The first round of the draft will be held July 23, with rounds 2-7 on July 24.
The Buffalo Sabres, who finished last in the regular-season standings, hold the best odds (16.6 percent) of winning the No. 1 pick. The Anaheim Ducks have the second-best odds (12.1 percent). The expansion Seattle Kraken, who begin play next season, have the third-best odds (10.3 percent), equal to the New Jersey Devils, who finished with the third-worst record in the regular season.
[Draft Lottery Lookup Tables: By Team Sequence | By Combination ID]
[More 2021 NHL Draft Coverage: Top 10 Forwards | Top 10 Defensemen | Top 10 Goalies]
The Kraken have the same lottery placement as the Vegas Golden Knights ahead of their first season in 2017-18, and are guaranteed to pick no lower than No. 5 in the first round.
The odds for the 16 teams that failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs are based on inverse order of the regular-season standings. To accommodate the addition of Seattle, the odds of the 15 other teams participating in the lottery were reduced proportionally from the odds used in the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery.
The NHL announced March 23 that two drawings will be held, to determine the top two picks in the draft. Since 2016, the first three selections had been determined by the lottery. The change was made to reduce the likelihood of the team with the worst record dropping in the draft order. That means the Sabres will pick no worse than No. 3 in the 2021 draft.
The Arizona Coyotes will be part of the drawings but forfeited their first-round pick because of violations of the NHL Combine Testing Policy during the 2019-20 season. The Coyotes also had to forfeit their second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
If Arizona wins either lottery drawing, a redraw will be conducted.
Owen Power, a defenseman from the University of Michigan who is No. 1 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, could be the No. 1 pick. William Eklund, a left wing from Djurgarden in the Swedish Hockey League who is No. 1 in Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters, is another possibility.
"The first round of this draft class is a strong class which includes a blend of elite forwards and defensemen, but the strength of this year's draft is likely with defense," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "While this position often requires significant development time and experience, this class has a talented mix of many types of defensemen available which will give many NHL clubs an opportunity to stock up at this position."
Power could be the third college player to be selected No. 1, following Boston University goalie Rick DiPietro to the New York Islanders in the 2000 NHL Draft, and Michigan State center Joe Murphy to the Detroit Red Wings in the 1986 NHL Draft.
"Power is at the top of this draft class as he is the best at his position," Marr said. "His game presence displayed NHL skills and attributes and his game continued to mature and impact throughout the season. He's an excellent package of NHL size (6-foot-6, 213 pounds), skating and smarts. His hockey sense is intuitive and instinctive, allowing him to utilize his size, speed and skill assets to get the job done in all situations."
Power scored 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and was plus-18 in 26 games in his first NCAA season, and the 18-year-old was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. He has three assists and is averaging 17:09 in six games for Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Championship. He is the only draft-eligible player on Canada's roster.
Eklund was named rookie of the year in the SHL after the 18-year-old scored 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) while averaging 15:29 of ice time in 40 games.
Two other top defenseman prospects who could be drafted No. 1 are Simon Edvinsson of Frolunda in Sweden's junior league and Luke Hughes of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team.
Edvinsson scored six points (one goal, five assists) in 14 games in Sweden's junior league, had one assist in 10 games with Frolunda in the SHL, and scored four points (one goal, three assists) in seven games for third-place Sweden at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship.
Hughes scored 34 points (six goals, 28 assists) in 38 games for the NTDP. The 17-year-old has resumed skating after sustaining a lacerated tendon in his foot from a skate cut March 7. Hughes is the younger brother of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes and Devils forward Jack Hughes, and is committed to play at Michigan next season.
Top forwards for the draft include center Mason McTavish of Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League, Michigan centers Kent Johnson and Matthew Beniers, and right wing Dylan Guenther of Edmonton of the Western Hockey League.
Odds to win the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery:
1. Buffalo Sabres, 16.6 percent
2. Anaheim Ducks, 12.1 percent
3. Seattle Kraken, 10.3 percent
4. New Jersey Devils, 10.3 percent
5. Columbus Blue Jackets, 8.5 percent
6. Detroit Red Wings, 7.6 percent
7. San Jose Sharks, 6.7 percent
8. Los Angeles Kings, 5.8 percent
9. Vancouver Canucks, 5.4 percent
10. Ottawa Senators, 4.5 percent
11. Arizona Coyotes, 3.1 percent
12. Chicago Blackhawks, 2.7 percent
13. Calgary Flames, 2.2 percent
14. Philadelphia Flyers, 1.8 percent
15. Dallas Stars, 1.4 percent
16. New York Rangers, 1.0 percent
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