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Torie Peterson highlights eight forwards who could be diamonds in the rough in this year's draft

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson /

In addition to their first round pick, 12th overall*, the Flames own picks in the following rounds of the 2021 NHL Draft:

Round Two: 45th overall

Round Three: 77th overall

Round Three (via Edmonton): 84th overall**

Round Five: 141st overall

Round Six: 173rd overall

Round Seven: 205th overall

With this in mind,'s Torie Peterson has profiled eight forwards who may be available outside of the first round and could end up being potential diamonds in the rough:



Florian Elias - C - Adler Mannheim (DEL)

Height: 5-foot-8 Weight: 175 lb. Birthplace: Augsburg, Germany Shoots: Left

Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking (European Skaters): 39

After being passed over in last year's NHL Draft, Elias turned plenty of heads during the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship thanks to his four-goal, nine-point output during a five game stretch at the tournament. He then followed that performance up with a full season in Germany's top league, playing 34 games with Adler Mannheim and taking home DEL Rookie of the Year honours, an award last won by Tim Stützle (2020) and Moritz Seider (2019).


Tweet from @IIHFHockey: We got a game! Germany cuts the Russian lead to 2-1 in the 3rd period. @deb_teams Florian Elias with the 🚨🇩🇪 #WorldJuniors


An extremely intelligent player, his vision and anticipation allow him to be creative in the offensive zone and open up space for his linemates. He's a workhorse, known for his motor and relentlessness on the puck. His ability to read the game and his competitiveness has allowed him to make the jump and play against men, despite his small frame.

Photo courtesy of AS Sportfoto / Sörli Binder



Olivier Nadeau - RW - Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)

Height: 6-foot-2 Weight: 204 lb. Birthplace: Lac-Etchemin, QC Shoots: Right

Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking (North American Skaters): 101

The Cataractes winger put together an impressive 2021 campaign, leading his team in scoring with 13 goals and 45 points in 34 games - a 22-point increase from his 58-game 2019-20 season in Shawinigan. Nadeau has proven himself to be a workhorse, impressing the coaching staff with his work ethic and using that motor to outwork the competition in puck battles and in front of the net. With increased minutes, he was able to showcase his offensive skill set on a regular basis and the Cataractes greatly benefited from his playmaking abilities. He is able to draw opponents to him and ward them off physically while holding onto the puck, allowing his linemates to get into open ice and take a pass. He isn't shy about playing a physical game and utilizing his 6-foot-2, 204-lb. frame in any situation.


Tweet from @QMJHL: #HighlightOfTheNight | #QMJHL Olivier Nadeau snipes a perfect top corner shot on this @Cataractes_Shaw goal! 🎯


Photo courtesy of Shawinigan Cataractes / Jonathan Roy



Haakon Hänelt - C - Eisbären Berlin (DEL)

Height: 6-foot Weight: 194 lb. Birthplace: Berlin, Germany Shoots: Left

Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking (European Skaters): 56

Despite being one of the younger players in this year's draft class, the Berlin-born forward plays a mature, defensively reliable game that allowed him to play pro as a 17-year-old last season. His 200-foot game is sound, he is poised under pressure, has excellent vision and possesses a high hockey IQ - attributes that will serve him well as he continues to develop at the pro level. While he had limited minutes during his first season with Eisbären Berlin, he has shown offensive upside throughout his junior career with the Red Bull Academy and his time with the German national team at the U16 through U18 levels.


Tweet from @StevenEllisTHN: Another angle of Haakon Hanelt's goal. #NHLDraft #DeutschlandCup #U20


Photo courtesy of City-Press Berlin



Oliver Kapanen - C - KalPa U20 (U20 SM-sarja)

Height: 6-foot Weight: 166 lb. Birthplace: Timra, Sweden Shoots: Right

Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking (European Skaters): 22

Talk about hockey bloodlines for Kapanen: grandfather Hannu is in the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame after many years of playing and coaching in Finland's top league, great uncle Jari played over a decade of pro hockey in Finland, father Kimmo was a goalie who played pro in Finland, Sweden and Germany, and worked as a coach and GM in Finland, uncle Sami carved out a lengthy career in the NHL, older cousin Kasperi is currently with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and younger cousin Konsta played alongside him this year with KalPa's U20 squad.


Tweet from @Mestis: Oliver Kapanen jatkaa maaliputkensa kolmeen otteluun! 🔥 #Mestis #SuomenViihdytt��vint��L��tk����


Given his family's background, it should come as no surprise the forward plays a very mature game for his age. A highly-competitive presence every time he's on the ice, he is constantly involved in puck battles, reliable defensively, and has been lauded for his 200-foot game. With strong puckhandling and passing skilled paired with strong vision, Kapanen is able to provide a team with plenty of offence - he led his club with 25 goals and 41 points in 37 games this season.

Photo courtesy of KalPa / Meri Hyvärinen


Ilya Fedotov - LW - Chaika Nizhny Novgorod (MHL)

Height: 6-foot-1 Weight: 176 lb. Birthplace: Saratov, Russia Shoots: Right

Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking (European Skaters): 28

Fedotov had a strong season in Russia's junior league, sitting second in team scoring with 18 goals and 38 points through 54 games. An offensively gifted winger who is tenacious on the forecheck, he's able to beat defenders one-on-one thanks to his stickhandling skills and quick feet. Fedotov's skating is one of his best strengths and given his speed, he's extremely dangerous coming in on the rush. In tight, he's equally as dangerous thanks to quick hands and the ability to ward off opponents with his 6-foot-1 frame.


Tweet from @_NickRichard: Ilya Fedotov (2021) scores a between the legs goal against Snaipery in MHL action #2021NHLDraft



Tristan Broz - C - Fargo Force (USHL)

Height: 6-foot Weight: 178 lb. Birthplace: River Falls, WI Shoots: Left

Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking (North American Skaters): 28

Broz was Fargo's offensive driver this past season, leading the Force with 19 goals and 51 points through 54 games. Creativity with the puck and strong vision have allowed him to thrive offensively in the USHL, with 90 points through 108 career games with Fargo. He's been particulary effective on the powerplay, acting as a shooter and punishing goaltenders with a heavy slapshot or a quick wrister. He has also been a productive playmaker for the Force. He plays a patient game with the puck and doesn't rush plays, allowing his teammates to get set up for a pass.


Tweet from @USHL: 👀 Tristan Broz (@tristanbroz). #WhosNext | @FargoForce


Broz has committed to the University of Minnesota for the 2021-22 season.

Photo courtesy of Fargo Force



Albert Sjöberg - RW - Södertälje SK J20 (J20 Nationell)

Height: 6-foot Weight: 183 lb. Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden Shoots: Right

Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking (European Skaters): 36

Sjöberg saw extended periods of playing time in two leagues this past year, giving a chance to showcase different aspects of his game. He ended up playing 18 games with the U20 side, scoring 10 goals and 13 points in that stretch. Sjöberg's strong play with Södertälje's junior team earned him time with their men's squad, where he suited up for 17 games. He also played for Sweden at this year's U18 tournament, scoring two goals in seven games.


Tweet from @hockeyallsvensk: Albert Sj��berg, 17 ��r, g��r sitt f��rsta m��l i HockeyAllsvenskan!#hockeyallsvenskan #sverigesmestunderh��llandeliga


His best offensive asset is his shot - he's able to get a heavy, accurate shot off his stick very quickly and reads goaltenders well. He's a fierce competitor who plays a solid 200-foot game and isn't shy about engaging in battles in front of the net or along the boards. When he made the transition to playing against men in HockeyAllsvenskan this year, he was able to acclimatize quickly thanks to that compete level and the ability to play a more physically-robust game.

Photo courtesy of Södertälje on Twitter



Riley Kidney - C - Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)

Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 168 lb. Birthplace: Halifax, N.S. Shoots: Left

Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking (North American Skaters): 49

Kidney put up a career-best 1.15 points-per-game average in his 33-game season with Acadie-Bathurst, scoring 13 goals and 38 points in the regular season. In the playoffs, his production really took off and he led the Titan with 17 points in 9 skates.


Tweet from @QMJHL: #QMJHL #HighlightOfTheNight | @kidney_riley dances through the o-zone before scoring a beautiful goal for the @ABTitan! 🚨


The Nova Scotia product is a strong playmaker, reading the ice well and finding creative ways to distribute the puck and generate offence. A highly intelligent pivot, he's able to find opportunities to make plays that many of his peers aren't able to visualize, which has enabled him to be productive against bigger, stronger opponents.

Photo courtesy of Acadie-Bathurst Titan

* The Flames technically hold the 13th overall position in the opening round but will select 12th due to Arizona forfeiting their first round pick for violating NHL Combine testing policy during the 2019-20 season

** The Flames acquired the Oilers' third round pick in the trade that involved the acquisition of Milan Lucic in exchange for James Neal

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