Kevin Musto's 2021 NHL Draft Ranking - Top 32

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  1. Kevin Musto Ian Mitchell's #1 Fan

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    PROSPECT RANKING
    WRITE-UP
    1. LW William EklundDjurgårdens IF, SHL
    [5’10”. 172lbs. Born on October 12, 2002.]

    There isn’t a unanimous #1 in this draft, but Eklund is the most elite player available. He’s one of the best scorers in the draft. Just really good shot selection. His sharp offensive awareness makes him a shrewd playmaker as well. He’s a player that is constantly generating offense. He can create his own shot and opportunities for his linemates out of nothing. When Eklund is on the ice, he’s always a positive force. If I’m a coach and I’m in desperate need of a goal, Eklund is my go-to guy.
    2. C Matthew BeniersUniv. of Michigan, NCAA
    [6’1”. 174lbs. Born on November 5, 2002.]

    Confident 2-way minded center that doesn’t give up on plays. Excellent compete level. Has moments where his decision making isn’t the best, but he always works hard to rectify his mistakes. Plays like a hybrid of Mat Barzal and Mark Stone, with a hint of Brandon Saad. Beniers has the ability to be a very disruptive force on the ice.
    3. C/W Kent JohnsonUniv. of Michigan, NCAA
    [6’1”. 165lbs. Born on October 18, 2002.]

    Honed instincts and all the offensive tools in the world. Johnson is a superb puck handler and has a way of slowing things down when he wants to. He needs some more time in college to iron out some kinks, but you’ve got a player here that can do things that nobody else in this draft can. When he’s at his best, Johnson can look like Patrick Kane.
    4. LD Luke HughesU18's, USNTDP
    [6’2”. 176lbs. Born on September 9, 2003.]

    Mobile and active defenseman. He got a lot better as the season went on, which makes sense given how young he is. The progress he’s shown has been very promising. Let’s be clear here. He can’t do all the special things that his brother Quinn can do. Luke needs to learn to reign in the flashy plays, or find a way to make them work on a more consistent basis. But in this year’s draft he gives you more upside than any other defenseman available.
    5. G Jesper WallstedtLuleå HF, SHL
    [6’3”. 214lbs. Born on November 14, 2002.]

    The best goalie prospect I’ve ever scouted. Better than Askarov and Knight. He’s been consistently top tier for years and has made playing in the SHL look easy at his age. Wallstedt is a franchise goalie in the making.
    6. RW Fabian LysellLuleå HF, SHL
    [5’10”. 172lbs. Born on January 19, 2003.]

    Hard forcheker, great playmaker. Mitch Marner style winger that has lots of skill. His shifty edge work makes him hard to catch. Has the ability to pull off ankle breaking dekes. Needs to improve his strength so he’s not as easy to push around, but the potential is high.
    7. RD Brandt ClarkeHC Nove Zamky, Slovakia
    [6’2”. 190lbs. Born on February 9, 2003.]

    He plays a lot like the 4th forward on the ice. This leads to his positioning being out of whack, but he’s also very mobile so he can correct these mistakes pretty quickly. He’s always keeping his feet moving and staying active. Personally, he plays a lot more offensive than I like out of a defenseman but if you look at someone such as Erik Karlsson, he's a type of defenseman that can prove to be very effective. Clarke is still a work in progress. A patient development approach with him could yield a really great player. Ceiling is worth betting on.
    8. LD Owen PowerUniv. of Michigan, NCAA
    [6’5”. 214lbs. Born on November 22, 2002.]

    A jack of all trades, master of none player with a huge size advantage. He doesn’t have the ability to really take over a game, which I think takes him out of the elite conversation. Regardless, you're getting a solid blueliner here although he will likely get drafted higher than he should.
    9. RW Dylan GuentherEdmonton Oil Kings, WHL
    [6’1”. 181lbs. Born on April 10, 2003.]

    Had a great D-1 year, and a great return to the WHL’s limited run this season. Guenther is a fleet-footed skater that can do a lot of offensive damage when the puck is on his stick. He’ll be expected to be a key contributor at the NHL level.
    10. LD Kirill KirsanovSKA St. Petersburg, KHL
    [6’1”. 198lbs. Born on September 19, 2002.]

    An instinctual defender that plays both special teams. Has an active stick when defending. Always tying up attackers and throwing little stick lifts here and there to catch the opposition off guard. He's a nice, agile skater that's good at getting the puck on net. He’s confident to take it upon himself to get things going. Physically strong too and sticks to his man. Passes the puck with pinpoint accuracy. He neutralizes the opposition with ease, and has the stamina to eat up big minutes. This is the player every coach will trust to play during crucial moments. My personal favourite prospect in the whole draft.
    11. C Chaz LuciusU18's, USNTDP
    [6’0”. 172lbs. Born on May 2, 2003.]

    High intensity center that makes decisions with the puck that are wise beyond his years. Has the versatility to play wing as well. A superb offensive skill set that needs some refinement. Needs to improve his strength while he develops at the University of Minnesota.
    12. C Cole SillingerSioux Falls Stampede, USHL
    [6’0”. 201lbs. Born on May 16, 2003.]

    Has the strength to bulldoze his way through traffic. Sillinger has a diverse arsenal of offensive moves which makes him a scoring threat anytime he enters the offensive zone. There are legitimate concerns with his skating which will make him a dicey pick, but he has the upside to be one of the draft’s top scorers.
    13. RW Simon RobertssonSkellefteå AIK, SHL
    [6’0”. 190lbs. Born on February 5, 2003.]

    Hard working winger that makes things happen when he’s on the ice, whether it’s on or off the puck. Generates a lot of power behind his skating. Has been able to develop a respectable defensive acumen by playing a bottom 6 role for Skellefteå. Robertsson also has a scary shot.
    14. C Mason McTavishEHC Olten, SL
    [6’2”. 207lbs. Born on January 30, 2003.]

    Big, strong, center with very good hand eye coordination. A great net front presence. McTavish likes to park himself in front of the goalie and bat in deflections and any loose pucks around the crease. Plays a style of game that projects well to the NHL level.
    15. RD Scott MorrowShattuck St. Mary's, USHS-Prep
    [6’2”. 192lbs. Born on November 1, 2002.]

    Plays with a piercing attention for detail. Morrow has the confidence to be an effective puck mover. Has speedy lateral movement and edgework, which is great to see out of a defender with his size. Terrific work ethic, and possess those intangible qualities. Generates a lot of offensive chances. The perfect brand of defenseman for today’s game.
    16. LD Simon EdvinssonFrölunda HC, SHL
    [6’5”. 207lbs. Born on February 5, 2003.]

    His size is a big plus, but I really question his IQ and awareness on both ends. It seems like he can only play in the moment, but can’t think several steps ahead. This really hampers his decision making because good or bad, he doesn’t seem to understand the consequence of his actions. He just does it and hopes the outcome is in his favour. Edvinsson at his best is probably a top 10 pick, but the inconsistencies in his play pose a problem.
    17. C Fyodor SvechkovLada Togliatti, VHL
    [6’0”. 179lbs. Born on April 5, 2003.]

    Hard working and tenacious player that puts a lot of pressure on his opponents. Good physical strength. His deceptiveness plays tricks on goalies. Makes it very hard to read if he’s going to shoot or pass. Intelligent defensively.
    18. RW Logan StankovenKamloops Blazers, WHL
    [5’8”. 170lbs. Born on February 26, 2003.]

    There’s a level of risk involved drafting a player who hardly played this season, but Stankoven’s D-1 year is too good to ignore. He’s got quick hands and a release like a bullet. Blink, and the puck is already in the back of the net. Stankoven can get his shot off from anywhere on the ice.
    19. LD Stanislav SvozilHC Kometa Brno, Czech
    [6’1”. 179lbs. Born on January 17, 2003.]

    He played respectable minutes in the top Czech men’s league, and didn’t look at all out of place. He also played at this level in his D-1 year. His skating, vision, and passing are all positive traits. Sound puck mover.
    20. C Peter ReynoldsSaint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL
    [5’10”. 168lbs. Born on January 20, 2003.]

    A two way playmaker that exhibits great teamwork. Very active awareness, and has the ability to enhance the players around him. Lacks a punchy shot, but he puts in lots of effort on all ends of the ice. His passing ability is among the best in the draft thanks to his astute awareness. Should have a fruitful NHL career. Equivalent to a floor general in basketball.
    21. C Matthew SamoskevichChicago Steel, USHL
    [5’11”. 190lbs. Born on November 15, 2002.]

    This guy is good at hockey. An elite skater, handles the puck with ease even at top speed, and has an active stick. I’m not sure why his stats aren’t as inflated as his teammate, Matthew Coronato. While I think Coronato is a safer pick with the higher floor, I think Samoskevich has more upside and room to grow.
    22. RW Isak RosénLeksands IF, SHL
    [5’11”. 161lbs. Born on March 15, 2003.]

    His size is a noticeable deterrent, and he can be prone to disappearing on the ice, but I think these issues are a result of Rosen being brought up to the SHL too early. He has struggled with his confidence and physical immaturity at that level. When playing against his age group he’s able to shine on both ends of the ice, though still too passive physically.
    23. C Xavier BourgaultShawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL
    [6’0”. 172lbs. Born on October 22, 2002.]

    Primarily a playmaker, but his scoring is hardly a secondary trait. He does it just as well. Bourgault has good awareness and vision when he’s making plays in transition and the offensive zone. Needs more defensive consistency.
    24. LD Carson LambosWinnipeg Ice, WHL
    [6’1”. 201lbs. Born on January 14, 2003.]

    Two way defenseman. He had a forgettable outing in Finland this year, so it’s up to him to prove that he can be the player he was hyped up to be in his D-1 year. With a return to a more comfortable setting in Winnipeg, hopefully he can do just that.
    25. RW Oskar OlaussonHV71, SHL
    [6’2”. 181lbs. Born on November 10, 2002.]

    Quick accelerator that can burn his way down the rink. Could end up a solid 3rd line scoring option. Needs to work on defensive lapses in his own end. Would be nice to see him be more physically assertive.
    26. RW Nikita ChibrikovSKA St. Petersburg, KHL
    [5’10”. 172lbs. Born on February 16, 2003.]

    Offensive winger that carries the puck with control. He’s one of the better skaters you’ll find in this year’s draft which makes it tricky to defend him. Despite his size, he’s willing to engage in contact. Chibrikov has a really low center of gravity. Needs to work on his consistency in the defensive end. Sometimes too reckless.
    27. C Zach DeanGatineau Olympiques, QMJHL
    [6’0”. 176lbs. Born on January 4, 2003.]

    Elusive puck handler that can slip past the opposition with ease. His natural skill should make him an appealing option towards the end of the first round. He needs to be afforded the patience to really refine his abilities.
    28. C Francesco PinelliHDD Jesenice, AlpsHL
    [6’1”. 185lbs. Born on April 11, 2003.]

    A victim of the OHL not running this season, but despite that Pinelli hasn’t been forgotten. He lacks pace in his play at times, and would benefit from more active defensive play, however he has an overall good set of skills. Difference maker when he wants to be.
    29. C Aatu RatyKärpät, Liiga
    [6’1”. 181lbs. Born on November 14, 2002.]

    Low IQ center that needs to fill out his lanky frame. Not very active. Outside of some flashes here and there, you have to squint really hard to see a true 1st rounder. Could be worth a swing with a late 1st, but he’ll likely be long gone before then. It’s hard to get excited for low IQ players.
    30. LW Brennan OthmannEHC Olten, SL
    [6’0”. 174lbs. Born on January 5, 2003.]

    Okay in most facets of the game. I’m not going to be the one to clamour for him at the draft table, but you could convince me to take him in the tail end of the 1st round.
    31. RD Corson CeulemansBrooks Bandits, AJHL
    [6’2”. 201lbs. Born on May 5, 2003.]

    It's never fun subjecting yourself to scouting the AJHL, but Ceulemans was the standout player from that league this year. He's got the size already, now he needs to prove that his level of play will translate to the next level. Playing at Wisconsin will give him that opportunity.
    32. LW Matthew CoronatoChicago Steel, USHL
    [5’10”. 183lbs. Born on November 14, 2002.]

    His point production this season can’t be ignored. Of course points aren’t everything, and when you watch Coronato play you’ll notice that he doesn’t really possess any elite traits. However he does everything well. Reminiscent of a poor man’s Jake Guentzel.
    REMAINDER OF MY BOARD
    LD Artyom Grushnikov, RD Ty Gallagher, LW Viljami Marjala, LD Daniil Chayka, G Sebastian Cossa, LD Tyson Hinds, LW Artyon Martino, C Ryder Korczak, C/LW Samu Salminen, LW William Strömgren, RW Samu Tuomaala, RD Brent Johnson, LD Jack Peart, RD Jake Martin, RW Jackson Blake, RW Ville Koivunen, C Cole Huckins, RW Marcus Almquist, C Danila Klimovich, C Zachary Bolduc, LW Liam Gilmartin, C Elias Stenman, LW Sasha Pastujov, LD Evan Nause, C Colton Dach, C Brett Harrison, C Dylan Duke, C Zachary L'Heureux, LD Olen Zellweger, LW James Hardie (OA), C Ethan Cardwell (OA), LD Janis Jérôme Moser (OA)
    HONOURABLE MENTIONS
    LW Ty Voit, RD Logan Mailloux, C Mark Yaruta, LD Dmitri Kuzmin, C Jack O’Brien, RW Chase Stillman, C/LW Conner Roulette, LW Matthew Knies, C Riley Kidney, C Trevor Wong, LW Zack Ostapchuk, LW Josh Doan (OA), LD Christoffer Sedoff (OA)
     
  2. Kevin Musto Ian Mitchell's #1 Fan

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    Another year, another draft. Thanks for checking out my yearly rankings. It was a busy year for me so I didn’t rank my 2nd round as per usual, but all the players are still there on my board. Feel free to share your thoughts!
     
  3. ConnorMcMullet #12 Colby Cave

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    Thanks for the list. Lots of interesting takes. Few things:

    1. What takes Sebastian Cossa out of your 1st round? I think he's a similar prospect to Wallstedt and arguably has more upside.

    2. If the remainder of your board is in order, Zachary Bolduc and Zachary L'Heureux are quite low. Why aren't you as high on them?

    3. Thoughts on Brent Johnson? Is he far off from making your 1st round?
     
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  4. Raian Registered User Sponsor

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    Eklund at 1OA is bold and I may actually agree

    I personally have Hughes as the highest upside player in the draft, with Eklund as the only sure-thing all-star

    I also like Beniers a lot as a 1C and Clarke as a top-2 dman
     
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  5. Favin Registered User

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    Nice - thanks for sharing that. Read every word.

    Brutal write-up on Raty.

    Different view of forwards from Quebec league. Reynolds, Dean over Bolduc, L'Heureux. Bold, like it.

    Also, I spy little Marcus Almquist in your 2nd round names (or "remainder" guys). Has there been something noteworthy recently on him? I have now seen his name a few times recently as top-50 candidate.
     
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  6. Kearns Bar Down Boeser

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    I really like that your list is not a regurgitation of what we are seeing a lot around the web. The write-ups are great. I like your read on Robertsson. I need to look more at Kirsanov now. I will be very curious to see where Raty goes, and how he progresses beyond the draft; we're not see this player the same. I am higher on Svechkov than you. Nice ranking!
     
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  7. Juxtaposer Outro: Divina Comedia

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    Boy, Eklund must be something special for you to rank him over a guy described as a mixture of Barzal and Stone (ie pretty much the perfect player).

    I understand that his year at Michigan wasn’t outstanding, but I saw Owen Power take over games at the WC this year. I also disagree that he doesn’t have outstanding attributes. I think he’s elite in transition, both offensively and defensively; he consistently puts Erik Karlsson-type stretch passes on the tape of forwards mid-stride, and defensively his ridiculous wingspan means that pretty much any puck coming near him will be scooped up. I think he definitely has flaws (he’s pretty poor at defending the cycle and his shot is just okay), but I don’t see how you can look at him and not see a guy with plus-plus skill. The only guys I can justify taking over him are your 1-2 guys, and possibly Hughes if you really believe in his projection.

    If you’ve watched him at all other than the U18, I’d love your thoughts on Zellweger. He’s interesting as a potential early second rounder.
     
  8. BondraTime Registered User

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    How did Lambos have a forgetful time in Finland, real strange comment to me
     
  9. Rabid Ranger 2 is better than one

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    What makes Wallstedt a tier up on Knight and Askarov?
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  10. Kevin Musto Ian Mitchell's #1 Fan

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    I'll be the first to admit that I'm not much of a goalie scout. In general I usually only rank one a year in my 1st round. Cossa would definitely be in that early 2nd round grouping for me. Size is a big plus with him and he had a good D-1 year which he improved upon this year. Unfortunately he didn't get to play a full season which in general has affected my rankings of the WHL guys a bit. It would have been really great to see how he handles the pressure of playoff hockey. I will say that relative to the strength of his team, I don't think his stats are as outstanding as they may seem. But as a Crawford/Hawks fan I'm also not a fan of the argument that the team in front of a goalie invalidates their play. Just something I wanted to mention with Cossa since the Oil Kings were the top team in the WHL this year.

    Remainder of my board is not in order! I think Bolduc is a very simple player. It's effective and he's got that calm composure when he's out there. I've also seen him be vocal on the ice and communicate with his team. So all these things are positive, but I don't think Bolduc does anything special that can kick his game into the next gear. I see him as a top 9 guy in the NHL. With L'Heureux he's just so immature that I simply couldn't invest a 1st round pick on him. A 1st rounder is someone you want to represent your franchise and L'Heureux whines and takes retaliation penalties when the refs don't agree with him or he gets frustrated. He's been suspended a bit because of these things. I also feel he lacks drive and his puck control needs work. But strength is a plus with him.

    No I wouldn't say Brent Johnson is far off from making my 1st round. I think he proved to be a really solid defenseman at the USHL level this year. Maybe like Zac Jones a couple years ago he's a bit underrated. Bob's list had Johnson as a 3rd rounder.
    Recently, I don't think so. Not since his season ended. But he played quite well at the Swedish junior level and with how young he is I think there's good room for growth.
    Yeah I think Zellweger is absolutely someone to look at in the early 2nd round. Everett has done a good job with developing D-men. Seeley, Juulsen, Murray, etc. And now Zellweger. He's not the biggest guy out there but he makes up for it in how well he can move around the ice. He's so shifty and can shake guys off of him so effortlessly. He's got good passing vision too. Just look at someone like Sam Girard and you can see how Zellweger could function in the NHL.
    For me it's the body of work. Wallstedt's resume is so impressive. He's been dominant since 14 or 15 years old. At no level has Wallstedt failed. He seems to me like the surest thing you can get at drafting a franchise goalie. And that's not a slight at Knight or Askarov who are also top prospects. I just think Wallstedt has accomplished more at this point in his career and he shows no signs of stopping.
     
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  11. PostFriend Registered User

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    My thoughts about 1.
    It's difficult to really compare these two goalie prospects as they compete at different levels. One plays in one of the world's best senior pro-hockey league, outside the NHL. One plays junior hockey. JW has proven that he can handle the step from junior level to senior at a young age. SC hasn't challenged that step yet.
    But the future will tell…
     
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  12. MuckOG The Brodin Effect

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    Interesting.

    Wild fan hoping for Pinelli at #21 and Lambos or Chayka at #26.

    I'm a believer in drafting BPA, but hoping to come out of the 1st round with a couple of centers or a center and a defenseman.
     
  13. Frk It Registered User

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    If you like Stankoven, you should love Coronato.
     
  14. Pavel Buchnevich Registered User

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    I personally prefer Coronato, but they play a little differently. Stankoven is more flashy, built like a truck, skates faster, and buzzes around the ice. Coronato picks his spots better, has the better hockey sense, and more playmaking ability.
     
  15. Frk It Registered User

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    Yeah not exactly the same, but both smaller goal scorers. I think Coronato has a more translatable skill set, guess I should have just said that lol.
     
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  16. Kevin Musto Ian Mitchell's #1 Fan

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    The bolded statement I agree with. It's the old floor vs ceiling debate. I think Coronato is the safer pick because he gives you more of a floor to work with. With Stankoven I like his upside more.
     
  17. Reddawg We're all mad here

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    I really appreciate the fresh and bold take, and personally agree 100% with your top three. As a Sabres fan, I’m feeling pretty resigned to the idea that we’re probably going to take Power, but I think Eklund is easily the most compelling and talented player in the 2021 draft. History will show he should be the #1 overall, so I hope we trade back and take him in the end. It won’t happen, but that’s my hope.
     
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  18. majormajor Registered User

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    I love the freshness of your list.

    I agree with a lot of what you say about the players I have seen - I tend to agree that Kirsanov and Morrow are going to be steals.

    I won't get on board with dropping Power and McTavish like that, I think there's a ton of upside with both, but overall great to see a bold and original list.
     
  19. Mrfenn92 Proud to be American

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    Where’s dylan?
     
  20. ShiroganeKvasha30 Registered User

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    Svechkov feels like a cirelli clone by the way hes written. I wanna see more defensive oriented centers who are responsible like that.
     
  21. ShiroganeKvasha30 Registered User

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    Raty is someone thats a complete project if you take him in round 1. you better hope that he develops in your system or its a waste of a pick. Theres also better centers available, and raty is a fringe 1st rounder at this rate. I dont get why central scouting put him at 3
     
  22. Favin Registered User

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    I agree with the rank, even a little high possibly, but I was referring to his commentary:

     
  23. kcunac Registered User

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    I also thought this when I read that.
     
  24. LDN Registered User

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    Power is going first overall. Not exactly rocket science .................
     
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  25. RememberTheName Fire Everybody

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    That doesn't mean everyone thinks he is the best player in the draft. He's pretty much a lock for 1st, yes, but in the eyes of some scouts, he is not the best player in the draft. This is not a prediction to where Power will go. This is OPs opinion on how the players should be ranked. If he did a mock draft, I am quite confident that he would have Buffalo picking Power #1, because that's what is likely to happen, even if he doesn't necessarily agree with it. I know I don't think Power is #1 in the draft, and I certainly wouldn't select him 1st if I had the 1st pick, but if I was to do a mock draft, I would have Power going 1st without thinking twice. There's a difference between personal ranking and mock draft, and not everything should align perfectly with the consensus.
     
    Love, SniperHF, Kearns and 9 others like this.

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