The 2021 NHL Draft will run Friday night (Round 1) and Saturday morning (Rounds 2-7), held remotely. The 2021 draft class is a unique one, scouted during a year where the vast majority of viewings – mine included – were done remotely via video.
After many hours hemming, hawing, and shifting names around, here’s my final personal ranking for this year’s draft.

Preamble

The logic behind my ranking is pretty simple: if I was drafting a team from scratch, with zero players on my roster whatsoever, this is who I would choose in what order. As such, I tend to skew towards so-called “high floor” players if all else fails, in the sense that at the very least I want players that can contribute. After floors, I look for ceiling and consistency.
Advertisement
Ad
Most years, I see all key WHL prospects in-person and supplement my rankings with live Hockey Canada events and video. Obviously, my live viewings didn’t happen this past season – thanks COVID-19 – so this list relies heavily on video. I also researched extensively and chatted with friends in the scouting community to get a feel for players I had fewer video viewings on.
This is, at the end of the day, my opinion based on the information I’ve had access to. As always, your mileage may vary.

The projected first round (1-31)

No
Player
Pos.
Nation
DOB
Sh.
2020-21 Club(s)
1
Owen Power
D
CAN
11/22/2002
L
University of Michigan (NCAA)
2
Matthew Beniers
C
USA
11/5/2002
L
University of Michigan (NCAA)
3
Simon Edvinsson
D
SWE
2/5/2003
L
Frolunda HC (SHL/J20 Nationell)
Vasteras IK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
4
Dylan Guenther
RW
CAN
4/10/2003
R
Edmonton (WHL)
Sherwood Park (AJHL)
5
Kent Johnson
C
USA
10/18/2002
L
University of Michigan (NCAA)
6
William Eklund
C
SWE
10/12/2002
L
Djurgardens IF (SHL)
7
Brandt Clarke
D
CAN
2/9/2003
R
HC Nove Zamsky (Tipsport Liga)
8
Luke Hughes
D
USA
9/9/2003
L
US National Development Program (USHL)
9
Jesper Wallstedt
G
SWE
11/14/2003
Lulea HF (SHL/J20 Nationell)
10
Chaz Lucius
C
USA
5/2/2003
R
US National Development Program (USHL)
11
Cole Sillinger
C
CAN
5/16/2003
L
Sioux Falls (USHL)
12
Mason McTavish
C
CAN
1/30/2003
L
EHC Olten (Swiss League)
13
Matthew Coronato
LW
USA
11/14/2002
R
Chicago (USHL)
14
Fyodor Svechkov
C
RUS
4/5/2003
L
Lada Togliatti (VHL)
Ladia Togliatti (MHL)
15
Carson Lambos
D
CAN
1/14/2003
L
JYP (Liiga/U20/U18)
Winnipeg (WHL)
16
Brennan Othmann
LW
CAN
1/5/2003
L
EHC Olten (Swiss League)
17
Nikita Chibrikov
LW
RUS
2/16/2003
L
SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)
SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
18
Fabian Lysell
RW
SWE
1/19/2003
R
Frolunda HC (J20 Nationell)
Lulea HF (SHL)
19
Oskar Olausson
LW
SWE
11/10/2002
L
HV71 (SHL/J20 Nationell)
Sodertalje SK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
20
Zachary Bolduc
C
CAN
2/24/2003
L
Rimouski (QMJHL)
21
Xavier Bourgault
C
CAN
10/22/2002
R
Shawinigan (QMJHL)
22
Sasha Pastujov
LW
USA
7/15/2003
L
US National Development Program (USHL)
23
Simon Robertsson
RW
SWE
2/5/2003
L
Skelleftea AIK (SHL/J20 Nationell)
Pitea HC (HockeyEttan)
24
Aatu Raty
C
FIN
11/14/2002
L
Karpat (Liiga/U20)
25
Corson Ceulemans
D
CAN
5/5/2003
R
Brooks (AJHL)
26
Zachary L’Heureux
C
CAN
5/15/2003
L
Halifax (QMJHL)
27
Isak Rosen
LW
SWE
3/15/2003
L
Leksands IF (SHL/J20 Nationell/J18 Region)
28
Sebastian Cossa
G
CAN
11/21/2002
Edmonton (WHL)
29
Francesco Pinelli
C
CAN
4/11/2003
L
HDD Jesenice (AlpsHL)
30
Matthew Samoskevich
C
USA
11/15/2002
R
Chicago (USHL)
31
Sean Behrens
D
USA
3/31/2003
L
US National Development Program (USHL)
The projected first round – 31 players, because Arizona forfeited their pick – is a pretty good mix of players, but not a great one. The first eight-or-so players are really good, but nobody’s a franchise-altering talent. The balance of the first round are pretty good players, though a lot of them have high-end sample size questions given the odd nature of the past season.
Advertisement
Ad
(This draft may set some sort of record for players who played in Slovenia’s AlpsHL or Sweden’s third-tier HockeyEttan in their draft year. Similarly, it might set a record for players chosen that played zero games in their draft year.)

The projected second round (32-63)

No
Player
Pos.
Nation
DOB
Sh.
Team
32
Samu Tuomaala
RW
FIN
1/8/2003
R
Karpat (Liiga/U20)
33
Zach Dean
C
CAN
1/4/2003
L
Gatineau (QMJHL)
34
Dylan Duke
C
USA
3/4/2003
L
US National Development Program (USHL)
35
Stanislav Svozil
D
CZE
1/17/2003
L
HC Kometa Brno (Czech Extraliga)
HC Prerov (Czech 1.Liga)
36
Jack Bar
D
CAN
10/24/2002
R
Chicago (USHL)
37
William Stromgren
LW
SWE
6/7/2003
L
MODO Hockey (Allsvenskan/J20/J18)
Ornskoldsvik HF (HockeyEttan)
38
Tyler Boucher
LW
USA
1/16/2003
R
US National Development Program (USHL)
39
Logan Stankoven
C
CAN
2/26/2003
R
Kamloops (WHL)
40
Daniil Chayka
D
RUS
10/22/2002
L
CSKA Moskva (KHL)
Zvezda Moskva (VHL)
Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL)
41
Red Savage
C
USA
5/15/2003
L
US National Development Program (USHL)
42
Brett Harrison
C
CAN
6/7/2003
L
KOOVEE (Mestis/U20)
43
Benjamin Gaudreau
G
CAN
1/11/2003
Sarnia (OHL) [no games played]
44
Aleksi Heimosalmi
D
FIN
5/8/2003
R
Assat (U20)
45
Jackson Blake
RW
USA
8/3/2003
R
Chicago (USHL)
Eden Prairie (USHS)
46
Olen Zellweger
D
CAN
9/10/2003
L
Everett (WHL)
47
Shai Buium
D
USA
3/26/2003
L
Sioux City (USHL)
Shattuck St. Mary’s (USHS)
48
Samuel Helenius
C
FIN
11/26/2002
L
JYP (Liiga)
49
Tristan Broz
LW
USA
10/10/2002
L
Fargo (USHL)
50
Vincent Iorio
D
CAN
11/14/2002
R
Brandon (WHL)
51
Chase Stillman
RW
CAN
3/19/2003
R
Esbjerg (Denmark U20)
52
Connor Roulette
C
CAN
5/13/2003
L
Seattle (WHL)
53
Anton Olsson
D
SWE
1/26/2003
L
Malmo (SHL/J20 Nationell)
54
Samu Salminen
C
FIN
4/9/2003
L
Jokerit (U20)
55
Lorenzo Canonica
C
SWI
9/3/2003
L
Shawinigan (QMJHL)
Lugano (U20 Elit)
56
Wyatt Johnston
C
CAN
5/14/2003
R
Windsor (OHL) [no games played]
57
Brent Johnson
D
USA
3/20/2003
R
Sioux Falls (USHL)
58
Aidan Hreschuk
D
USA
2/19/2003
L
US National Development Program (USHL)
59
Ville Koivunen
LW
FIN
6/13/2003
L
Karpat (U20)
60
Alexander Kisakov
LW
RUS
11/1/2002
L
MHK Dynamo Moskva (MHL)
61
Roman Schmidt
D
USA
2/27/2003
R
US National Development Program (USHL)
62
Evan Nause
D
CAN
1/20/2003
L
Quebec (QMJHL)
63
Jack Peart
D
USA
5/15/2003
L
Fargo (USHL)
Grand Rapids (USHS)
The second round group is pretty good, though some players have question marks. Daniil Chayka (40) has been in the first round grouping on some rankings, but he didn’t do much at the World Juniors and I’ve heard some questions about his consistency. Logan Stankoven (39) could slide into the first round given his playing style – he plays big – but some share my quibbles about his size (he’s 5’8″) and how transferable his game is to the higher levels.

The projected third round (64-95)

No
Player
Pos.
Nation
DOB
Sh.
Team
64
Scott Morrow
D
USA
11/1/2002
R
Fargo (USHL)
Shattuck St. Mary’s (USHS)
65
Prokhor Poltapov
RW
RUS
2/1/2003
L
Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL)
CSKA Moscow (U17/U18)
66
Cameron Whynot
D
CAN
5/5/2003
L
Halifax (QMJHL)
67
Ayrton Martino
LW
CAN
9/28/2002
L
Omaha (USHL)
68
Liam Dower Nilsson
C
SWE
4/14/2003
L
Frolunda HC (SHL/J20 Nationell/J18 Region)
Hanhals IF (HockeyEttan)
69
Oliver Kapanen
C
FIN
7/29/2003
R
KalPa (U20)
JoKP (Mestis)
70
Colton Dach
C
CAN
1/4/2003
L
Saskatoon (WHL)
71
Marcus Almquist
C
DEN
9/13/2003
R
HV71 (J20 Nationell/J18 Region)
Rodovre (Denmark)
72
Ryder Korczak
C
CAN
9/23/2002
R
Moose Jaw (WHL)
73
Josh Doan
RW
USA
2/1/2002
R
Chicago (USHL)
74
Ilya Fedotov
LW
RUS
3/19/2003
R
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL/U18)
Chaika Nizhny Novgorod (MHL)
75
Ethan del Mastro
D
CAN
1/15/2003
L
Mississauga (OHL) [no games played]
76
Hugo Gabrielsson
D
SWE
10/24/2002
L
Frolunda HC (J20 Nationell)
Halmsted Hammers HC (HockeyEttan)
77
Ty Gallagher
D
USA
3/6/2003
R
US National Development Program (USHL)
78
Cole Huckins
C
CAN
5/14/2003
L
Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
79
Matthew Knies
C
USA
10/17/2002
L
Tri-City (USHL)
80
Liam Gilmartin
LW
USA
1/7/2003
L
US National Development Program (USHL)
81
Olivier Nadeau
RW
CAN
1/15/2003
R
Shawinigan (QMJHL)
82
Matvei Petrov
LW
RUS
3/12/2003
R
MHK Krylia Sovetov Moskva (MHL)
83
Kirill Kirsanov
D
RUS
9/19/2002
L
SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)
SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
84
David Gucciardi
D
CAN
10/9/2002
L
Youngstown (USHL)
Waterloo (USHL)
85
Justin Janicke
LW
USA
6/30/2003
L
US National Development Program (USHL)
86
Joshua Roy
C
CAN
8/6/2003
L
Saint John (QMJHL)
Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
87
Jack O’Brien
C
USA
5/14/2003
L
Lincoln (USHL)
Portland (WHL)
88
Riley Kidney
C
CAN
3/25/2003
L
Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
89
Viljami Marjala
LW
FIN
1/29/2003
L
Quebec (QMJHL)
90
Tristan Lennox
G
CAN
10/21/2002
Saginaw (OHL) [no games played]
91
Jimi Suomi
D
FIN
3/1/2003
L
Jokerit (U20)
92
Ryan Ufko
D
USA
5/7/2003
R
Chicago (USHL)
93
Sean Tschigerl
C
CAN
4/11/2003
L
Whitecourt (AJHL)
Calgary (WHL)
94
Victor Stjernborg
C
SWE
5/22/2003
L
Vaxjo Lakers (SHL/J20 Nationell)
95
Cole Jordan
D
CAN
9/21/2002
L
Moose Jaw (WHL)
Advertisement
Ad
Scott Morrow (64) is kind of a polarizing player, perhaps even more than Chayka (40). Morrow’s been in the first round mix on some rankings, but I have concerns about his higher-end sample size – I get nervous about taking high school players too early. Marcus Almquist (71) is one of my favourite sleeper players; he’s great offensively but he’s small (strike one) and a good chunk of his season was played in Danish pro hockey (strike two), which could cause him to slide down many rankings. Sean Tschigerl (93) is another personal favourite, as he really blossomed for the Hitmen this season in a year where they desperately needed a player like him to step up.

The projected fourth round (96-127)

No
Player
Pos.
Nation
DOB
Sh.
Team
96
Nolan Allan
D
CAN
4/28/2003
L
Prince Albert (WHL)
La Ronge (SJHL)
97
Danila Klimovich
C
BEL
1/9/2003
R
Dinamo-Molodechno (Belarus)
Minskie Zubry (Belarus Vysshaya)
98
Dmitri Katelevsky
LW
RUS
1/17/2003
L
Ak Bars Kazan (KHL)
Bars Kazan (VHL)
Irbis Kazan (MHL)
99
Kyle Masters
D
CAN
4/9/2003
R
Red Deer (WHL)
100
Topias Vilen
D
FIN
4/1/2003
L
Pelicans (Liiga)
Peliitat (Mestis)
101
Ryker Evans
D
CAN
12/13/2001
L
Regina (WHL)
102
Vladislav Lukashevich
D
RUS
5/23/2003
L
Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
103
Trevor Wong
C
CAN
5/4/2003
L
Kelowna (WHL)
104
Artyom Grushnikov
D
RUS
3/20/2003
L
Hamilton (OHL) [no games played]
105
Kirill Gerasimyuk
G
RUS
8/22/2003
SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)
SKA-Varyagi im. Morozova (MHL)
106
Hunter Strand
C
USA
11/13/2002
L
Tri-City (USHL)
107
Dmitri Zugan
C
RUS
11/23/2002
L
CSKA Moskva (KHL)
Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL)
108
Aleksi Malinen
D
FIN
5/26/2003
L
JYP (Liiga/U20)
109
Joel Nystrom
D
SWE
5/14/2002
R
Farjestad BK (SHL/J20 Nationell)
110
William von Barnekow
LW
SWE
11/12/2002
L
Malmo (SHL/J20 Nationell)
Tyringe SoSS (HockeyEttan)
111
Manix Landry
C
CAN
11/23/2002
L
Gatineau (QMJHL)
112
Jack Matier
D
CAN
4/8/2003
R
Ottawa (OHL) [no games played]
113
Thomas Milic
G
CAN
4/14/2003
Seattle (WHL)
114
Francesco Arcuri
C
CAN
6/13/2003
L
Steel Wings Linz (AlpsHL)
115
Oscar Plandowski
D
CAN
5/18/2003
R
Charlottetown (QMJHL)
116
Robert Orr
C
CAN
9/1/2003
L
Halifax (QMJHL)
117
Niko Huuhtanen
RW
FIN
6/26/2003
R
Tappara (U20)
118
Jakub Brabenec
C
CZE
9/11/2003
L
HC Kometa Brno (Czech Extraliga)
SK Horacka Slavia Trebic (Czech 1.Liga)
119
William Trudeau
D
CAN
10/11/2002
L
Charlottetown (QMJHL)
120
Peter Reynolds
C
CAN
1/20/2003
L
Saint John (QMJHL)
121
Ryan Winterton
RW
CAN
9/4/2003
R
Hamilton (OHL) [no games played]
122
Jiri Tichacek
D
CZE
1/30/2003
L
Rytiri Kladno (Czech 1.Liga/U20)
123
Aku Koskenvuo
G
FIN
2/26/2003
HIFK (U20)
124
Justin Robidas
C
CAN
3/13/2003
R
Val-d’Or (QMJHL)
125
Tyson Galloway
D
CAN
1/20/2003
L
Calgary (WHL)
126
Jayden Grubbe
C
CAN
1/12/2003
R
Red Deer (WHL)
127
Dmitri Kostenko
D
RUS
9/25/2002
R
Lada Togliatti (VHL)
Ladia Togliatti (MHL)
Scouting pals rave about Joel Nystrom (109), as he’s an overage defender who really blossomed offensively. He could go earlier than I have him ranked. Kirill Gerasimyuk (105) had a rough Under-18s and there may be some sample size questions regarding him against higher-end talent, but he played well otherwise. Aku Koskenvuo (123) is another mid-to-late round goaltending option for teams that may be nervous about taking goalies early and doesn’t mind a project.
Advertisement
Ad