long as they don’t mess it up, Ottawa should be turning the corner and becoming a decent side relatively soon.

TEAMDRAFT PICKPOSITION
13. CALGARY FLAMESKENT JOHNSONFORWARD
14. PHILADELPHIA FLYERSAATU RATYFORWARD
15. DALLAS STARSCOLE SILLINGERFORWARD
16. NEW YORK RANGERSFYODOR SVECHKOVFORWARD
17. ST LOUIS BLUESZACH DEANFORWARD
18. WINNIPEG JETSLOGAN STANKOVENFORWARD
19. NASHVILLE PREDATORSOSKAR OLAUSSONFORWARD
20. EDMONTON OILERSBRENNAN OTHMANNFORWARD
21. BOSTON BRUINSSIMON ROBERTSSONFORWARD

A lot of forwards, I know, but in a draft that most have called underwhelming, there is still the possibility to draft future depth and that is what most teams will be looking at. Simon Robertsson would be an awesome pick at 21 for the Bruins, while Logan Stankoven should go higher than the 18th I have him at. Unfortunately, I believe old habits will die hard, and teams will overlook him because of his size.

Stankoven (5″8′) is one of the smaller draft eligible players but has the talent to be a top-end player in the future. I also don’t rate Brennan Othmann, but he is thought of highly within the draft class, and I think the Oilers will take him as they continue to be a dumpster fire.

TEAMDRAFT PICKPOSITION
22. MINNESOTA WILDSTANISLAV SVOZILDEFENSE
23. DETROIT RED WINGS (FROM WASHINGTON)FRANCESCO PINELLIFORWARD
24. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (FROM TORONTO)SEAN BEHRENSDEFENSE
25. MINNESOTA WILD (FROM PITTSBURGH)ISAK ROSENFORWARD
26. FLORIDA PANTHERSEVAN NAUSEDEFENSE
27. CAROLINA HURRICANESOLEN ZELLWEGERDEFENSE
28. COLORADO AVALANCHEZACHARY L’HEUREUXFORWARD
29. NEW JERSEY DEVILS (FROM NY ISLANDERS)MATTHEW CORONATOFORWARD
30. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTSJACK PEARTDEFENSE
31. MONTREAL CANADIENSXAVIER BOURGAULTFORWARD
32. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (FROM TAMPA BAY)DANIIL CHAYKADEFENSE

I went back and forth on the Avalanche pick at 28 in the NHL 2021 Draft. I would love Isak Rosen, but don’t think he’ll be available, and Matthew Coronato would be a decent pick also. However, I’ve gone out on a limb and picked Zachary L’Heureux based off the last playoff series against the Golden Knights.

I understand it will be two years (minimum) before we see this draft pick (if ever), but if the Avalanche continue to be bullied like they were against Vegas, the hard hitting, instigating forward presence of L’Heureux could be exactly what they need. They would need to channel his aggression so he’s not suspended multiple times a season (he was discipline four times in a shortened season by the QMJHL), but a bit of grit could be exactly what the Avalanche need, especially with Nazem Kadri’s contract ending after this upcoming season.

I have Vegas choosing a defenseman in the NHL 2021 Draft as I believe the salary cap will see them lose Alec Martinez this year and pay Zach Whitecloud next year. They are going to need cheap options (hello, ELC) to flesh out their bottom pairing.

And that concludes our NHL 2021 Draft: Mock Draft Edition One (and only). Feel free to tell me how wrong I am on Twitter.

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