Folks, it’s really looking like the Calgary Flames might not make the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. So as we wait to see how the final 11 games play out, we thought we’d turn our eye towards the future and the 2021 NHL Draft.
This draft is a bit of chaos for various reasons, primarily because a pandemic has made scouting a big challenge.
In keeping with tradition, we’ve looked to the scouting community for a snapshot of how the draft class looks and what prospects the Flames may select based on where they are in the standings.

The rankings included

We’ve chosen to aggregate eight major rankings into one consolidated consensus ranking. The eight rankings are:
  • Elite Prospects
  • Sam Cosentino (Sportsnet)
  • Bob McKenzie (TSN)
  • Scott Wheeler (The Athletic)
  • Hockey Prospect
  • FC Hockey
  • McKeen’s
  • Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
We’ve used the most recent publicly-available rankings from each entity.

The projected top 32

Rank
Player
Pos.
2020-21 Team(s)
1
Owen Power
LD
University of Michigan (NCAA)
2
Matthew Beniers
C
University of Michigan (NCAA)
United States (World Juniors)
3
Luke Hughes
LD
U.S. National Development Program (USHL)
4
Dylan Guenther
RW
Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)
Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
5
Brandt Clarke
LD
HC Nove Zamky (Slovakia) [on loan]
Barrie Colts (OHL) [loaned]
6
Kent Johnson
C
University of Michigan (NCAA)
7
William Eklund
C
Djurgardens IF (SHL)
8
Simon Edvinsson
LD
Frolunda HC (SHL/J20 Nationell)
Vasteras VK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
9
Jesper Wallstedt
G
Lulea HF (SHL/J20 Nationell)
Sweden (World Juniors)
10
Fabian Lysell
RW
Frolunda HC (J20 Nationell)
Lulea HF (SHL)
11
Chaz Lucius
C
U.S. National Development Program (USHL)
12
Cole Sillinger
C
Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
13
Mason McTavish
C
EHC Olten (Swiss League) [on loan]
EV Zug (National League) [on loan]
Peterborough Petes (OHL) [loaned]
14
Aatu Raty
C
Karpat (SM-Liiga/U20 SM-sarja)
15
Carson Lambos
LD
JYP (SM-Liiga/U20 SM-sarja/U18 SM-sarja)
Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
16
Oskar Olausson
LW
HV71 (SHL/U20 Nationell)
Sodertalje SK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Sweden (World Juniors)
17
Corson Ceulemans
RD
Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
18
Zachary Bolduc
C
Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
19
Brennan Othmann
LW
EHC Olten (Swiss League) [on loan]
SC Bern (National League) [on loan]
Flint Firebirds (OHL) [loaned]
20
Zachary L’Heureux
C
Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
21
Simon Robertsson
RW
Skelleftea AIK (SHL/J20 Nationell)
Pitea HC (HockeyEttan)
22
Matthew Coronato
LW
Chicago Steel (USHL)
23
Nikita Chibrikov
RW
SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)
SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
24
Sebastian Cossa
G
Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
25
Isak Rosen
LW
Leksands IF (SHL/J20 Nationell/J18 Region)
26
Scott Morrow
RD
Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep (USHS)
27
Xavier Bourgault
C
Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
28
Fyodor Svechkov
LW
Lada Togliatti (MHL/VHL)
29
Sasha Pastujov
LW
U.S. National Development Program (USHL)
30
Francesco Pinelli
C
HDD Jesenice (AlpsHL/Slovenia) [on loan]
Kitchener Rangers (OHL) [loaned]
31
Zach Dean
C
Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
32
Daniil Chayka
LD
CSKA Moscow (KHL)
Zvezda Moscow (VHL)
Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (MHL)
Russia (World Juniors)

Pre-lottery draft order

The 15 teams that don’t make the playoffs, plus the Seattle Kraken, will be ranked from 1 to 16 based on their points percentage. (The worst team will be slotted first). Seattle will be given the same odds in the lottery as the third-worst team.
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Based on Tuesday’s end-of-day standings, here’s the draft order:
  1. Buffalo
  2. Anaheim
  3. New Jersey
  4. Seattle*
  5. Ottawa
  6. Detroit
  7. Columbus
  8. San Jose
  9. Calgary
  10. Los Angeles
  11. Arizona
  12. Vancouver
  13. Chicago
  14. Philadelphia
  15. Nashville
  16. NY Rangers
The Flames are tightly clustered with the Kings and Sharks in the standings – they’re tied with San Jose but ahead in the standings due to the regulation wins tiebreaker. The Flames could slide down to seventh or eighth overall with a few more losses.

This and that

A word of warning: this is a very 2012 draft class – by the I mean, aside from the top handful of players, opinions vary massively among scouting bodies and likely vary wildly between NHL clubs’ draft lists, too. It’s likely that we could see a lot of shuffling around in the first round as teams try to move up (or down) to get their preferred player.
In the general area where the Flames may draft, there are basically three clusters of players:
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  • Forwards like Fabian Lysell, Chaz Lucius and Cole Sillinger
  • Goaltender Jesper Wallstedt
  • Forwards like Kent Johnson, William Eklund and Simon Edvinsson
If they finish right around where they are now – e.g., they don’t get appreciably worse in the standings – they’ll likely need to choose between Lysell, Lucius and Sillinger. We’ll go into the Flames’ potential selections in great detail in the coming weeks – we’ll have two months to ponder the draft and expansion, after all – but here’s what some friends are saying about these three young fellas.
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As per tradition, and the nightmares that were the first round selections of Jason Muzzatti, Brent Krahn and Leland Irving, selecting Wallstedt with a top 10 pick would probably be a source of constant anxiety for the fanbase.
Do any potential 2021 first round picks excite you? Which should the Flames focus in on? Sound off in the comments!