(Header photos via: Terry Wilson / OHL Images, The Athletic)
It’s been an interesting journey this season for both scouts and 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospects. Video scouting has become the primary means of getting views in for these players who have had to drastically alter their plans in some cases.
The Sabres are near locked into having a Top 3 pick and though this draft class doesn’t have a consensus 1st overall prospect, they will certainly have an excellent chance at selecting an impact future NHLer.
While this is setting up to be a top heavy draft for defensemen, the TCB crew has 3 forwards in our Top 5 as well as 1 goaltender in the Top 10.
The analysis for this article and subsequent TCB Draft Rankings are going to be intentionally brief as we make progress on the 2021 TCB NHL Draft Guide. The Guide will have in depth analysis of all the prospects listed below and is slated for a July release prior to the draft.
TCB Top 10
1. William Eklund | LW | Djugardens IF | SHL – The dynamic ability of William Eklund combined with his play in the SHL has earned him the top spot in our April rankings. He has great offensive instincts that make him a threat anytime he is on the ice and has shown a commitment to playing a strong defensive game. Eklund is a play driving winger in every facet of the game with a very high ceiling.
2. Matthew Beniers | C | Michigan | NCAA – Beniers garnered a lot of attention from his play at the World Junior Tournament for Team USA. It was his success for a very strong Michigan team that has earned him consideration as a potential 1st overall pick. High energy and creative with the puck, Beniers plays a complete game that will easily translate to the NHL with very little risk.
3. Brandt Clarke | RD | Nove Zamky | Slovakia – Arguably the most offensively gifted defender in this class, Brandt Clarke has had to spend time overseas in the Slovakian pro-league where he has been very good thus far. An excellent skater who possesses great hands, Clarke fits the mold of the new age mobile defensemen in the NHL.
4. Dylan Guenther | RW | Edmonton | WHL – It took quite some time for Guenther to see game action this season but he sure has not looked like he has missed a beat. Tearing up the WHL since it started up recently, Guenther is looking like a Top 5 pick with his excellent playmaking ability and vision with the puck.
5. Luke Hughes | LD | US U18 | USDP – The youngest (and tallest) of the Hughes brothers, Luke is unsurprisingly a fantastic skater. Great at transition and carrying the puck, he still has room to get even better and considering his pedigree, cannot be ruled out from being selected 1st overall.
6. Owen Power | LD | Michigan | NCAA – 20 years ago, Owen Power would probably be labeled the consensus 1st overall pick due to his size and skill combination. There’s a lot to like about what Power brings to the offensive side of the game and while he has been able to use his size to his advantage defensively, he will need to continue to work on that as he develops.
7. Jesper Wallstedt | G | Luleå HF | SHL – There’s no doubt that Jesper Wallstedt will make it 3 years in a row with a goalie being drafted in the 1st round. Dominant in the SHL at age 18 is quite the feat and Wallstedt has incredible composure for someone that age. His positioning is nearly flawless and it can seem as if he’s not even trying with how calm he is and how easily he makes adjustments.
8. Fabian Lysell | RW | Luleå HF | SHL – A skilled forward playing in the SHL at age 18, Lysell is a dynamic play maker. He has what I describe as “opportunistic speed” where he picks his spots on when his speed can be best used effectively. This type of mindset makes him great in transition and tracking the puck on both the forecheck and backcheck.
9. Kent Johnson | C | Michigan | NCAA – There’s a lot to like about Johnson who joins fellow Michigan teammates Beniers and Power in the Top 10. Johnson is a creative forward that has good speed and is certainly at his best when in possession of the puck. Already boasting a complete game, Johnson doesn’t need to work on much aside from adding some strength which is very common for kids this age.
10. Carson Lambos | LD | Winnipeg | WHL – Started year in Finland at the U20 level and even got some action in Liiga before transitioning back to the WHL. Has a knack for jumping up into the rush and making sure his shot makes it through to the net so his offensive game certainly has some upside.
11. Cole Sillinger | C | Sioux Falls | USHL
12. Aatu Räty | C | Kärpät | Liiga
13. Chaz Lucius | C | US U18 | USDP
14. Simon Edvinsson | LD | Frölunda | SHL
15. Sasha Pastujov | LW | US U18 | USDP
16. Mason McTavish | C | Olten | SL
17. Zachary L’Heureux | C | Halifax | QMJHL
18. Brennan Othmann | LW | Olten | SL
19. Simon Robertsson | RW | Skellefteå AIK | SHL
20. Oskar Olausson | LW | HV71 | SHL
21. Stanislav Svozil | LD | Kometa Brno | Extraliga
22. Xavier Bourgault | C | Shawinigan | QMJHL
23. Francesco Pinelli | C | Jesenice | AlpsHL
24. Corson Ceulemans | RD | Brooks | AJHL
25. Nikita Chibrikov | RW | St. Petersburg | KHL
26. Daniil Chayka | LD | CSKA Moskva | KHL
27. Isak Rosén | LW | Leksands IF | SHL
28. Zachary Bolduc | C | KRimouski | QMJHL
29. Logan Stankoven | RW | Kamloops | WHL
30. Scott Morrow | RD | Shattuck St. Mary’s | USHS
31. Fyodor Svechkov | LW | Ladia | MHL
32. Matthew Coronato | LW | Chicago | USHL
*The TCB Consensus Rankings were compiled by our Prospect/Draft Group Below*
- Curtis Schwartzkopf (@CurtisTCB716)
- Austin Broad (@Austin_Broad)
- Walt Zurowski (@Sabremetrix)
- Joe Marino (@JoeTCBNHL)