I've got the power was a hit song in by SNAP in 1990. Thirty one years later, we won't know who got the power until the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery is concluded. For now, let's give the expansion team the top pick since that seems like the most ethical thing to do in a draft class that looks very similar on paper compared to other less than stellar NHL draft classes like the underwhelming 2012 NHL Entry Draft or the god awful 1999 NHL Draft. The 2021 NHL Draft is right up there with those two drafts in terms of uncertainty.
The Seattle Kraken will be picking first overall in every one of my 2021 NHL Mock Drafts until the official results of the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery are revealed. Last time an expansion team entered the NHL, all hell broke loose on lottery night with the Dallas Stars moving up from 8 to 3, the Philadelphia Flyers moving up from 13, to 2, and the New Jersey Devils moved up from 4 to 1. You also saw Colorado move down from 1 to 4 after having the NHL's worst regular season record, Vancouver dropped from 2 to 5 after having the NHL's second worst record, and the Vegas Golden Knights got screwed out of a top 5 draft pick and somehow got to the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals as an expansion team after having what I thought was a questionable draft on paper after a killer expansion draft.
Alexis Lafreniere was a unanimous number one prospect on every scouting service. Owen Power, while still the favorite to go first overall is only the number one prospect on 5/14 scouting services.
The 6-5 214 lb Owen Power did well on the Chicago Steel's first line with 12 goals, 28 assists, 40 points, and a +16 +/- ratio in 45 games before Covid-19 shut down the Chicago Steel's historic USHL season where they won the league with the best record prior to the Corona Virus outbreak. Owen Power enrolled in Michigan for the 2020-2021 season leading up to the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
His only NHL ready qualities at this point are his offensive awareness, defensive awareness, vision, and his wrist shot accuracy. He's good in other areas too, but he's not great in these areas to the point where you would scream NHL ready prospect. He can make crisp passes, but some of his passes lack touch, accuracy, and are really choppy. His shot is effective, but does not generate enough power. His slap shot accuracy is off on some of his shots. I didn't see this on film with other defensemen that I evaluated in previous NHL drafts.
To be fair, former Michigan Wolverines like Zach Werenski and Quinn Hughes needed a sophomore year at Michigan after being picked in the first round of the NHL Draft following their freshman year. Owen Power may need that second year pf development like those guys and possibly a third. That means the earliest we could see Owen Power in the NHL is 2023-2024 which is why some of the other NHL mock drafts are beginning to consider other prospects besides Owen Power at 1 for now.
The reason, I'd still say Owen Power is the favorite to go first overall is simply the fact that Owen Power has huge upside. I see an Aaron Ekblad type of prospect. Bryan Luis, one of the long time guest callers on my podcast compared him to Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Victor Hedman, John Carlsson, Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar, and Alex Pietrangelo are my top 5 overall defenseman for Fantasy Hockey. Owen Power can be a top 5 overall NHL defenseman anchoring a blue line in five years from now around 2026-2027 after refining some areas of his game, then taking him first overall while building a roster in the Expansion Draft to buy them some time while Power finishes developing may be worth it for the Seattle Kraken.
Devils In The Details Podcast posted a film cut of Owen Power on their Youtube channel. While New Jersey isn't getting Power in our mock, I'm happy to promote their channel and encourage all of our Draft Utopia readers to subscribe to their channel. You can watch it below. I also watched two games of Owen Power on film against the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Here in this film cut Owen Power takes on the Wisconsin Badgers.
Tobias Reider has more goals than some of the star players on this team like Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, and Jeff Skinner. To make matters worse, the only defensemen Buffalo got during the NHL Draft that were supposed to be any good were Rasmus Ristolainen who got humiliated on NBC on 3/7/2021 against the New York Islanders and Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo's number one overall pick three years ago in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft is having his worse career season. Buffalo needs more bodies besides the Rasmus top line as well as someone who can challenge those guys for the first line spot.
It's pretty evident that Buffalo owes the Hughes family an apology after passing on Quinn Hughes for Rasmus Dahlin back in 2018. The only way for Buffalo to make ammends with the Hughes family is to take Luke Hughes second overall and hope he becomes as good as his older brother. Luke Hughes is ranked first overall on 2/14 scouting services.
The 6-2 176 lb Luke Hughes played on the top line with Jake Sanderson for the USNTDP team during his rookie season where he had 4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points, and a -14 +/- ratio in 2019-2020. Luke Hughes has 4 goals, 11 assists, 15 points, and a +5 +/- ratio in 2020-2021.
Luke Hughes also is expected to enroll into Michigan for the 2021 Fall Season. If Owen Power returns for another year of development, you could be seeing the top 2 picks in the 2021 NHL Draft playing on the Michigan Wolverines blue line next to each other this fall.
Luke Hughes has the skating, offensive awareness, and defensive awareness you want a two-way defenseman to have. I still felt like he had a lot of areas he needed to improve in after watching his film. He's enrolling into Michigan and developing there for a year or two before going to the NHL is probably best for him.
Devils In The Details Podcast posted a film cut of Luke Hughes on their Youtube channel. While New Jersey isn't getting Hughes in our mock, I'm happy to promote their channel and encourage all of our Draft Utopia readers to subscribe to their channel. You can watch it below.
Detroit went with the best player on their board at 4 in Lucas Raymond after interviewing Cole Perfetti, Jamie Drysdale, and Marco Rossi three times. Detroit surprised people with Moritz Seider at 6 in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Steve Yzerman's first year as the GM in Detroit. The bottom line is General Manager Steve Yzerman will not tip his hand. If there are rumors about who Detroit takes in the 2021 NHL Draft, they are probably just that and nothing more.
The Detroit Red Wings also got a few good defensemen for the future in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft like William Wallinder, Donovan Sebrango, and Kyle Aucoin to compliment prospects like Moritz Seider and Jonathan McIsaac. Do they have someone who can compliment Seider? Not yet, and that's exactly what I have Detroit drafting at 3.
Detroit could use someone next to Seider in 2021-2022. Brandt Clarke, the fourth pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection is the best defenseman to be drafted by the Barrie Colts since Aaron Ekblad. There are 2/14 scouting services that have Brandt Clarke as the top player in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
The 6-1 181 lb Brandt Clarke had 6 goals, 32 assists, 38 points, and a -6 +/- ratio in 2019-2020. The OHL hasn't started yet in 2021 and Clarke is playing in Slovakia to prepare for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He struggled overseas after a promising rookie year so he may need another year in juniors before making the jump to the NHL.
He can cyle the puck from short and medium distances. He's got the offensive and defensive awareness you want a two-way defender to have just like Owen Power and Luke Hughes have from a vision and eyes standpoint. You still want to see Clarke improve his deep passes as well as his dekes. Clarke only took a shot in the penalty shootout and actively tried to get teammates involved in the film of him that I saw against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. It's possible he needs another year in the OHL before making the jump to the NHL. Brandt Clarke did do enough to get promoted to the first line as a rookie which is why he's a top 5 pick in my first 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Devils In The Details Podcast posted a film cut of Brandt Clarke on their Youtube channel. While New Jersey isn't getting Clarke in our mock, I'm happy to promote their channel and encourage all of our Draft Utopia readers to subscribe to their channel. You can watch it below.
New Jersey gets someone to push and compliment Jack Hughes for the top line left winger spot on the New Jersey Devils. The best player on the board at this point is Edmonton Oil Kings winger Dylan Guenther who is versatile enough to play left wing or right wing just like his 2020 NHL Draft teammate Jake Neighbours. Dylan Guenther was the first pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft for a reason.
The 6-1 170 lb Dylan Guenther had 26 goals, 33 assists, 59 points, and a +26 +/- ratio as a rookie in 2019-2020. Guenther has 6 goals, 4 assists, and 10 poitns in 4 WHL games in 2021 and that's due to the CHL seeing less hockey due to Covid-19. He's versatile enough to play left wing, center, or right wing giving him versatility to play anywhere at forward. He won a face off.
Dylan Guenther has the playmaking, sniping, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, hockey IQ, speed, skating, agility, stick handling, and ability to win faceoffs. He's a playmaker that can do everything you want a line 1 game changer to do on tape. He can do well on the power play as well as penalty kill. He's a line 1 left winger on the Edmonton Oil Kings, but can also line up as a line 1 center and a line 1 right winger. There's a reason Dylan Guenther was the WHL rookie of the year in 2019-2020.
The Oil Knight Prospect Network posted game film of Dylan Guenther onto their Youtube Channel. Dylan Guenther is versatile enough to play left wing or right wing. He's also considered the consensus top winger in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. His tape looked fantastic and to be honest, he's the closest thing this draft has to an Alexis Lafrenierre even though he's not nearly the prospect Lafrenierre was. Nobody has this guy number one on their boards which surprised me becuase I thought his tape was amazing to the point where I'd consider putting him at 1 even over Owen Power if I were making a big board. I love Guenther as much as Brian Burke loved Morgan Reilly back in 2012 meaning he's first on my board which will come out soon, but there are as many as 14 different scouting services for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Ottawa did a great job using the 2020 NHL Draft to load up at left winger by getting Tim Stuztle, Ridly Greig, and Roby Jarventine with three of their first four picks as those left wingers will compliment Brady Tkachuk on the Ottawa Senators at some point in the near future with Stuztle already making an impact in Ottawa. Unfortunately, the Ottawa Senators ignored center which is honestly the most important position to begin building a team around offensively.
Matthew Beniers may be a fourth line center on the Michigan Wolverines, but Ottawa needs centers on all four lines. Matthew Beniers also got 2/14 votes from different scouting services to go first overall so if Beniers fell to Ottawa, there's no reason for Ottawa not to take him even if they end up getting a second line center instead of a first line center at the NHL level.
Getting a center who can either open things up would help. Matthew Beniers could challenge Colin White for that line 1 center role. This would also give both Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stuztle a center to take pressure off of those two players with Ottawa's first two lines.
The 6-1 174 lb Matthew Beniers has the playmaking of a first line center. He has 10 goals, 13 assists, 23 points, and a +20 +/- ratio in 22 games. He won first star of the game with 1 goal, 3 assists, and 4 points despite playing on the fourth line against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday. Beniers has natural passing and skating. He's got good speed as well as the offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ. I just would like to see Beniers develop as a shooter and maybe see him earn a promotion to a first or second line on Michigan.
If Matthew Beniers can make these minor tweaks to his game, then he should be the first center drafted in the 2021 NHL Draft. He had a strong World Juniors as well so he should be the first center picked.
Devils In The Details Podcast posted a film cut of Matthew Berniers on their Youtube channel. I gave New Jersey Dylan Guenther at 4 so Ottawa is getting Berniers at 5 in this mock. You can watch this video of Matthew Berniers below.
Dallas Stars: William Eklund, LW, Djurgardens IF (Elitserien)
Dallas can ignore need and take the best player on the board. Dallas gets William Eklund who is considered the top prospect on 1/14 NHL Scouting Services.
The scouting service that has Eklund as the top prosect is Elite Prospects. Elite Prospects. He has lined up on the first, second, third, and fourth line at all three forward spots at left wing, center, and right wing. He can either be a guy who takes pressure off of Alexander Holtz last years seventh overall pick in 2020 on the first ine, a goal scorer on the second line, a playmaker on the third line, or a gritty defender who makes things easier for his teammates on the fourth line.
Djurgardens IF played him on all four lines this season, but when Djurgardens IF sets their daily lineup card, William Eklund is featured on the fourth line. However, he does see minutes on other lines despite this which was the biggest reason I mocked him to 7 even though you can honestly argue for him to be picked much higher than this.
The 5-10 178 lb William Eklund has 10 goals, 9 assists, 19 points, and a +3 +/- ratio in 2020-2021. Alexander Holtz only has 7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points, and a -5 +/- ratio since being drafted seventh overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
If Dallas is picking at 6 they cannot afford to pass on William Eklund here because the Dallas Stars have been riddled with injuries to the point where they just need to grab the best prospect on the board if they finish outside the playoff picture this year. William Eklund will probably be ranked higher than 6 in my next 2021 NHL Mock Draft because if I knew he played on every line, he would have gotten top 5 consideration from me. He doesn't check off all the boxes for me like Dylan Guenther, but you could probably convince me he's the safest prospect after Guenther at this point.
San Jose has a draft pick this year. The 6-3 214 lb Jesper Wallstedt is the best goalie in this draft and is one of two prospects outside the five players in the running to go number one overall, that could make a push to be picked first overall. There is 1/14 scouting services that has Jesper Wallstedt as the top overall prospect in the 2021 NHL Draft despite being a goalie.
Jesper Wallstedt had 1.55 goals against average and a .944 save percentage in 1 start in 2019-2020. Jesper Wallstedt has a 2.23 goals against average and a .908 save percentage in 22 games so far in 2020-2021 where he has a 12-10 record in Sweden.
Jesper Wallstedt has better size than Yaroslav Askarov. The athleticism and production that Askarov had on tape is better than what Wallstedt has. One site who broke down Jesper Wallstedt in depth is Future Considerations who has Walldstedt ranked second overall on their big board behind Luke Hughes.
San Jose really needs a franchise goalie. This is the biggest reason San Jose grabs the Lulea HF goalie at 7.
Devils In The Details Podcast posted a film cut of Jesper Wallstedt on their Youtube channel. I gave New Jersey Dylan Guenther at 4 so San Jose is getting Wallstedt at 7 in this mock. You can watch this video of Jesper Wallstedt below.
Anaheim could either grab another defenseman to push Hampus Lindholm who has been injured two years in a row. The other option is to take the best player on the board, Fabian Lysell at 8 who may end up going ahead of his goalie teammate Jesper Wallstedt.
The 5-10 168 lb Fabian Lysell seems like a pure right winger as he only has 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points and a -3 +/- ratio in 24 games on Lulea HF. He can play on the first, second, third, or fourth line like William Eklund after I assumed he was mainly a fourth line guy. I'm so glad I rewatched his tape.
Fabian Lysell has the has the skating, wrist shot power, and wrist shot accuracy to be successful in the NHL right now. Honestly, I feel like everything else in his game is a project that needs to be worked on. Jacob Perreault had a great shot, but the rest of his game needed development after the Ducks took him with their second first round pick from the Boston Bruins. Lysell will have a better floor than Jacob Perrault if he can develop a slap shot by the end of the season.
Devils In The Details Podcast posted a film cut of Fabian Lysell on their Youtube channel. I gave New Jersey Dylan Guenther at 4 so Anaheim is getting Lysell at 8 in this mock. You can watch this video of Fabian Lysell below.
Nashville goes with the best skater on the board at 9 after taking Yarsloav Askarov in 2020. There are two defenders Carson Lambos and Simon Edvinsson that round out the top 10.
The 6-1 185 lb Carson Lambos was the second overall pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. Carson Lambos had 8 goals, 24 assists, 32 points, and a +20 +/- ratio in 2019-2020. Carson Lambos did well enough to work his way up to the first line.
Carson Lambos has the offensive awareness, defensive awareness, vision, and hockey IQ to be a big success. He got overwhelmed by his competition in Finland and that's probably why most people in the media have him ranked lower after he dominated in the WHL. I don't really care how the media feels plus Lambos impressed me more on tape and that's what should matter.
New York needs a line 1 center in the worst way possible. Unfortunately, this draft class doesn't have a center worth taking in the top 10 outside of Matthew Biniers who went fifth to Ottawa so New York is kind of stuck with Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome who may be good enough to get New York to the playoffs at some point down the road, but that center tandem will never get the Rangers to the Stanley Cup. Now New York gets defense for their back line with the best player on the board at this point being a defender.
The 6-5 203 lb Simon Edvinsson has 1 assist and a -3 +/- ratio for the Frolunda Indians. Edvinsson entered the year at 6-4 185 lbs, yet he grew an inch and added 18 lbs of weight to his game.
Simon Edvinsson is a good skater and solid passer. He's an ideal third line defenseman for the Frolunda Indians and an NHL team. Right now that just seems like his ceiling to me since nothing he did on tape wowed me.
I'm trying to figure out why Bob McKenzie has this guy at second on his big board. Craig Button likes Edvinsson too, so despite his flaws, he's clearly talented enough to go in the top 10. However, he's so raw on tape outside of his passing and skating that I cannot justify putting him anywhere before 10 in my mock.
Devils In The Details Podcast posted a film cut of Simon Edvinsson on their Youtube channel. I gave New Jersey Dylan Guenther at 4 so New York is getting Edvinsson at 10 in this mock. You can watch this video of Simon Edvinsson below.
Columbus traded Pierre-Luc Dubois for Patrik Laine. They need a first line center. Aatu Raty from Finland was once considered the favorite to go first overall in 2021. Now Columbus gets him here to pair with Laine on the the Blue Jackets top line.
The 6-1 171 lb Aatu Raty had 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, and a 0 +/- ratio in 2019-2020. He has 3 goals, 2 assist, 5 points, and a +3 +/- ratio in 2020-2021. He didn't get an invite to play in the World Junior Championships for Finland plus he's a fourth line center like Matthew Beniers. Even with a poor start to the season, he's still good enough to go eleven in a draft that just continues to disappoint me more.
Calgary goes with the best player on the board at 12. Cole Sillinger is versatile enough to play left wing or right wing plus he earned his way up to the Medicine Hat Tigers first line last season.
The 6-0 187 lb Cole Sillinger had 22 goals, 31 assists, 53 points, and a +19 +/- ratio in 2019-2020. He's posted 15 goals, 12 assists, and 27 points so far on a loan with the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL until the WHL resumes due to Covid-19. He played on the top line with the Medicine Hat Tigers which is why he's being mocked here.
Vancouver adds more depth to their blue line. Daniil Chayka was a first line defender on the Guelph Storm in 2019-2020 before Covid-19 ended the OHL. No OHL games have been played this year due to Covid-19.
The 6-3 185 lb Daniil Chayka had 11 goals, 23 assists, 34 points, and a +9 _/- ratio in 2019-2020. He's struggled in Russia this year with no OHL due to the pandemic and some scouts are lowering his stock because of it.
The Kings can take the best player on the board at 14. Kent Johnson is a fourth line left winger on the Michigan Wolverines, but he's also a consensus top 10 pick in a lot of other 2021 NHL Mock Drafts.
Kent Johnson has 8 goals, 17 assists, 25 points, and a +15 +/- ratio in 2020-2021 on a fourth line playing next to Matthew Beniers. I've seen Johnson play with Beniers on other lines though. Los Angeles wouldn't need a lot from Johnson. They'd just need him on the second or third line as a left winger for depth. That's a realistic goal for Kent Johnson.
Philadelphia gets the best player on the board at 15. The 5-11 196 lb Zachary L'Heureux had 11 goals, 18 assists, and 29 points in his rookie season in 2018-2019. Zachary L'Heureux had 21 goals, 31 assists, 52 points, and a +9 +/- ratio during the 2018-2019 regular season before having a promising playoff performance in his rookie . Zachary L'Heureux had 20 goals, 33 assists, 53 points, and +34 +/- ratio in 2019-2020. Zachary L'Heureux was so dominant with the Montcon Wildcats that the Halifax Mooseheads traded for him prior to the 2020-2021 season after Covid-19 ended the QMJHL. He only has 10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points, and a -7 +/- ratio in 2020-2021
Zachary L'Heureux has the has the playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, offensive awareness. He's a playmaker with a nice wrist shot. He needs to develop his slap shot and the rest of his game to have the talent to play on one of the first two lines in the NHL. Right now he's got enough skills to be an effective third line left winger at some point in the NHL. The fact that he lacks the first step and explosion you want from a skater is concerning to a degree.