McMullet's 2021 Draft Board

  1. ConnorMcMullet
    Just four days until the most unpredictable NHL draft in recent memory. Very little consensus, lots of potential trades. Here are a few notes before I begin.

    • I tried to put a bit more emphasis on a player’s floor and likely projection this year as opposed to betting on upside every time.

    • Past the first round or so, I’m not too high on Euros in general. Last year I identified many sleepers coming from overseas, this year it’s mainly North American.

    • I love this year’s USHL crop, a strong group of players in a poor draft class.

    • I can’t emphasize enough how underscouted this year’s OHL class is. Last year had Central Scouting ranking 28 OHLers in their top-100 North American skaters. This year? Just 15.

    • I did NOT rank overagers this year, mainly because there are so many I like. There are about a dozen I would have on my list. Feel free to ask about any.

    • My list is a bit different this year. I gave players one of six draft grades that describes where I would target them: top-10, 10-20, 20-30, 2nd round, 3rd/4th round, and 5th-7th round. There are 25 players I see as first-round worthy (any of the first three grades), for example.

    • Just because a player is not on this list does not necessarily mean I do not see them as draftable. There are also likely players I haven’t watched and would be on this list if I had.

    • Because this seems to draw confusion every year, this is a draft ranking, not a mock draft. This is where I think players should get drafted, not where I think they will.

    And… here is the list.

    1Brandt ClarkeTop-10I do get the skating concerns with Clarke. I’ve never seen a player skate like him before. He never uses his outside edges and I understand why that could draw some hesitancy. That said, I think his skating is more unaesthetic than ineffective. Clarke is the smartest player I’ve scouted in the draft and has the most game-breaking potential. His desire to win and the intensity he plays with are top-notch as well. He is consistently vocal and wants the puck on his stick, and I think that bodes well for the next level.
    2Owen PowerTop-10I thought long and hard at puting Power at 1st overall. He’s a safer pick than Clarke; I don’t see anything less than a #4 defenseman. I don’t think his upside is far behind Clarke’s, but I’d be more confident in Clarke putting it together. Both my top two defensemen have their IQ as their calling card. Power’s decision making and passing are more impressive to me than the fact that he’s 6’5 and can skate like he can. Whether or not Power can become a consistent offensive threat in the NHL depends on whether he can improve his explosiveness and first step, in my opinion.
    3Luke HughesTop-10Ranking Hughes in the top-3 requires a decent amount of projection as, at the moment, I would say he’s a step down from Clarke and Power as a player. He can be selfish with the puck, fall out of position, and get beat by opponents. His elite skating and early September birthdate gives one reason to believe he can improve in these areas, and Michigan is the perfect place for him to do that.
    4Matthew BeniersTop-10One of two players in the draft that I am confident becomes a center at the NHL level. Excellent skater with an even better motor, and he’s got a craftier offensive toolkit than some give him credit for. That said, I think his defensive abilities are slightly overrated, as he’s more of a hard-worker than a premier anticipator of plays like Bergeron, who Beniers is often compared to. I don’t see a huge range of outcomes for Beniers; 3C is likely his floor, a high-end 2C or low-end 1C his ceiling.
    5William EklundTop-10Another easily projectable player without superstar upside. Potentially the most NHL-ready player in the draft, though I would still have him remain in the SHL next year. I think he’s a winger at the next level which is why I have him behind Beniers.
    6Dylan GuentherTop-10The draft’s best goal scorer. Extremely skilled, has an excellent shot, and is a slick one-touch passer, especially on the powerplay. I have no doubt that he’ll become a go-to option on the left half-wall for the team that drafts him. To reach his potential as an even-strength threat, he could use to improve his first step and shiftiness. Not a physical player.
    7Kent JohnsonTop-10Likely the most skilled player in the draft. Hands are absolutely elite and he is deceptive every time he has the puck. I do like his vision and passing, but at 5-on-5 his skating ability doesn’t always give him the time and space needed to pull off the passes he has in mind. Like Guenther, I am confident in his ability to become a dangerous PP player, but I’m less certain as to how his game will translate at 5v5. He’s got more question marks than Guenther though. I don’t see him as a center in the NHL.
    8Simon EdvinssonTop-10This is a player that is misunderstood by many online scouts. Edvinsson is not a boom/bust prospect with top-tier tools but no toolbox in the mold of a Philip Broberg, but a cerebral, rangy defenseman with great poise. Where a player like Broberg looks almost out of control flying down the ice, Edvinsson looks comparatively disinterested out there. I wouldn’t call that a bad thing, but I also think he lacks the offensive savvy and ability to push the play that the defensemen ranked ahead of him do. Edvinsson is very good defensively for his age and more physical than Clarke/Power/Hughes. I think he’ll be a minute munching defenseman, but not a top offensive one.
    9Carson Lambos10-20As long as teams get a go-ahead in terms of his health, I think Lambos would be a fine pick in the top-10 of a draft like this. He was incredible last season in the WHL and I’m betting he still has that in him. Excellent skater, one of the most dangerous wrist shots in the draft, and a vocal leader on defense. I wouldn’t put too much stock into this season. Leaving home to play overseas while dealing with medical issues can explain his play, and even then, I found he was a fair bit better than reports describe.
    10Mason McTavish10-20Is his offensive ability getting a tad overrated after the U18s? I think so. But McTavish is still an excellent player that is committed to all areas of the ice. Very intelligent and a dangerous goal scorer. I don’t see skating as an issue—or even a weakness—at all. High floor pick for sure, though I also don’t think he’s a sure-bet top-6 guy either.
    11Jesper Wallstedt10-20I’m not a goalie scout and I’m not going to get into the Wallstedt vs Cossa debate. I have them back-to-back and ranked Wallstedt ahead simply because I had to choose one of the two. What I will say is that, in a draft class like this, a goalie like Wallstedt or Cossa isn’t any riskier a pick than the others I have in this range. “Voodoo” is the term generally attached to goalies, but I don’t think they’re any harder to project than the others I have ranked here.
    12Sebastian Cossa10-20See above.
    13Fabian Lysell10-20Love the speed, love the skill, and love the motor. Lysell can try to do way too much with the puck, but when it works, fans of both teams are brought out of their seats. Lysell plays at one gear, and it’s all out. He needs to work on slowing it down occasionally and improving his on-ice awareness. That said, there’s a lot to like and it’s not hard to project aspects of his game to the next level. His speed, hustle, and defensive commitment suggest that he could carve it out as a bottom-6 option if he doesn’t “boom”.
    14Matthew Coronato10-20I was not initially sold on Matthew Coronato, but he just kept rising in my rankings. Coronato is the master of being in the right place at the right time, and his deadly shot and endless motor could make him the perfect complementary option in the future. I think he has a very high floor, one of the highest in the draft, and has a lot of potential if he can continue to work on his skating as a smaller player.
    15Cole Sillinger10-20I considered ranking Sillinger a lot higher and a lot lower than this. He is a bull with the puck and has an excellent shot to go with it. Very quick hands, can put the puck in the back of the net from a variety of areas. I don’t think his skating is a hindrance, though he could use to improve his small-space shiftiness. The main concern I found while watching his USHL play was his inability to utilize and read off of teammates. That could be attributed to his adjusting to a new team and league, or a desire to do things himself and impress scouts, but it’s something to keep note of.
    16Mackie Samoskevich10-20Back-to-back Chicago Steel first-time draft eligibles. Samoskevich is incredibly dynamic, has plenty of skill, and a wicked release. He didn’t generate the results Coronato did this year, but I have a hard time seeing why he’s often listed outside of the first round. Samoskevich is committed to Michigan next year, and I can’t think of a better place for him to develop.
    17Chaz Lucius20-30I would call Chaz Lucius the “purest goal-scorer” in the draft, but that’s only because he’s purely a goal scorer. He doesn’t bring much away from the puck or in terms of playmaking ability, and I’d like him to work on his skating. The team that drafts him, however, is doing so for his slick hands and fantastic shot, and if he scores goals at the NHL level, they won’t regret it.
    18Fyodor Svechkov20-30I’m not sold on the offensive upside. I think it’s more likely he ends up a 3C than a 2C, but he’ll be someone that can be depended on at all areas of the ice.
    19Francesco Pinelli20-30Pinelli has got a bit more offensive upside than Svechkov, as I think his vision and awareness of the ice is a notch above. The reason I don’t have him ranked higher is that he does, unlike Svechkov, possess a weakness that I could see holding him back, that being his skating. Like Svechkov, Pinelli is an excellent defensive player. Very physical.
    20Jack Peart20-30Where do I get started? Jack Peart is one of the most underrated prospects in this year’s draft and should be a 1st round pick. Peart is a smooth skating defenseman that excels in all three zones of the ice. His mobility complements his top-notch intelligence in a package that can be easily seen projecting to the NHL. While not flashy offensively, Peart racks up points making the smart play and pushing the pace. His defensive play is the most impressive part of his game, as he utilizes an excellent stick and his noteworthy 4-way skating to shut down opponents. Not a physical player at all, but his defensive game is built around his stickwork much like a Jacob Slavin. He’ll need to work on knowing when to simplify his game, especially in transition and passing up the middle of the ice. I’m also not too thrilled that he’s committed to St. Cloud State as they haven’t produced any NHL defensemen in a while, but it shouldn’t hold him back.
    21Isak Rosen20-30It’s difficult to watch Rosen and assess where he’ll be in 5 or 10 years. In theory, he’s got the complete offensive package. Top-tier skating, slick hands, good playmaking ability, and a great shot including a lethal one-timer. But this is a pure skill player that may not have enough of it to pull off what he is doing at the NHL level. A lot of his offense comes from using his speed and hands to go 1-on-3 and, while an excellent skater, that is not translatable to the NHL. He shies away from physicality at a level that coaches will not accept. He’s a smart player and an adept finisher, however, so I do have hope that he can shift his game slightly and succeed in a more complementary role in the NHL.
    22Nikita Chibrikov20-30My main concern with Chibrikov is the same as with Rosen. He plays a pure skill game, but may not have enough skill to translate a lot of his offense to the big leagues. His two-way game is superior to Rosen’s, but he lacks Rosen’s shot and dual-threat offensive ability. His skating is also not on the same level as Rosen which is why I have him lower.
    23Brennan Othmann20-30Unlike the previous two names, Othmann already plays a complementary style of game so shouldn’t need to change too much of his game to succeed in the National Hockey League. There is a lot to like here: Sharp shooter, nose for the net, very physical, and can read off linemates well. He was effective in his time in Switzerland and flashed some high-end offensive ability at the U18s. Likely a middle-6 guy in the NHL, but should be an effective one. Skating is what could hold him back from reaching that level.
    24Corson Ceulemans20-30Smooth-skating 6’2 defenseman with a dangerous shot from the point. Good amount of skill but unlikely to be a high-end point producer or #1 PP QB, much like Jack Peart. Can get caught out of position and was mistake prone even in the AJHL, but has the potential to become a solid defensive player. Not hard to envision him as a 2nd pairing defenseman if he pans out.
    25Logan Stankoven20-30Buzzsaw with great finishing ability. Don’t see skating as an issue, even at his size. The fact that he is 5’7 does, unfortunately, bump him down slightly but I do see a 1st round pick. Whether he has the offensive flair to be a true top-6er or more of a bottom-6 option remains to be seen.
    There are 25 players I see as 1st round worthy this draft, and 28 I gave a 2nd round grade. The cut-off here is that, after Stankoven at 25th overall, there is no one remaining that I am especially confident becomes an impact NHLer. That’s not to say every 1st rounder will make the show, but I would feel more comfortable in projecting their games than the players in this next tier.

    There are a few players in this grouping that are ranked here purely due to their upside. Tuomaala (29), Morrow (32), Pastujov (34), and Kisakov (43) best fit this description, as I don’t see them as mainstays in the NHL if they don’t hit their ceilings or come close to it. Tuomaala and Morrow both play styles of hockey that could involve a lot of individual generation of offense, with Tuomaala shooting at almost every opportunity present and Morrow rushing the puck from the blueline every other shift. Pastujov and Kisakov are more simple to evaluate, as their careers likely depend on how much they can improve their skating. Scott Morrow’s skating also gives me some hesitancy. Though it is certainly above average, it will not be nearly as much of a stand-out skill in the NHL and could give him a tough time translating his game.

    I have some level of confidence that four defensemen, Kirsanov (33), Bar (41), Del Mastro (44), and Chayka (45) can be NHLers in some capacity. Realistically only one or two of them do pan out, but all play mature games and possess strong size and skating. Kirsanov has the most upside.

    There are four QMJHL forwards that could hear their names called on the 1st day of the NHL draft this Friday, but I gave them all a 2nd round grade here. Bourgault (36), Dean (37), Bolduc (48), and L’Heureux (50) all make me pause. The first three names lack a standout offensive skill (apart from Dean’s hands) to give me confidence in projecting them as NHLers. Bolduc’s IQ and teammate utilization aren’t at the same level as Bourgault or Dean, so I’m ranking him a bit lower. I’m not sure his defensive game is worth the hype either. L’Heureux is an interesting one, and I think he’s been getting overrated because he’s a pest on the ice. People like to compare him to Tom Wilson as a result, but I have questions about his offensive package. Though he plays bigger than his height, he is still 5’10 and an average skater, not a consistently dangerous passer, and I don’t think his shot is anything special. I think a bottom-6er that can play higher up in the lineup is more likely than a Tom Wilson.

    The biggest sleeper in this grouping is Zach Ostapchuk (51), who I haven’t seen higher than in the 80s anywhere else—save for the great @m0pe. Ostapchuk is a player I think scouts will appreciate and jump on higher than where he is generally ranked. 6’3 winger and a very good skater with vision that will make you jump out of your seat. He’s a meat-and-potatoes winger in the mold of Josh Anderson that will throw a successful behind-the-back no-look pass out of nowhere. Ostaphcuk’s main obstacle is his consistency if he wants to make the NHL.

    26Aleksi Hemosalmi2nd Round
    27Simon Robertsson2nd Round
    28Oskar Olausson2nd Round
    29Samu Tuomaala2nd Round
    30Brent Johnson2nd Round
    31Tyler Boucher2nd Round
    32Scott Morrow2nd Round
    33Kirill Kirsanov2nd Round
    34Sasha Pastujov2nd Round
    35Wyatt Johnston2nd Round
    36Xavier Bourgault2nd Round
    37Zachary Dean2nd Round
    38Dylan Duke2nd Round
    39Artyom Martino2nd Round
    40Matthiew Knies2nd Round
    41Jack Bar2nd Round
    42Riley Kidney2nd Round
    43Alexander Kisakov2nd Round
    44Ethan Del Mastro2nd Round
    45Daniil Chayka2nd Round
    46Olen Zellweger2nd Round
    47Prokhor Poltapov2nd Round
    48Zachary Bolduc2nd Round
    49Shai Buium2nd Round
    50Zachary L’Heureux2nd Round
    51Zack Ostapchuk2nd Round
    52Benjamin Gaudreau2nd Round
    53Tristan Broz2nd round

    I gave 31 players a 3rd/4th Round grade. Lists deviate more and more in this range, so a team does not need as many targets to have the ability to select one of them. An NHL team could walk into a 3rd round with a list of 5 targets and would likely be able to pick one.

    Aatu Raty at 56th will be a controversial ranking. For the record, I never understood the 1st overall hype. My top-3 at this point last year was Clarke, Lambos, and Power. I try to assess Raty independently of his previous hype—which he still rides on, to an extent—and instead analyze his body of work. I like his shot. and his motor is a strength. I don’t see very much potential as a playmaker and I’d like him to improve his skating. Probably a winger if he pans out.

    Chase Stillman (58), Samuel Helenius (62), Sean Tschigerl (68), Victor Stjernborg (71), and Red Savage (72) are all forwards that are quite projectable but most likely bottom-6ers if they hit. For defensemen, Svozil (54) and Grushnikov (55) have higher floors than most in this range. I can’t say I understand the 1st round hype for either, though.

    Simon Motew (75) and Francesco Arcuri (79) are the two players in this range that will likely go a lot lower than where I have them. I wouldn’t put money on either making the NHL, but there’s a lot to like. Both have interesting statistical profiles, having produced in different leagues due to the OHL’s cancellation. Motew is a defenseman with excellent skill and skating that tore up the USPHL in a way that has not been seen before. Defensive game needs improvement. Arcuri is a playmaking center with outstanding creativity, but also needs to improve defensively. Both players impressed at the PBHH Invitational showcase this year and could have big seasons back in the OHL next season.

    54Stanislav Svozil3rd/4th Round
    55Artyom Grushnikov3rd/4th Round
    56Aatu Raty3rd/4th Round
    57Ryder Korczak3rd/4th Round
    58Chase Stillman3rd/4th Round
    59William Stromgren3rd/4th Round
    60Ville Koivunen3rd/4th Round
    61Sean Behrens3rd/4th Round
    62Samuel Helenius3rd/4th Round
    63Evan Nause3rd/4th Round
    64Oliver Kapanen3rd/4th Round
    65Colton Dach3rd/4th Round
    66Justin Janicke3rd/4th Round
    67Samu Salminen3rd/4th Round
    68Sean Tschigerl3rd/4th Round
    69Danila Klimovich3rd/4th Round
    70Cameron Whynot3rd/4th Round
    71Victor Stjernborg3rd/4th Round
    72Red Savage3rd/4th Round
    73Ryan Winterton3rd/4th Round
    74James Malatesta3rd/4th Round
    75Simon Motew3rd/4th Round
    76Liam Dower Nilsson3rd/4th Round
    77Aidan Hreschuk3rd/4th Round
    78Ilya Fedotov3rd/4th Round
    79Francesco Arcuri3rd/4th Round
    80Logan Mailloux3rd/4th Round
    81Jayden Grubbe3rd/4th Round
    82Ryan Ufko3rd/4th Round
    83Conner Roulette3rd/4th Round
    84Ty Gallagher3rd/4th Round
    85Topias Vilen3rd/4th Round

    Rounds 5-7 (86-129)

    I have 43 prospects pegged for the final 3 rounds. As I mentioned earlier, I believe a number of OHLers—particularly those without international exposure—are being slept on this year due to their lack of a season. As a result, the players I have in this tier are quite OHL-heavy, with 11 of the 43 prospects coming from there. This group is arranged alphabetically, not ranked.

    Anton Olsson
    Avery Hayes
    Benjamin Roger
    Bryce Montgomery
    Cameron MacDonald
    Cole Huckins
    Cole Jordan
    Connor Lockhart
    David Gucciardi
    Dmitri Katelevsky
    Dmitri Kostenko
    Dmitri Kuzmin
    Eric Alarie
    Florian Elias
    Guillaume Richard
    Jack Beck
    Jack Matier
    Jackson Blake
    Jacob Guevin
    Jacob Martin
    Jake Chiasson
    Jakub Brabenec
    Jonathan Myrenberg
    Josh Bloom
    Joshua Roy
    Liam Gilmartin
    Lorenzo Canonica
    Manix Landry
    Marcus Almquist
    Nolan Allan
    Olivier Nadeau
    Peter Reynolds
    Roman Schmidt
    Ryan Mast
    Stuart Rolofs
    Tristan Lennox
    Ty Voit
    Victor Sjoholm
    Viljami Juusola
    Viljami Marjala
    Vincent Iorio
    Vladislav Lukashevich
    William Trudeau

    Top-10 Grade

    1. Brandt Clarke
    2. Owen Power
    3. Luke Hughes
    4. Matthew Beniers
    5. William Eklund
    6. Dylan Guenther
    7. Kent Johnson
    8. Simon Edvinsson

    Top-20 Grade

    9. Carson Lambos
    10. Mason McTavish
    11. Jesper Wallstedt
    12. Sebastian Cossa
    13. Fabian Lysell
    14. Matthew Coronato
    15. Cole Sillinger
    16. Mackie Samoskevich
    17. Chaz Lucius

    1st Round Grade

    18. Fyodor Svechkov
    19. Francesco Pinelli
    20. Jack Peart
    21. Isak Rosen
    22. Nikita Chibrikov
    23. Brennan Othmann
    24. Corson Ceulemans
    25. Logan Stankoven

    2nd Round Grade

    26. Aleksi Hemosalmi
    27. Simon Robertsson
    28. Oskar Olausson
    29. Samu Tuomaala
    30. Brent Johnson
    31. Tyler Boucher
    32. Scott Morrow
    33. Kirill Kirsanov
    34. Sasha Pastujov
    35. Wyatt Johnston
    36. Xavier Bourgault
    37. Zachary Dean
    38. Dylan Duke
    39. Artyom Martino
    40. Matthiew Knies
    41. Jack Bar
    42. Riley Kidney
    43. Alexander Kisakov
    44. Ethan Del Mastro
    45. Daniil Chayka
    46. Olen Zellweger
    47. Prokhor Poltapov
    48. Zachary Bolduc
    49. Shai Buium
    50. Zachary L’Heureux
    51. Zack Ostapchuk
    52. Benjamin Gaudreau
    53. Tristan Broz

    3rd/4th Round Grade

    54. Stanislav Svozil
    55. Artyom Grushnikov
    56. Aatu Raty
    57. Ryder Korczak
    58. Chase Stillman
    59. William Stromgren
    60. Ville Koivunen
    61. Sean Behrens
    62. Samuel Helenius
    63. Evan Nause
    64. Oliver Kapanen
    65. Colton Dach
    66. Justin Janicke
    67. Samu Salminen
    68. Sean Tschigerl
    69. Danila Klimovich
    70. Cameron Whynot
    71. Victor Stjernborg
    72. Red Savage
    73. Ryan Winterton
    74. James Malatesta
    75. Simon Motew
    76. Liam Dower Nilsson
    77. Aidan Hreschuk
    78. Ilya Fedotov
    79. Francesco Arcuri
    80. Logan Mailloux
    81. Jayden Grubbe
    82. Ryan Ufko
    83. Conner Roulette
    84. Ty Gallagher
    85. Topias Vilen

    Rounds 5-7, unranked

    Anton Olsson
    Avery Hayes
    Benjamin Roger
    Bryce Montgomery
    Cameron MacDonald
    Cole Huckins
    Cole Jordan
    Connor Lockhart
    David Gucciardi
    Dmitri Katelevsky
    Dmitri Kostenko
    Dmitri Kuzmin
    Eric Alarie
    Florian Elias
    Guillaume Richard
    Jack Beck
    Jack Matier
    Jackson Blake
    Jacob Guevin
    Jacob Martin
    Jake Chiasson
    Jakub Brabenec
    Jonathan Myrenberg
    Josh Bloom
    Joshua Roy
    Liam Gilmartin
    Lorenzo Canonica
    Manix Landry
    Marcus Almquist
    Nolan Allan
    Olivier Nadeau
    Peter Reynolds
    Roman Schmidt
    Ryan Mast
    Stuart Rolofs
    Tristan Lennox
    Ty Voit
    Victor Sjoholm
    Viljami Juusola
    Viljami Marjala
    Vincent Iorio
    Vladislav Lukashevich
    William Trudeau

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