NHL releases Central Scouting’s final 2021 NHL Draft rankings

Ryan Pike
2 years ago
Friends, we’re less than a week away from the next big date on the Calgary Flames’ calendar: the annual draft lottery on June 2. In advance of that occasion, the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Service has released their final rankings for the 2021 NHL Draft.
Among the top North American skaters are University of Michigan defender Owen Power (#1), Peterborough Petes forward Mason McTavish (#2) and University of Michigan forward Kent Johnson (#3). The top North American goalie is Edmonton Oil Kings ‘tender Sebastian Cossa. The top International skaters are Djurgardens forward William Eklund (#1), Frolunda defender Simon Edvinsson (#2) and Karpat forward Aatu Raty (#3). The top International goalie is Lulea’s Jesper Wallstedt.
Many in the scouting community have shared their thoughts on the listing and generally, it seems fine – there’s a lot of varying opinions on the 2021 class overall, so there aren’t really any prominent scouting voices decrying or anything like that. The 2021 draft class has a very 2012 vibe to it, in the sense that there are a handful of players that folks generally consider to be very promising and a tier of about a dozen players that most scouts seem to be excited about. Beyond that? It drops off quite a bit.
The X-factor of the 2021 draft is the pandemic and its’ widespread impacts on leagues, games and scouting access. The OHL never played. The WHL played truncated seasons. The QMJHL has played in stops and starts. Most “major” leagues only played within their own divisions, so there’s some question about the applicability of their sample size.
Case in point? Edmonton Oil Kings winger Dylan Guenther, who was great this season and is ranked highly among North American skaters for his body of work to this point in his junior career. But he racked up a ton of points against Red Deer and Lethbridge this season, a pair of rebuilding teams who gave up over 100 goals apiece over a shortened season. So his numbers are excellent and he looked strong in a lot of his outings, but the transferability of this season’s results may be a bit limited because he played the same four teams so often.
The draft lottery is June 2 to determine the first 16 spots in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft. The draft itself, held remotely for the second year in a row, goes July 23 & 24.

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