The 2021 NHL Draft will occupy a good deal of intrigue and suspense when the main round will get underway Friday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, SN NOW, TVAS).
Defenseman Owen Vitality is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be chosen by the Buffalo Sabres with the main purchase they won within the NHL Draft Lottery on June 2.
Vitality scored 16 parts (three dreams, 13 assists) and had a plus-20 ranking in 26 video games for the College of Michigan in his first NCAA season and was basically the most efficient draft-eligible participant with Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Latvia, where he had three assists and averaged 20: 07 of ice time. Michigan has had 25 players chosen within the main round of the NHL Draft, but no doubt now not at No. 1.
“I mediate any kid that plays hockey also wants to head No. 1 [in the NHL Draft] if they’ll, so everybody dreams about it,” Vitality mentioned. “It shall be a extensive honor to me and my family, and we shall be undoubtedly excited but it absolutely’s now not me making the decision. So if I fabricate now not [go No. 1], or now not it’s now not that huge of a deal and also you proceed to occupy bought to indicate yourself anyway.”
Rounds 2-7 shall be Saturday (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, SN NOW).
The Sabres, who bought the No. 14 purchase within the draft in a trade with the Philadelphis Flyers on Friday, missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 10th consecutive season and tied for 28th in scoring (134 dreams) with the Columbus Blue Jackets. They were tied with the San Jose Sharks for the 2nd-most dreams allowed (196).
“What’s keen is, in particular at the head of the draft, there’s a bunch of players that we feel factual about, and we’re continuing to form of labor via that,” Buffalo total manager Kevyn Adams mentioned July 1. “I love the draft direction of, or now not it’s attention-grabbing to me. It be a bunch of relaxing to truly strive to mission and evaluation where these … they’re younger, they’re 18-300 and sixty five days-olds most of them, and where they’re going to be when they’re 23, 24 because or now not it’s now not an effortless job to attain.
“What we are going to focus on [is] what’s most efficient for this participant and what’s most efficient for this franchise. You’re balancing all that and there are so great of things that come into play; will be bodily maturity, some of it shall be psychological maturity and also you perfect don’t are looking out to hurry any individual.”
Tweet from @NHLdotcom: Shuffle hear to @NHL Draft Class! This week, David Gregory of @NHLCentralScout offers diagnosis. Plus, @mikemorrealeNHL & @NHLAdamK existing why @BuffaloSabres fans must be excited for Owen Vitality. 🎧 https://t.co/T6pdablBu8 pic.twitter.com/pYAUu0AYeg
Vitality has mentioned he’s leaning toward returning to Michigan for a 2nd season, but Adams mentioned that wouldn’t occupy an influence on the Sabres’ decision.
“Zero for us does it element into whose name we call tomorrow,” Adams mentioned Thursday. “I know I’ve mentioned this before, clearly you are looking out to draft who we deem is the head participant, but also who’s going to be the head participant projecting out, though-provoking forward, and that is obviously tough. So that is now not about who comes out of the gate and Day One is basically the most efficient participant. Here’s about where they breeze in their occupation. Vogue isn’t any doubt now not a straight line. You are looking out to set these players ready to proceed to web neatly, proceed to develop, proceed to be ready when they step into the NHL.
“Here’s a tough league. So I mediate one mistake we don’t are looking out to manufacture is placing any individual ready that they’re perfect treading water. We desire them to be ready to play.”
The Seattle Kraken start up play within the NHL subsequent season and can fabricate their first purchase at No. 2.
Contributing to the unpredictability and as a consequence of concerns surrounding the coronavirus, several players were forced to return up with replace alternatives to showcase their capability in their draft-eligible season, and scouts one day of the NHL had to resort to other project of evaluation with recreation and isolation video.
“We’ve performed a bunch of homework, most steadily via video,” Seattle total manager Ron Francis mentioned. “It be going to be an especially tough draft for optimistic. There might perhaps be going to be players, in particular from the [Ontario Hockey League], who might perhaps merely now not occupy performed a recreation since final March, so you are watching on video. There might perhaps be guys from that league playing in Europe and or now not it’s a ways a must-must evaluation what that stage of competition is and how they stack up. All people’s within the same boat, but we set now not occupy the database that other teams occupy.”
The Anaheim Geese occupy the No. 3 purchase, the Recent Jersey Devils occupy the main of two first-round choices at No. 4, and the Columbus Blue Jackets occupy the main of three first-round choices at No. 5.
Rounding out the head six North American skaters are heart Mason McTavish of Peterborough (OHL), heart Kent Johnson of Michigan, defenseman Luke Hughes of the US Hockey National Crew Vogue Program Under-18 team, forward Dylan Guenther of Edmonton within the Western Hockey League, and heart Matthew Beniers of Michigan.
By no means occupy three players from the same NCAA program been chosen within the main round of the NHL Draft.
“The No. 2 self-discipline on our [North American] list was now not easy to web to,” Central Scouting director Dan Marr mentioned. “Nos. 2-6 were now not consensus spots and everybody can fabricate an argument for any this kind of players. Beniers can breeze No. 2 and it wouldn’t shock any of us. We’re talking about some exceptionally talented, yet very hundreds of trend players available, but all earmarked to occupy very solid NHL careers.”
Tweet from @NHLdotcom: With the 2021 @NHL Draft days away, @mikemorrealeNHL & @NHLAdamK breeze over their final mock draft of the main round & debate the causes that they had definite players matched with sing teams.https://t.co/HDdigDQilk
McTavish scored 11 parts (nine dreams, two assists) in 13 video games on loan with EHC Olten within the Swiss League, the 2nd-top skilled league in Switzerland. He impressed at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, when he scored 11 parts (five dreams, six assists) in seven video games and helped Canada steal the tournament.
Johnson thrived at left soar for Michigan; he scored 27 parts (nine dreams, 18 assists) in 26 video games and was first amongst first-time NHL draft-eligible NCAA players in assists and parts.
By no means has a family from the US had three brothers chosen within the main round of the NHL Draft, but Hughes might perhaps merely mute trade that. He’s the youthful brother of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (2018 NHL Draft, No. 7) and Recent Jersey Devils heart Jack Hughes (2019, No. 1), and is dedicated to play at Michigan subsequent season. He scored 34 parts (six dreams, 28 assists) in 38 video games for the NTDP U-18 team.
Guenther scored 24 parts (12 dreams, 12 assists) in 12 video games for Edmonton and led Canada with 34 photos on plot in seven video games at the U-18s, when he had seven parts (four dreams, three assists).
Beniers scored 24 parts (10 dreams, 14 assists) in 24 video games at Michigan. He helped the US steal the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship as its youngest participant and was basically the most efficient draft-eligible participant to portray it at the World Championship.
William Eklund of Djurgarden within the Swedish Hockey League is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of International skaters. The forward was named rookie of the 300 and sixty five days within the SHL and overcame an emergency appendectomy and a favorable COVID-19 take a look at to ranking 23 parts (11 dreams, 12 assists) and practical 15: 29 of ice time in 40 video games.
“He plays bigger than the scale, he’s bought a factual low heart of gravity (5-foot=-0, 176 pounds) that he uses with his agility to steal battles and fabricate plays off the cycle,” Devils vp of newbie scouting Paul Castron mentioned.
Defenseman Simon Edvinsson (No. 2 in Central Scouting’s final ranking of International skaters) averaged 5: 48 of ice time in 10 video games with Frolunda within the SHL and scored four parts (one plot, three assists) in seven video games to abet Sweden attain third at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship.
Jesper Wallstedt of Lulea within the SHL is No. 1 in Central Scouting’s final ranking of International goalies and is anticipated to be the main Sweden-born goalie chosen within the main round of the NHL Draft.
The head North American goalie is Sebastian Cossa of Edmonton within the Western Hockey League.
Two goalies occupy now not been chosen within the main round since 2012, when Andrei Vasilevskiy was the No. 19 purchase by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Malcolm Subban was chosen by the Boston Bruins at No. 24.
“There is a factual chance to survey both Wallstedt and Cossa be chosen within the main round,” Marr mentioned. “No longer simplest because they are basically the most efficient at their assign but also because they are both neatly-acknowledged commodities who occupy competed constantly at elite ranges, that will also lend increase to first-round consideration.”