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NHL Draft 2021 – Top 100 Draft Prospects & Fantasy Outlook

It’s one of the busiest weeks in the NHL’s history.

The Seattle Kraken are now a team, after an expansion draft that was largely leaked out the morning of by media insiders. There was hoopla around who got protected, who was selected, and if the Kraken truly maximized what they could achieve.

It’s over and done with. The NHL isn’t letting anyone sleep just yet.

Teams are on a quick turn-around. The 2021 NHL Entry Draft suddenly appears in front of us in what could be one of the most puzzling to predict of all time. A lot of these prospects barely played. Some didn’t play at all. Scouts didn’t have the ability to go overseas and watch players live. There’ll be surprises at every turn thanks to the pandemic.

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The Top 100 NHL Draft Prospects Lists

I’ve co-created a personal top 100 for the NHL Draft. A friend of mine, Matt Mosewich (who can be found at @EDMFutureWatch on Twitter) is a hardcore prospect researcher. He has a passion for watching the video and evaluating young talent. I am a numbers guy. I look at statistics, birth dates, league production history, comparables, and multiple other factors to try to match it up to the video I see on Youtube.

We each make a list of our favorite top 100 draft eligibles and then put them together for a super list. It’s a blend of “eye test” vs “numbers” to get that proper balance. You can see my list, Matt’s list, and our combined list below. I’ll reflect on a few prospects you should keep an eye on for fantasy purposes below.

1Dylan GuentherMatty BeniersLuke Hughes
2Owen PowerLuke HughesMatty Beniers
3Luke HughesWilliam EklundOwen Power
4Sebastian CossaMason McTavishDylan Guenther
5Brandt ClarkeOwen PowerSebastian Cossa
6Matthew BeniersBrandt ClarkeBrandt Clarke
7Kent JohnsonSebastian CossaWilliam Eklund
8Chaz LuciusJesper WallstedtKent Johnson
9William EklundDylan GuentherJesper Wallstedt
10Corson CuelemansMatthew CoronatoChaz Lucius
11Jesper WallstedtIsak RosenMatthew Coronato
12Cole SillingerKent JohnsonLogan Stankoven
13Olen ZellwegerLogan StankovenMason McTavish
14Sasha PastujovChaz LuciusCole Sillinger
15Matthew CoronatoMatthew KniesIsak Rosen
16Danill ChaykaMackie SamoskevichNikita Chibrikov
17Logan StankovenStanislav SvozilDanill Chayka
18Kirill KirsanovFedor SvechkovFedor Svechkov
19Oskar OlaussonCole SillingerOlen Zellweger
20Samu SalminenZachary BolducZachary Bolduc
21Cameron WhynotSimon EdvinssonSimon Robertsson
22Shai BuiumScott MorrowSasha Pastujov
23Danila KlimovichCarson LambosOskar Olausson
24Sean BehrensNikita ChibrikovEvan Nause
25Nikita ChibrikovFrancesco PinelliFrancesco Pinelli
26Xavier BourgaultAyrton MartinoSimon Edvinsson
27Mason McTavishBrennan OthmannZachary L’Heureux
28Simon RobertssonSamu TuomaalaCarson Lambos
29Zachary L’HeureuxColton DachMatthew Knies
30Aidan HreschukSimon RobertssonCorson Cuelemans
31Evan NauseEvan NauseKirill Kirsanov
32Fedor SvechkovVille KoivunenBrennan Othmann
33Anton OlssonAatu RatyAatu Raty
34Isak RosenDaniil ChaykaFabian Lysell
35Fabian LysellEthan Del MastroXavier Bourgault
36Ryan UfkoAlexander KisakovAnton Olsson
37Riley KidneyWilliam StromgrenSamu Salminen
38Zachary BolducZach L’HeureauxSamu Tuomaala
39Francesco PinelliFabian LysellRyan Ufko
40Wyatt JohnstonOlen ZellwegerSean Behrens
41Aatu RatyOskar OlaussonColton Dach
42Oliver NadeauAnton OlssonAidan Hreschuk
43Conner RouletteRyan UfkoStanislav Svozil
44Simon EdvinssonDylan DukeDanila Klimovich
45Carson LambosSasha PastujovMackie Samoskevich
46Brennan OthmannProkhor PoltapovShai Buium
47Brent JohnsonZach DeanCameron Whynot
48Jack PeartSamuel HeleniusVille Koivunen
49Topias VilenXavier BourgaultJack Peart
50Vincent IorioGuillaume RichardZach Dean
51Samu TuomaalaRed SavageBrent Johnson
52Ethan SamsonKirill KirisanovProkhor Poltapov
53William TrudeauRoman SchmidtSamuel Helenius
54Matthew KniesSean TschigerlSean Tschigerl
55Semyon VyazovoyTristan BrozWilliam Stromgren
56Colton DachJack PeartAlexander Kisakov
57Jacob GuevinSean BehrensScott Morrow
58Cameron RoweAidan HreschukWyatt Johnston
59Sean TschigerlSamu SalminenConnor Roulette
60Tyler BoucherCorson CuelmansAyrton Martino
61Zach DeanLiam Dower NilssonVincent Iorio
62Samuel HeleniusBrent JohnsonTyler Boucher
63Kyle MastersBrett HarrisonBrett Harrison
64Prokhor PoltapovJakub BrabenecEthan Del Mastro
65Tyson GallowayAleksi HeimosalmiDylan Duke
66Justin RobidasBryce MontgomeryRiley Kidney
67Eric AlarieChase StillmanOliver Nadeau
68Ville KoivunenDanila KlimovichTopias Vilen
69Brett HarrisonDmitri KostenkoOliver Kapanen
70Eetu LiukasOliver KapanenJustin Robidas
71Caedan BankierTyler BoucherGuillaume Richard
72Stanislav SzovilNolan AllanRed Savage
73Brody LambShai BuiumEthan Samson
74Joshua RoyJustin JanickeRoman Schmidt
75Artyom GrushnikovJosh DoanWilliam Trudeau
76Ryker EvansMartin RysavyTristan Broz
77William StromgrenRyan WintertonSemyon Vyazovoy
78Matthew SamoskevichCameron WhynotEric Alarie
79Oliver KapanenVinny IorioChase Stillman
80Vladislav LukashevichConnor RouletteJacob Guevin
81Alexander KisakovJack BarCameron Rowe
82Henry NelsonLiam GilmartinLiam Dower Nilsson
83Aleksi MalinenWyatt JohnsonAleksi Heimosalmi
84Victor StjernborgJustin RobidasNolan Allan
85Ty GallagherLorenzo CanonicaKyle Masters
86Theo AngesvedJayden GrubbeJakub Brabenec
87Noah MeierTyson KozakTyson Galloway
88Jake ChiassonCole HuckinsDmitri Kostenko
89Nolan AllanEric AlarieEetu Liukas
90Chase StillmanCole JordanCaedan Bankier
91David GucciardiJoe VrbeticBrody Lamb
92Lorenzo CanonicaAleksi MalinenJustin Janicke
93Dylan DukeHunter StrandJoshua Roy
94Ryan McClearyMatvei PetrovAleksi Malinen
95Jackson BlakeZach OstapchukJosh Doan
96Aleksi HeimosalmiSasha TeleguineArtyom Grushnikov
97Valtteri KoskalaOscar PlandowskiRyker Evans
98Kalle ErvastiJake MartinMartin Rysavy
99Liam Dower NilssonRyan St. LouisLorenzo Canonica
100Ayrton MartinoRyder KorczakRyan Winterton

10 Draft Prospects to Watch for Fantasy Purposes

Owen Power – D – Michigan (NCAA) – Owen Power is expected to be the top pick at the NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. This doesn’t mean he should be your top pick in fantasy drafts. He’s expected to return to Michigan for another season. He’s also more of an all-around player rather than a straight-up dynamic offensive one. There are other players at the top end of the draft who will land in better situations than Buffalo to produce faster and more. Both Matt and I believe he’s a safe pick to make the league, but we’re higher on other players for fantasy. He’s a very safe pick to at least be in a team’s top four D and score 35-40 points a season at his peak.

Matthew Beniers – F – Michigan (NCAA) – A teammate of Power, Beniers showed his silky mitts for a big freshman season. He scored a point-per-game and added a few extra points at an impressive World Juniors. He works hard, skates fast, and can do a little bit of everything. Matt and I both believe he’ll be at least a second-line centre at the NHL level. It could happen fast. His ideal landing spot would be Seattle. He could be their no.1 or no.2 centre as soon as the 2022-23 season. That would give him loads of fantasy upside due to opportunity on an expansion franchise. Feel free to pick him without remorse.

Dylan Guenther – F – Edmonton (WHL) – Guenther is a very safe pick for fantasy. He scores goals in a lot of different ways and projects safely to be in a team’s top-six forward group in a few years. Guenther can land anywhere in the top 10 and it won’t change our outlook for him. He’s very similar to if Tyler Seguin played wing, or T.J. Oshie, and should be a top-five fantasy prospect from this draft.

Luke Hughes – D – Michigan (NCAA) – Matt and I are putting our necks on the line for this one. We believe Hughes has the most potential among defense in this draft. He is the brother of Jack and Quinn Hughes and it shows in his skill level. He plays a dynamic style on defense with soft hands, quick feet, and a strong release for a shot. What separates him from his brothers is his size. He’s noticeably bigger at 6 foot 2. If he lands on New Jersey, it could be the start of a potent powerplay combination of the Hughes brothers, Nico Hischier and Alex Holtz for a long time. For both fantasy purposes and real life, you should consider drafting Luke Hughes over college teammate Owen Power.

William Eklund – F – Sweden – If you’re not a fantasy drafter who is okay being patient with prospects, this may be a tough draft for you. There is no surefire top bet and these guys will need more development than other draft prospects due to the time missed in the pandemic. That being said, Eklund may be the most NHL-ready forward available. He already produced in a men’s league. His points-per-game clip was much higher until he got Covid-19. He’s a very good all-around talent who should produce in the NHL at a high floor. In a year with question marks, we wouldn’t blame you to pick him first in a fantasy prospect draft.

Brandt Clarke – D – Slovakia – Clarke is another dynamic offensive defenseman who lit up a men’s league in Slovakia this season. He has a bit of an awkward skating style but it works for him. He doesn’t have a howitzer of a shot. He’s incredibly smart though with his passing, playmaking, and vision on the ice. Matt and I wouldn’t take him over Luke Hughes in fantasy, but we would have a real debate versus Owen Power depending on the team. I’d most be intrigued to take him over Power if he lands on Columbus, Anaheim, or LA. Those are three teams who could really give him a chance to be a top powerplay quarterback in a shorter time than you’d expect.

Kent Johnson – F – Michigan (NCAA) – Do you like to gamble? Kent Johnson is a boom or bust kind of prospect. His skill is through the roof. His top-end speed is marvelous. He isn’t afraid to try out crazy moves. Johnson does tend to get enigmatic. He reminds me a lot of a young Jonathan Drouin. Drouin’s skill is unquestioned but it is incredibly inconsistent. Can Johnson find a higher ceiling? It’s possible. He’s a better defensive forward than Drouin was as a young junior.  I wouldn’t take him top four in fantasy because of how safe Beniers, Guenther, Eklund, or Hughes seem to me. I do think he has more upside than maybe any forward in this draft. Watch and see if Vancouver takes him. He’d be a solid fit for their top six in a year or two.

Mason McTavish – F – Erie (OHL) – McTavish is hard to quantify in numbers because the OHL didn’t play a game this year. If you watch him play, he’s a real two-way center who gets in dirty areas and plays a 200-foot game. He lives in front of the net. You’ll see there is a high discrepancy between Matt’s ranking and mine. He has a safe floor for both of us, but I see him more as a number two or even number three centre. Matt thinks he has number one potential, similar to Ryan O’Reilly. He did produce a ton at the U18s, a very good sign. He’s a bull, and hard to knock off the puck. I feel the players listed above have more offensive potential today, but McTavish may find it down the road. Watch to see if he lands on a team with a no.1 franchise centre blocking him or not. That may determine what his ultimate ceiling is.

Simon Edvinsson – D – Sweden – You’re very likely to hear Edvinsson’s name called in the top ten of the draft on Friday. Despite this, Matt and I are highly skeptical of his potential. He’s a bit of an awkward-looking player – like Bambi on skates. He’ll have time to grow into his six-foot-three frame. He can definitely skate. We believe his offensive ability and hockey sense produce many questions. He’s not a naturally gifted passer or shooter. His production in Sweden wasn’t eye-popping or anything. It’s possible Edvinsson ends up making a top-four and exceeds our expectations but even then, the offense may not be there. Buyer beware of taking him high in a fantasy prospect draft. I think he’s a candidate to bust.

Sebastian Cossa – G – Edmonton (WHL) & Jesper Wallstedt – G – Sweden – These are both exceptional goalie prospects that teams are looking to take high in the entry draft. We personally like Cossa more due to his size and athleticism. However, you really can’t go wrong. Wallstedt looked poised at the World Juniors. He also played solid in a men’s league at such a young age. When it comes to fantasy, goalies totally depend on the landing spot. Chicago may be looking for a goalie. Calgary could gamble on one. I wouldn’t say either of those teams inspire my mouth to water. The two real juicy places for these goalies? The LA Kings and the Edmonton Oilers. LA has a bright future ahead. They are picking up pieces to try to turn the corner. Edmonton has Connor McDavid. If one of these goalies can snag a spot to develop on Edmonton or LA, they’ll have sky-high potential.

Draft Sleepers for Fantasy

These players may go later in the draft, but keep an eye on them. Remember their names:

F Chaz Lucius – All he does is scores goals. Battled injury but tons of potential here. Scored 26 goals in 25 games after returning for the US development program.

F Matthew Coronato – 48 goals in 51 games for the Chicago Steel. Going to Harvard. Can fit anywhere in a lineup. If he is drafted by Edmonton, run to select him top 10 in your fantasy prospect draft. Perfect fit for Connor McDavid.

F Cole Sillinger – Son of former NHLer Mike Sillinger. Possibly carries the best wrist shot in the draft. Produces everywhere he goes.

F Logan Stankoven – He’s tiny, but scores goals at a rapid pace. High motor. 36 goals in 65 games in the WHL since 2019.

F Sasha Pastujov – Scouts are worried about his speed, but he led the US in points at the U-18s. He racks up points. Remember when people said Jason Robertson wasn’t fast enough? This reminds me of that.

F Fedor Svechkov – Fairly solid two-way Russian. Could be a safer bet to play in the league, but is his upside fantasy-worthy? Not sure. His defensive game is good, produced at the U18s. May top out as a solid third-line centre with upside.

F Isak Rosen – Inconsistent, with 0 goals in the SHL in Sweden. However, showed his sniping ability with 7 goals in 7 games at the U18s.

F Fabian Lysell – There’s a lot of speed in his game, combined with playmaking. Matt and I think there’s more flash than substance here. Wildcard for if he goes top 15 or drops to the bottom of the 1st round.

F Aatu Raty – He was the projected first overall pick a year ago. His play fell off a cliff. Buyer beware despite the name value. If Carolina takes him, he’ll be fine.

F Brennan Othmann – We share a name! The type of annoying hard-nosed guy that usually makes the league who can shoot. I’m worried about his skating and hockey sense.

D Carson Lambos – Massive wildcard on D due to poor play and injury. If the draft was last year, he would have gone top 5. Swing for the fences?

D Olen Zellweger – Did you enjoy watching Samuel Girard this year? He gives me those vibes, but to a lesser degree.

D Corson Cuelemans – I think he has big-time fantasy potential as an offensive D-man. Matt thinks he may bust. Needs to improve his defensive game, specifically gap control.

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