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DRAFT: Top Defensive Prospects in the 2021 NHL Draft

Get to know some of the top defensemen available in the 2021 NHL Draft

by Blackhawks.com Staff / Blackhawks.com

On Monday, we took a look at some of the best forwards available in this year's draft, and now we move on to the top defensemen available as ranked by NHL Central Scouting. 

Here are some of the top names that could be available when Chicago goes on the clock at No. 12 overall: 


North American Skaters

1. Owen Power, D (Michigan - NCAA)

  • "Power is a big presence with good vision and strength and has the look of a top-pair NHL defenseman. The 18-year-old scored two power-play goals and led Michigan with 40 blocked shots." - Mike Morreale, NHL.com
  • "Defensemen as big (6-foot-6, 213 pounds) and as skilled as Power don't come along very often. The 18-year-old has the potential to be a top-pair defenseman who can play in all situations, and his skating and hockey instincts should help him acclimate quickly to the pace of the NHL." - Adam Kimelman, NHL.com 

2. Luke Hughes, D (U.S. NTDP)

  • "Hughes is a brilliant skater and arguably the draft's best transition defender as a result. His ability to take the puck from A to B in straight lines is also matched by deft edgework which allows him to circle the offensive zone to draw eyeballs once he gets there. He has a lot of room to grow." - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
  • "Hughes is a great skater capable of playing a smart defensive game with good poise and reads." - Mike Morreale, NHL.com

3. Brandt Clarke, D (Barrie - OHL)

  • "He is a dynamic player with the puck because of his puck skills and playmaking ability. He has the poise and vision to make tough plays from both ends of the rink. He can beat opponents with his skill consistently and looks unique with the puck on his stick, with true first power-play unit potential in the NHL." - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
  • "Clarke is an outstanding two-way right-shot defenseman capable of skating the puck out of trouble in the defensive zone or making a smart, accurate pass to start a breakout." - Adam Kimelman, NHL.com 

4. Carson Lambos, D (Winnipeg - WHL)

  • "There's a lot to like (and very little to dislike) about his game. He's athletic, he's confident on the attack, he puts himself in a lot of transition sequences, he's sturdy in engagements, his point shot pops, and he's a heady playmaker who is capable of beating the first layer of pressure to make something happen." - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
  • "Lambos is a two-way defenseman who has showcased good patience in the defensive zone and in transition. He played two games in the Western Hockey League before leaving the team to have a season-ending medical procedure." - Mike Morreale, NHL.com

5. Corson Ceulemans, D (Brooks - AJHL)

  • "Has the potential to become a top-four NHL defenseman able to play big minutes in all situations." - Mike Morreale, NHL.com
  • "The big right-shot defenseman is an outstanding skater who can lead the rush and use his speed to create chances in transition and in the offensive zone. The 18-year-old also knows how to use his mobility and long reach to keep opposing forwards to the outside." - Adam Kimelman, NHL.com 

European Skaters

1. Simon Edvinsson, D (Frolunda - SWE)

  • "The Swede's size and skating ability also put him into the realm of being a big minute-munching pro when he's fully developed. Edvinsson's game is maybe not as refined as it will be and he's still physically immature, but he's a top-notch defender." - Bob McKenzie, TSN
  • "Edvinsson's outstanding blend of size, skills and smarts is reminiscent of Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones. His skating is effective in getting pucks out of his zone, and he's elusive with it in creating offensive chances for himself and teammates." - Adam Kimelman, NHL.com 

2. Danil Chayka, D (CSKA - RUS)

  • "He's a big defenseman who can skate like an NHLer and make a good first pass, which has a lot of value. The offense in his game will never be flashy other than his hard point shot… Chayka has top-pair athletic tools but projects as a second-pair NHL defenseman due to a lack of offense." - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
  • "Has been a winner at every level for a variety of teams internationally and domestically. Spent this season playing back in Russia on loan, with stints in the KHL, VHL and MHL." - Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet

3. Stanislav Svozil, D (Brno - CZE)

  • "Stands out with the puck on his stick, has slick hands and the ability to fool checkers with his one-on-one plays. He's a creative passer who makes a strong outlet and has blue line poise… Projects to play NHL games on a third pair with enough offense to advance up a lineup." - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
  • "When he attacks and plays with confidence, he can look like an entry machine who dictates play when he's on the ice… He's got good hands and mobility, particularly moving forward." - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

4. Dmitri Kostenko, D (Spartak - RUS)

  • "He stands out with the puck on his stick, has slick hands and the ability to fool checkers with his one-on-one plays. He's a creative passer who makes a strong outlet and has blue line poise… Projects to play NHL games on a third pair with enough offense to advance up a lineup." - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
  • "He was a good VHL defenceman this year and a dominant all-situations one when he played in the MHL, dictating play in all three zones and really breaking teams down off of the point inside the offensive zone with his ability to open up structure and facilitate east-to-west… He's got power-play upside and a polished defensive game. There's really nothing about where he's at that worries me." - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
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