2021 NHL Draft: who will be top of the class?


There was never really any doubt that Alexis Lafrenière was going to be the very first choice of the last draft. In 2021, it will be different since at present, if defender Owen Power is showing signs of first class, there is still no clear consensus.

Not that the Michigan Wolverines’ full-back hasn’t done well enough so far, on the contrary, but it’s hard to build consensus when not all players have had the same opportunity. be worth until now.

“It’s a weird year, concedes a recruiter from a Western team. No one is at the same point. There are a lot of guys we like. The problem is that we don’t have a starting point. In Quebec, we assess the Maritimes a lot so we can talk about it, and our recruiters in Ontario and the West tell us about the guys they like, but they don’t play. We don’t have much to base ourselves on. ”

Beware of overanalysis

While waiting for the circuits they cover to resume full time, recruiters are entrusted with other missions. The same recruiter had been given the mandate to follow, by video, a series of matches scheduled between the Under-18 teams, then the Under-20s, Sweden and Finland, at the beginning of November.

However, a few days before the start of these matches, two cases of COVID-19 were reported with the Swedish team, which forced the event to be canceled.

“Our whole recruiting team had to watch these games. But they were canceled. We’ve gotten to the point where we tell ourselves that with every game we watch, this may be our last chance to see a player. It makes us fall a little into overanalysis. « 

Not easy on video

Pandemic forces, recruiters must also turn to videos to do their job.

“A lot of times the quality is really bad,” admits another recruiter from the West. I was watching a game the other day and missed two goals because the image was crashing. At the moment, what we are doing is not 100% scouting. ”

The newspaper did not include a Quebecker in his list of hopes presented today.

Currently, forwards Zachary L’Heureux (Halifax), Zachary Bolduc (Rimouski) and Xavier Bourgault (Shawinigan) are classified in the first round by the Central Recruiting of the NHL.

A good second half of the season – if activities can resume – could push them up into the top 10.

Power proves his point

Meanwhile, defender Power is showing signs that he could stand out from the crowd. At least, among the players who are lucky enough to play at the moment.

In his first 10 games in the NCAA with the Michigan Wolverines, the 6’5 « , 214 lbs defenseman scored 4 points.

You will be able to discover it, in the next pages, as well as the other hockey players who currently have a chance to find themselves at the top of the list, when the time comes to pronounce the name of the very first choice of the 2021 vintage.

10 potential candidates

Matty Beniers (Attacker)


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Photo courtesy, UM Photography

“We have a tight knit group. All the freshmen clicked quickly and we are pushing each other. We are all hardworking and all have the same goal. When you are surrounded by players who force you to surpass yourself, it is only positive, ”adds Beniers, who was a choice for the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL in 2018.

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Dylan guenther (Attacker)


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Photo courtesy, Andy Devlin

Dylan Guenther was among those who had to wait patiently at home for the WHL season to resume. Instead, he made the decision to play games. In a lower caliber, of course, but to play.

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Luke hughes (Defender)


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Photo courtesy, Rena Laverty

After Jack and Quinn, now the youngest of the Hughes family, Luke, risks being one of the first picks of his draft year.

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Kent johnson (Attacker)


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Photo courtesy, UM Photography

Johnson, another Canadian who decided to join the Wolverines, has 10 points in 10 games since the start of the season, while Beniers collected six in eight games before joining the camp for the US junior team.

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Owen Power (Defender)


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Photo courtesy, UM Photography

Giant defender of 6’5  » and 214 lbs with fluid skate, he took advantage of his chance to play at the start of the season to position himself advantageously in the hierarchy of the main candidates to be the first player selected in the next draft.

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Aatu Räty (Attacker)


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Photo courtesy, Karpat Oulu

Last year, forward Aatu Räty’s name seemed destined to follow that of Alexis Lafrenière as the first overall pick in the 2021 draft. In a year, things have changed and not necessarily for the better in the case of the Finnish.

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They are also in the race …

Finland for Lambos

Among the most prominent defenders in the next draft, the Canadian Carson Lambos is eye-opening … in Finland. Faced with the postponement of the start of the season in the WHL, the Kootenay Ice color-bearer decided to cross to the other side of the Atlantic to join the JYP development program in Jyväskylä, in the south of Finland. With the Under-18 team, he had three assists in two games while he added five points (two goals and three assists) in seven games with the Under-20 roster. With the Ice, at 16 years old last year, he had collected 32 points in 57 games, playing against the top lines of the opposing team.

Edvinsson, in the footsteps of Hedman

Swedish defenseman Simon Edvinsson is another leading back in the 2021 season. The 6’4 « , 185 lb hockey player is playing for the Frölunda Indians in Sweden this year. He spent the majority of his time with the program’s Under-20 team, but also had two professional games in which he did not score any points. He was invited to the Swedish team’s camp for the World Junior Hockey Championship. Because of his imposing size, his smooth skating and his Swedish passport, he is often compared to Victor Hedman.

William Eklund, the point machine

Among the players who are making 100% of their chance to play right now, we can probably put forward William Eklund’s name at the top of the list. The 5’10  », 172lb Swedish forward is off to a terrific start to the season in Sweden’s top league, SHL. With Djurgårdens IF, he has so far amassed 13 points in 16 games. He plays with the New Jersey Devils first-round pick in the final draft, Alexander Holtz. Eklund was recently tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be able to compete in the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Waiting Brandt clarke

Of the hopes currently in the conversation for the very first overall pick, defenseman Brandt Clarke is the only one who still hasn’t played a game. The Barrie Colts player had made an agreement with Vasby IK in the Swedish second division, but his transfer was blocked because this circuit does not allow loans from the Ontario Junior League (OHL). In 57 games last year at 16, the attacking defenseman tallied 38 points.



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