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Torie Peterson takes a shot at predicting the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson /

Ahead of the draft, which will be held virtually July 23 & 24,'s Torie Peterson took a shot at predicting the first round:



1. Buffalo Sabres - Owen Power - D - Michigan (NCAA)

He's a 6-foot-6, 213-lb. defender who can skate, has incredible vision, and boatloads of skill who will be hard to pass up among all available options in this year's draft class. After a tremendous freshman season with Michigan, the Mississauga native showcased his skill on the international stage, winning gold with Andrew Mangiapane and Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Championship.

2. Seattle Kraken - Matty Beniers - C - Michigan (NCAA)

A two-way centre with unwavering work ethic, Beniers could prove to be a cornerstone player for the Kraken for years to come. In his freshman season, he averaged an impressive point-per-game in 24 skates and led all first-year draft-eligible NCAA skaters in goals (10). Like Power, he was called upon by his country for the 2021 IIHF World Championship and earned a top-six role up front before a lower-body injury took him out of the tournament.

3. Anaheim Ducks - William Eklund - LW - Djurgarden (SHL)

With skill, speed and creativity in spades, the SHL's Rookie of the Year has the potential to be an extremely productive top-six forward at the NHL level. Eklund is a superb playmaker but he doesn't just act as a set-up man. He's more than able to finish off plays thanks to a deceptive, hard shot. He adds a dynamic element to any forward group.

4. New Jersey Devils - Luke Hughes - D - USA U-18 (NTDP)

One of the "Big Four" defencemen available in this year's class, Hughes is set to carry on the family tradition and hear his name called early in the first round of the draft. He's an incredible skater, is a strong in transition, and has offensive upside that will lend itself well at the pro level. Given his skillset, he could develop into a top-pairing NHL defender.

5. Columbus Blue Jackets - Simon Edvinsson - D - Frolunda (SHL)

At 6-foot-4 and 198-lb., Edvinsson has the size and tools NHL clubs want to see in defensive prospects. He's agile on his skates, has a ton of offensive upside and plays without an ounce of fear, readily jumping into any situation with gusto. The Kungsbacka product split time this season between Frolunda's junior squad (one goal, six points in 14 games), Vasteras IK (five points in 14 games) and in the SHL with Frolunda's pro team (one point in 10 games).



6. Detroit Red Wings - Dylan Guenther - RW - Edmonton (WHL)

While his season was limited to 12 games, the Edmonton product was extremely effective in that short stretch with 12 goals and 24 points for the Oil Kings. He's dangerous anywhere in the offensive zone with the ability to score from any angle and his skating and stickhandling make it difficult to take the puck from him.

7. San Jose Sharks - Jesper Wallstedt - G - Lulea (SHL)

At age 18, Wallstedt looks like a seasoned pro. He reads plays exceptionally well and is in position the vast majority of time, making most saves look easy. He's rarely forced to make desperation saves and when he does, he settles back into the game immediately and remains poised and calm. At 6-foot-3 and 214-lb., he boasts the frame NHL clubs like to see in their starting netminders.

8. LA Kings - Kent Johnson - C - Michigan (NCAA)

Johnson may be a bit overshadowed amongst the chatter around teammates Power and Beniers but the B.C.-born forward has plenty of talent that will serve him well at the next level. At 6-foot-1 and 167-lb., he's going to need to focus on adding strength to transition to the pro game but he's an incredibly creative forward who handles the puck with the utmost of ease.



Mock Draft - Dittrick | Mock Draft - Medina


9. Vancouver Canucks - Mason McTavish - C - Peterborough (OHL)

Without an OHL season, McTavish hopped over to Switzerland to play for EHC Olten and ended with nine goals and 11 points in 13 regular-season games, and two goals and seven points in four postseason appearances. Known for his scoring ability, the forward plays a feisty, heavy game that can wear down defenders.

10. Ottawa Senators - Brandt Clarke - D - Barrie (OHL)

Like McTavish, Clarke opted to head overseas where he was able to flourish with Nove Zamsky in Slovakia's top league. In 26 regular-season games, he had five goals and 15 points. He's gifted with the puck, making difficult plays look easy both in the offensive and defensive zone, and can quarterback a powerplay.

11. Forfeited Pick

The NHL directed the forfeiture of this pick in sanctions against the Arizona Coyotes.

12. Chicago Blackhawks - Chaz Lucius - C - USA U-18 (NTDP)

Lucius is a natural goal-scorer, finding endless ways to light the lamp during his tenure with the US National Team Development Program. After missing time due to injury, the Minnesotan scored 13 goals and 18 points in 12 games with the USNTDP, and then 13 goals and 20 points in 13 games with the U.S. U18 squad. From his wrist shot to his backhand to his slapshot, he's got plenty of high-end tools to find the back of the net.



13. Calgary Flames - Cole Sillinger - C - Sioux Falls (USHL)

With WHL's delayed start, Sillinger opted to head to the USHL to get as many games in as possible in his draft-eligible season and it paid off. The forward led the Sioux Falls Stampede with 24 goals and 46 points in 31 games and was one of the league's best players in 2020-21. In addition to skill, Sillinger plays a bullish game and once he has possession of the puck, an opponent is going to go all-out to take it away from him. His work ethic never waivers, earning him plenty of praise from coaches throughout his junior career.

14. Philadelphia Flyers - Fabian Lysell - RW - Lulea (SHL)

Lysell's numbers in Sweden's top league don't jump off the page at you - three points in 26 skates - but the 5-foot-10, 172-lb. winger has plenty of upside. He's extremely quick on his feet and his mobilitiy is second-to-none, making it nearly impossible to slow him down in the offensive zone. Thanks to that speed, he has been able to produce plenty of offence at the junior level, putting up 13 points in 11 games with Frolunda's U20 squad, and registering nine points in seven games at the U18 Worlds.

15. Dallas Stars - Carson Lambos - D - Winnipeg (WHL)

While Lambos wasn't able to get in as many games as he would have liked this season due to injury, his body of work over the past couple of years should solidify him as a Top-20 pick. He's been relied upon in all situations by the coaching staff in Winnipeg and during a short stint in Finland this season he showed off his offensive abilities and averaged almost a point-per-game with JYP's junior team.

16. New York Rangers - Matthew Coronato - RW - Chicago (USHL)

Coronato had a tremendous season with the Chicago Steel, scoring 48 goals and 85 points in 51 regular-season games, which ranked him second in the USHL. He also ranked first in the league with eight game-winning goals and 19 powerplay tallies, and second amongst all USHL skaters with 191 shots. In the playoffs, the winger managed nine goals and 13 points in eight skates.

17. St. Louis Blues - Corson Ceulemans - D - Brooks (AJHL)

A right-handed, hulking defenceman who has been tasked with playing a multitude of roles, Ceulemans impressed scouts in a short AJHL season (11 points through eight skates) and at the U18s, where he put up eight points in six contests with Canada. The Regina product likes to play a heavy, aggressive game and regularly makes forecheckers pay the price in the defensive zone. He's committed to the University of Wisconsin next season.

18. Winnipeg Jets - Sebastian Cossa - G - Edmonton (WHL)

With Wallstedt off the board, teams looking to shore up their goaltending depth will want to grab Edmonton's starter. Cossa has all the tools to develop into a capable NHL starter: he's extremely athletic and moves through his crease with ease, tracks pucks exceptionally well, and has the size clubs love at 6-foot-6 and 210-lb. In 2021, he went 17-1-1 with a 1.57 GAA and a .941 save percentage.



19. Nashville Predators - Fedor Svechkov - C - Togliatti (VHL)

Scouts were able to see how the Russian forward fared at the pro level this season during his time in the VHL, scoring 15 points in 38 games against men. He's a strong two-way centre, with the ability to act as a playmaker or finisher with the puck. In addition to his offensive upside, he has proven to be a strong defensive player and can also kill penalties.

20. Edmonton Oilers - Brennan Othmann - LW - Flint (OHL)

Like McTavish, Othmann headed over to Switzerland to get playing in amid the uncertainty around the OHL season. Othmann may not be the fastest skater in this year's draft class but he makes up for it with plenty of skill and a nose for the net. In 34 games with Olten, he scored seven goals and 16 points and at the U18s, he had three goals and six points in seven games with Canada.

21. Boston Bruins - Xavier Bourgault - C - Shawinigan (QMJHL)

Bourgault has been an offensive dynamo for Shawinigan, putting up 20 goals and 40 points in 29 games this season and registering 60 goals and 131 points in 154 career regular-season games. He's extremely dangerous with the puck and is confident making plays. Given his skill with the puck and ability to read the play in the offensive zone, he is a perfect addition to a powerplay unit.

22. Minnesota Wild - Nikita Chibrikov - RW - Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)

Size is what will likely push Chibrikov to be selected in this range of the draft. He's 5-foot-10 and 170-lb. but despite a smaller stature, he spent most of the season playing against men in the VHL and KHL, holding his own in both leagues. He's been able to thrive throughout his career due to superb vision and playmaking skills.

23. Detroit Red Wings (via Washington) - Oskar Olausson - RW - HV71 (SHL)

Offensive production hasn't been an issue for Olausson, a natural goal scorer throughout his career, and that should translate to the NHL level thanks to his puck skills and shoot-first mentality. Olausson spent time in the SHL and with HV71's junior club this past season, as well as a stint with Södertälje SK in HockeyAllsvenskan.

24. Florida Panthers - Kirill Kirsanov - D - St. Petersburg (KHL)

A solid all-around defender, Kirsanov played 29 games in the KHL last season and didn't look out of place in Russia's top league. He takes care of business in his own zone and could be a capable shutdown defenceman at the NHL level. He caught plenty of eyes during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, where his mature, poised play stood out among his peers.



25. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Toronto) - Aatu Raty - C - Karpat (Liiga)

Raty's up-and-down journey to draft day has been well-documented but the raw talent that the Finn possesses could bode well for a team who takes the time to work through his development. He's strong on the puck, can make skilled plays in tight areas, and he's shown in past years that he has high offensive upside.

26. Minnesota Wild (via Pittsburgh) - Isak Rosen - RW - Leksand (SHL)

At the junior levels, Rosen has shown he can make tremendously skilled plays and pull crowds to their feet with his puck work and speed. He's also proven himself to be a reliable two-way player, making smart plays in the neutral zone and can act as penalty killer. At 5-foot-11 and 156-lb., he will need to work on his strength to ensure that skill translates at the next level.

27. Carolina Hurricanes - Zachary Bolduc - C - Rimouski (QMJHL)

Bolduc was Rimouski's offensive driver this past season, leading the team with 29 points through 27 regular-season games. He's a very strong, agile skater who has the ability to make plays at high speeds and can elude defenders when going one-on-one with them.

28. Colorado Avalanche - Wyatt Johnson - C - Windsor (OHL)

With the OHL season never getting started, Johnson's playing time in 2020-21 was limited to his time at the U18s with Canada (4 points in 7 games). However, scouts who have watched him in Windsor the year prior know that the forward is a crafty playmaker who pays attention to the details of his game and coaches will love to work with.

29. New Jersey Devils (via New York) - Daniil Chayka - D - CSKA (KHL)

Chayka bounced around in Russia this season but did get in 11 games in the KHL, picking up one goal and two points. Physically, he's ready to play at the pro level at 6-foot-3 and 187-lb. and he's very adept at playing in his own zone, with solid positioning and stick work.

30. Vegas Golden Knights - Sasha Pastujov - LW - USA U-18 (NTDP)

Pastujov was incredibly productive over the 2020-21 campaign, scoring 30 goals and 65 points in 41 games at the NTDP level and 10 goals and 26 points in 18 games at the USHL level. When he has the puck, he can be electric. Pastujov is committed to the University of Notre Dame.



31. Montreal Canadiens - Logan Stankoven - C - Kamloops (WHL)

If Stankoven falls out of the first round, it will be due to his size (5-foot-8, 170-lb.), not because of a lack of skill. He's excellent with the puck, has an NHL-ready shot, and is agile on his skates, allowing him to weave through traffic and elude checks. In six games with Kamloops, he had 10 points, and in seven games at the U18s, he had 8 points.

32. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Tampa) - Francesco Pinelli - C - Kitchener (OHL)

Pinelli will offer a team a centre who thrives when he has the puck on his stick. With the OHL season stalled, he opted to play in Austria where he put up 11 points in 13 games. He also piled up the points at the U18s, with 11 points in seven skates.

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