The 2021 NHL Draft is unlike past year's iterations with many of the draft-eligible prospects playing less than they had in previous seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with some of that uncertainty comes valuable opportunity.
With the 2020-21 season presenting travel and border restrictions as well as quarantining requirements, this year's prospects were only able to play in a limited number of games, many of which did not allow NHL scouts to be in attendance.
In Canada, the teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League logged anywhere from 16 to 43 outings while the Ontario Hockey League wasn't able to get any games in. In the United States, the USHL saw its clubs play between 49 and 54 contests and the NCAA also featured a limited schedule.
"With mystery comes opportunity. There are going to be some players that are selected maybe later this year that are going to be better than the guys selected before them," said Colorado Avalanche director of amateur scouting Wade Klippenstein. "There are some challenges. We have come up with some creative ways to try and simulate what we didn't see whether it's through our analytics department, whether it is through video or other means. I think every team has done their best with what we have to work with.