The Hockey Prospecting Top 32 (2021)

Introducing the final Hockey Prospecting rankings of the top 32 for the 2021 draft! The rankings factor in the probabilities from the model, but also age, runway left to improve, league-specific patterns/anomalies and reputation/rank with reliable resources. These are not scouting reports or a ranking of where we think players will actually be drafted. Rather, our rankings provide a glimpse into who we see making the NHL and becoming stars in the NHL, based on 30 years of history and distinct pattern detection. This year, we’re able to add goalies to our rankings with the new Hockey Prospecting Goalie Tool! The Covid-19 year was difficult to navigate with small sample sizes, odd divisions and players playing where they never would be in a regular year. However, there’s still plenty we can learn from the patterns and projections that emerge from the Hockey Prospecting model.

On to the rankings!

  1. Brandt Clarke, D

Every year we talk about a European playing in a men’s league in Europe that is expected to go in the first round. The discussion often involves someone saying “imagine what this guy would have done in the CHL… he would have destroyed it”. Brandt Clarke is that but the opposite. Due to his native OHL league being shutdown for the entire season because of Covid-19, Clarke went across the pond and played in the Slovak men’s league and was extremely productive. Small sample size (which is a consistent problem facing this year due to Covid-19), but Clarke’s production was incredible. He registered 15 points in 26 games. He really started to come on in the second half of his time in the Slovakia league so those totals could even be understated.

The Slovakia league isn’t a league that a lot of players come from but it’s a very good quality league, on par with the Czech league and a bit behind the SHL. Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik are the most high profile players to ever come out of the Slovakia league. Euro men’s leagues in general rarely have teenagers featured in them, and the teenagers that do play in them rarely have notable production, especially dmen. The only teenage dmen that had success like this in any Euro men’s league in their draft year over the past 30 years were Victor Hedman and Rasmus Dahlin. Clarke was already considered a top pick for the 2021 draft before the year even started (due to a strong D-1 season in the OHL in 2019-20). That type of rare, substantial success in Europe pushes him over the top as our top ranked player in 2021, a draft that lacks the consensus number one pick we see in 95% of drafts.

2. Dylan Guenther, RW/LW

Due to the shortened 2021 Covid-19 season and playing in the WJC, Guenther only got in 12 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL. However, he was a 2 point-per-game player over that span. Incredibly small sample and what makes it worse is he was playing in a weak Alberta (Covid) division. That might give you pause from taking Guenther this high. However, Guenther’s production could have fallen off by as much as 30% in a normal non-Covid year and, due to when he was born, his pre-draft year, his size, being a right shot and his position, he would still be a top 5 pick for me. Guenther’s development pattern in the model is reminiscent of Quinton Byfield, Mitch Marner, Nikita Kucherov and Marc Savard. There is not a lot of players in the 2021 draft that already look like they could be stars in the NHL. Guenther is one of them.

3. Jesper Wallstedt, G

It’s time to take a goalie in the top 5. It’s been 16 years (Carey Price). Jesper Wallstedt should be that pick. Why on earth should a goalie be taken so high? This isn’t an overly deep draft full of an endless stream of studs and Wallstedt is legit. Between 1980 and 2013 only eight goalies found themselves getting significant starts in a Euro men’s league in their first eligible draft year. Five of the eight made the NHL and there are some notable names amongst them – Hasek, Bryzgalov, Lehtonen and Cechmanek. The latest one taken was Yaroslav Askarov (2020) and Askarov is trending to be very good as well.

Wallstedt played 22 games for Lulea in the SHL in the 2020-21 season and registered a save percentage of .908. The SHL is not a developmental league, like junior North American leagues. It is a high quality men’s league that has their own championships and goals. You don’t get in games as an 18 year old in the SHL unless you’re trusted and helping the team win games. From my research into goalies while building my goalie equivalency model, to be successful in the NHL as goalies, they often need to be facing men competition and men shots at an early age.

Wallstedt is already there, playing significantly in the third best league in the world. He’ll likely be in the NHL in 1-2 years from now and will likely never be playing against junior (teenage) competition again in his life. That’s a big advantage! While not exactly the same, this is reminiscent of Andrei Vasilevskiy in 2012 – a weaker draft with a stud Euro goalie on the table in the first round. I’m pretty confident Wallstedt is worth the gamble and could be a similar talent to Vasilevskiy.

4. William Eklund, C/LW

Eklund doesn’t have an elite profile in the model yet but it may be coming, especially with another year in the SHL, which he confirmed he will be returning to the SHL for the 2021-22 season. He’s the highest scoring draft year SHLer since Kevin Fiala and Elias Lindholm. In fact, here’s the list of SHL products over the past 30 years that registered a draft year equivalency in the ballpark of Eklund or greater – Fiala, Lindholm, Backstrom, H. Sedin, D. Sedin, Naslund and P. Forsberg. The latter five were all stars and Lindholm and Fiala appear on the verge of turning into stars themselves.

Most any European forward that produces at a clip equivalent to this or greater in a Euro men’s league makes the NHL or will soon and they do so as a top 6. The scouting reports for Eklund are good (good speed, good shot but can also make plays and works hard). The only thing that gives me a bit of reservation with with Eklund and keeps him out of a top 2 pick is his age. If he was a summer-born guy doing this (like Peter Forsberg)… give me William Eklund 1st overall all day. Regardless, a player like Eklund shouldn’t make it out of the top 5 and he probably won’t.

5. Luke Hughes, D

The youngest of the Hughes brothers is different from his siblings but appears he will also be a significant elite offensive threat. Hughes is a terrific skater, like his brothers, but Luke is much taller than Quinn and Jack and able to use his range. As well, Quinn and Jack looked like obvious top 5 picks from their production results, as early as their D-1 seasons. Luke doesn’t have quite that same look (he’s not far off). On the other hand, Luke is extremely young for his draft class, born in early September. He’s only a few days away from being eligible for next year’s class. For comparison, Quinn, born in October, was nearly a year older at the time he was drafted.

Hughes, to-date, looks like a very good piece in the model but not an elite one. But where Luke Hughes is now, his age and where he’s going next has a lot to do with his ranking. With the rapid development we saw in Hughes this year vs. last year coupled with his age, I expect him to make significant jumps in the coming years. In 1 to 2 years, I expect Hughes to look the part of a very high probability star defenseman. He has the same developmental pattern and I’m forecasting the same upside as Dougie Hamilton, Zach Werenski, PK Subban, Jamie Drysdale and Erik Brannstrom. He may never be elite in all ways but is likely to be an effective and creative, puck moving defenseman that generates a ton of offense in the NHL.

6. Owen Power, D

It may come as a bit of a surprise to see the player likely to go 1st overall ranked this low. Power appears to be a good value prospect but not great or elite one, especially at 1st overall. Power, right now, has a 7% probability of becoming a star. Approximately 75% of all 1st overall picks become stars and most 1st overall picks look like stars already when they’re drafted. There’s a pretty substantial chance that Power is that 25% and is not a star offensive player. That being said, Power has room to grow out of that 7%. Power is a huge mobile defenseman that will certainly be an NHLer that eats up a lot of minutes. And there has been some very good players that have shared a similar development pattern including: Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan Pulock and Jacob Chychryn. I look at those players and if Power hits his ceiling, I feel like he’s right in that Bouwmeester wheelhouse. By that I mean, a guy who easily and effortlessly eats up 20 minutes a night, plays 1,000 NHL games and chips in modestly offensively (30 to 40 points a year in his prime).

7. Matthew Beniers, C

Beniers is the best center option in the draft. Beniers isn’t a high octane offensive center that will put up a point per game in the NHL. Or at least is unlikely to. Players that look like Beniers only end up offensive stars about 1/3 of the time and many of the ones that look like this that end up as stars only barely cross the star threshold. However, Beniers whole scouting report and reputation is as an elite two-way center. So the fact that he doesn’t look like an elite offensive juggernaut in the model isn’t a concern because he’s not supposed to be. The transition/possession underlying stats tracked by Mitch Brown at EliteProspects support this. All of Beniers’ metrics are off the charts. Beniers may not be the elite offensive star center but is likely a very good 1C or 2C in the NHL who averages 40 to 60 points a year in his prime. I’ve heard a number of people say Beniers is a Nico Hischier type. That fits. In the model, he looks almost identical to Hischier. Other recent centers he profiles like include: Nazem Kadri, Logan Couture and Brayden Point.

8. Cole Sillinger, C

Sillinger really intrigues me. He’s expected to go in the early teens but sure seems like a Top 10 pick to me. He’s relatively young (born in May), saw good production last year, switched leagues (due to the slow start in the WHL) and didn’t skip a beat and had a great, productive draft year. He also possesses one of the best shots out of anybody in the 2021 draft. His particular profile in the model is a very good one. Just under half the players that look like this turn into stars in the NHL and almost all of them make the NHL. Players that have profiled similar include: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mathew Barzal, Tyler Toffoli, Jaden Schwartz and Clayton Keller. Is Sillinger ranked firmly in the top 10 if there’s no Covid-19 and he plays a full normal season in the WHL in his draft year? I bet he is.

9. Chaz Lucius, C

Lucius missed a portion of the year due to a significant knee injury. However, after coming in about half way through the year, he was really good out of the gates. If the knee isn’t a concern I would feel comfortable taking Lucius inside the top 10. The high equivalency in his draft year combined with the younger age makes him reasonable at the back end of the top 10. Not all of the players that look like Lucius hit big but most become formidable Top 6 or Top 9 players. Some recent comparables include: Sam Bennett, Arthur Kaliyev, Jonathan Huberdeau, Michael Dal Colle, Evander Kane, James Van Riemsdyk and Anthony Beauvillier.

10. Matthew Coronato, LW

When I see how low Coronato is ranked (expected to go at the back end of the 1st round), it makes me wonder what the missing is. He’s got the profile in the model of a player that should and normally does go in the early teens. No serious red flags that I can discern from what the scouts say. Why is he often ranked at the back end of the first round? Probably because he’s not very big, not super fast (for a smaller player anyways… but neither was DeBrincat) and coming out of the USHL (and not the CHL or USDP). Interestingly, there does sound like a few teams in the early teens are very interested in Coronato and he could go much earlier than expected. In my eyes, this is not a reach pick. This is a perfectly logical pick to go between 10 and 15 and I hope he does.

11. Kent Johnson, C

Kent Johnson is a bit of an odd case. Johnson is billed as a highly creative offensive talent (one of the highest offensive skill sets in the draft) who isn’t terrific defensively. There’s some question marks about Johnson but the consensus is he’ll get by with his offensive talent. This is exactly the type of player that should look phenomenal in the Hockey Prospecting model. He should look like an Alex DeBrincat or Patrick Kane or Nikita Kucherov. Essentially, there should be no question that he’ll make the NHL as an offensive top 6 player because his chances of doing so are so high (like the aforementioned players). Except Johnson doesn’t look like that.

Johnson still looks much better than the average prospect, don’t get me wrong, that’s why he’s still ranked inside the top 20 in this draft. But he doesn’t have an elite profile in the model. If that’s what the scouting report points towards… why doesn’t he look the part? Makes me a bit leery of taking Johnson inside the top 10. Not to mention the height/weight ratio here – 6’1” and 165 lbs. There’s something a bit off here that makes me hesitant to rank him any higher.

12. Olen Zellweger, D

I will say it is next to impossible that Olen Zellweger will ever be drafted as high as he is ranked here. He’s 5’10”, plays defense and you’re going to have to base the drafting decision on an incredibly small sample of games from the 2020-21 season. Zellweger only got in 11 games in the WHL this year (the season was only 24 games and for half the season Zellweger was quarantining and participating in the WJC-18 tournament). In those 11 games, he registered 13 points. At the WJC-18 he registered another 8 points in 7 games ( I don’t have equivalencies for tournaments because the game samples are too small). I always take note of CHL dmen in their draft year putting up a point-per-game or better. They aren’t that common and 83% of them to do so make the NHL, many as stars.

I know what you’re thinking… you can’t make that assertion off of 11 games. And it pains me that he got into so few games this year as I would have loved to see if he could keep up that pace. However, Zellweger is also one of the youngest players in the draft, born five days away from being in the 2022 draft. That gets me interested, that gets me very interested. Zellweger already looks incredible and has so much runway to grow and develop. Like fellow WHL product Dylan Guenther, his production is so outrageous that he could fall back by 20% or 30% over a whole season and I still love him as a mid-1st rounder. The way he’s built, the way he plays and the way he profiles in the model, reminds me quite a bit of Sam Girard. If you do a 2016 re-draft today, Girard is definitely a mid-1st round pick right? Zellweger has that same energy.

13. Sasha Pastujov, LW

This is a risk/reward pick. Pastujov has tons of skill, he can make plays and can score from a lot of places in the offensive zone but he’s not a very good skater (scouting reports describe him having pretty poor mechanics and no pace to his skating) and his defensive game and possession game aren’t incredible. If Pastujov makes the NHL he’ll likely have to do so as a top 6 powerplay weapon. But players that look like Pastujov have success in the NHL, many in this very role he will need to succeed in. Summer-born with really high equivalencies in both his pre-draft year and draft year. Already at a 40% star probability with tons of runway and the potential to improve on that score and turn into a big offensive threat. Perhaps not the perfect does everything stud forward. But a forward that should generate a ton of offense. At this point in this draft, there isn’t anybody left that can do everything at an incredible rate. Pastujov may be worth the risk here.

14. Ayrton Martino, LW

Martino is another player that seems to be ranked far too low, he probably doesn’t even go in the first round, maybe not even the second. Why is he ranked so low? The usual culprits apply, he’s on the smaller side and not playing in the CHL or USDP. As well, Martino was playing in the OJHL in his pre-draft year, before switching over to the USHL. Players switching from lower level leagues in their pre-draft years are sometimes overlooked (Mangiapane, for instance). Martino, I don’t believe, is a future superstar but has a good likelihood of being a useful NHLer. He had good but not elite production in his pre-draft year, good but not elite production in his draft year. He compares with wingers like Ethan Moreau, Raffi Torres and Joshua Bailey.

15. Logan Stankoven, C/RW

There’s nearly nothing to go on for Stankoven because he played so little in his draft year but there’s still some information we can use. Stankoven, born in late February, is an average aged prospect verging into the older category. His pre-draft year, cut short by Covid-19 but normal otherwise, was very good. Results you’ll often see from a 1st round pick. He only played six games in 2020-21. Much too small of a sample and that data didn’t even make it into the model (his profile is solely based on his pre-draft year results). But in those six games he already registered 10 points. I’m estimating he wouldn’t quite keep that up over the season. But it looks like he was going to take a big jump this year, to some degree.

If he keeps that same 1.7 ppg pace, that’s the type of player I would select inside the top 10, even with that size. If that falls by 10% to 20%, still a solid early teens first round pick. If he nets out even just ahead of where he was last year it’s a reasonable late 1st pick. If he takes a step back from where he was last year, that’s a player that should probably drop out of the first round. The last scenario seems unlikely as does the third scenario. So, in normal circumstances, would Stankoven had an incredible or really good draft year? The last factor to consider is Stankoven is 5’8”. Shorter players are drafted less and have a tougher time making it to the NHL. But shorter players that are in the wheelhouse of scenario one or two mostly make the NHL and thrive.

Right here there’s a ledge in terms of talent. There’s still good pieces to be had but there’s a significant drop in value from the previous 15 picks and the players are a bit more interchangeable. If a team is able to drop back a few spots while acquiring an extra 3rd or 4th rounder and still get one of the players here, it should certainly be entertained…

16. Zachary L’Heureux, C

I love these types of players. Young players that saw good results in their pre-draft year, modest growth in their draft year and are on the verge of popping and turning into something special. Buchnevich, Gaudreau, Perry, Eberle, Hudon and Leukonen all had a similar look. They don’t all hit and most are not special offensive talents but a good number of them are. L’Heureux’s underlying numbers all look good as well. L’Heureux suspensions are an issue. Are these character issues that will keep teams away. He’ll have to get a handle on that or the team drafting him will give up on him pretty quickly.

17. Red Savage, C

Savage has a similar profile to L’Heureux, above average production in pre-draft and draft year coupled with a younger age. A lot of the players that look like Savage make the NHL (over 60%). Savage appears like he’s going to go in rounds 3 or 4, I bet Savage shoots up in re-drafts in 5 or 10 years from now. There are no real red flags with Savage that emerge. Nothing in my data and nothing I read in the scouting reports suggest there’s a major issue. It also doesn’t hurt that his dad, Brian, is a former NHLer and can show him the ropes. Savage could be found money if he makes it to the 2nd round and beyond. The more I read about him, the more he sounds solid all over.

18. Oskar Olausson, LW/RW

Olausson bounced around between the J20 Nationell, Allsvenskan and SHL. In very limited samples, he didn’t do anything earth shattering in the Allsvenskan or SHL, which is nothing to really be concerned about at this point. It just means he’s not on the cusp of making the NHL, he’ll need time to develop. His sample from J20 Nationell was good but very, very small game sample and it’s a low equivalency league (I estimate on par with the SuperElit at 0.22). If you look at draftees over the past 20 years in any league that had a similar age/production profile as Olausson … it’s one that rarely generates a star but generates formidable NHLers. Steen, Soderberg, Tippett, Fabbri and Domi all fit this profile.

19. Sean Behrens, D

Behrens is really intriguing and unusual. Despite the size, most any ranking loves him (seen as a late 1st or 2nd round pick). In terms of the Hockey Prospecting model, Behrens has this strange occurrence where he is slightly outside of a better projection due to multiple things. He’s small but not that tiny (a stocky 5’10”, 176 lbs). He’s young but still verging into the “older” category (born in late March). His production is really good but not quite of the excellent variety (in both his D-1 and DY). His raw projection in the model suggests a 43% probability of an NHLer but he’s so close to so much that he feels like a player that’ll beat those odds. Some odd ball dmen that were slightly on the outside of a better projection on multiple levels like this include: Adam Fox, Josh Morrissey, Reilly Walsh, Timothy Liljegren and Lukas Cormier.

20. Fyodor Svechkov, C/W

Svechkov ticks all the boxes for an early 20’s pick that should hit and make the NHL. Young enough. Small game sample, but the production is there in the MHL (not quite in the VHL yet). He’s got decent enough size. And he’s highly regarded (in the 12 ranking sources used at EliteProspects, he ranks from #9 to #30). Svechkov is trending to be a middle sixer but if he hits the VHL/KHL track early and really starts to take off he could rapidly develop into a first line player.

21. Fabian Lysell, RW

Lysell is a 2021 favorite of many analysts and scouts. Lysell’s best attributes are his speed and ability to generate plays off the rush. Lysell is expected to go from 9th to 15th and that might be a bit high. Lysell, in the Hockey Prospecting model, has the profile of a player that is fair value in the back half of the first round but not the first half. Again, we’re working with a small sample here, but players with this type of equivalency (D-1 and DY) and age only end up as stars once every 4 or 5 years. Lysell’s age in particular is a strong point of interest. Lysell is born January 19 so he has been one of the absolute oldest players in his cohort his whole life and he’s always been more developed than his peers growing up. Interestingly, January-born forwards are drafted in the NHL at a higher frequency than any other month, yet, proportionally, they’ve had less stars hit than most other months.

Overall, these types of players make the NHL 33% of the time. In terms of first rounders, the odds are better. They make the NHL 65% of the time but this is still below the overall 1st round hit rate of ~75%. Lysell is also on the shorter side at 5’10”. Lysell certainly seems to be a unanimous first round talent that can bring you out of your seat with his skill but I would be hesitant to take him too early in the first round. As a back half first round pick, the draft value adds up and he’s worth the pick there.

22. Mason McTavish, C

With both McTavish and Pinelli, the Hockey Prospecting model is of little use because they didn’t play really in their draft year (the OHL season was cancelled due to Covid-19). These picks are almost entirely based on reputation.

In McTavish’s case, there’s a very good possibility he goes inside the Top 10 as he is widely regarded as one of the best centers available in the draft. McTavish has a high, high reputation (EliteProspects consensus rankings have him at 11th). But McTavish’s D-1 results wern’t anything remarkable.. Not a Lafrèniere, Stamkos, Tavares type D-1 that suggests obvious top 5 guy. Given McTavish’s reputation, he was probably going to improve quite significantly in his DY but never got the chance. A player’s draft year is probably their most important development year in the model, especially for older draftees like McTavish. Missing out on it entirely, and not due to injury, is unheard of territory. How does that impact his development? Hard to say but we can try and estimate.

Looking at former 1st round picks from the OHL who looked like McTavish, we can estimate that he would have shot up quite considerably in their DY. High first rounders tend to do so (increasing their equivalency by 20% to 40%). Some don’t and drop into the second round, that’s the risk here. But 80% of them do. So I’m assuming he would look like a 10 to 15 overall pick value (his equivalency shooting up to something in the low 30’s). I can’t justify having him in the top 10 based on the model. In the 20’s I feel comfortable with the unknown risk with his lost year.

23. Francesco Pinelli, C

Pinelli is a similar case to McTavish, as he missed his season in the OHL. However, his reputation isn’t quite as high as McTavish (consensus has him at 21st). On the other hand, Pinelli is a bit younger than McTavish (approximately 4 months). What I’ve found from my research is Spring and Summer born players have a longer runway after they’re drafted to start recording really noticeable equivalencies and develop into impactful NHLers.

Pinelli missing his draft year is a big hole in his development but not quite as drastic as McTavish. Like McTavish, we could have estimated Pinelli to end up somewhere in the high 20’s or low 30’s equivalency-wise). Younger players, like Pinelli, who hit that mark are a bit higher value than older ones who do so. Therefore, I’m comfortable having Pinelli in this spot. He could have the upside of a top 10 or top 15 pick but, as a pick in the 20’s, the risk is mitigated based on his wiped out draft year. That being said, in either case of Pinelli and McTavish, the decision will be based almost entirely on traditional scouting.

24. Sebastian Cossa, G

Time to dip in and take another goalie in the first round. This time with Canadian and Edmonton Oil Kings product, Sebastian Cossa. Typically, no matter the prospect, I would be hesitant to take a North American goalie, playing in a junior league, in the first round. The success rates just aren’t there and, in most cases, you’re better off to take a skater in the first round and dip into the goalie market later. But it’s not an overly deep draft and Cossa is a bit of an exception regardless.

Cossa had an out of this world.941 save percentage (the Covid-19 Alberta WHL division was a very weak one, however). He was also starting and performing very well last year with the Oil Kings. Cossa is also gigantic (6’6”) which is important when it comes to goalies. Tall goalies have much higher success rates than smaller ones. Cossa had one of the highest DY goalie equivalencies and chances of making the NHL of any North American goalie drafted in the past 20 or 30 years. Cossa seems to have the perfect profile of a goalie that will find success in the NHL. The only negative is where he’s playing. He doesn’t have the same ability to develop as Wallstedt. Unless he jumps to Europe or makes the NHL immediately (which almost never happens), he has to go back and play against teenagers in the CHL. Not ideal but Cossa has no control over that. Everything else about Cossa looks very appetizing, however.

Here we hit another ledge. These players profile like NHLers but not remarkable ones. There’s a rank associated with them but they can really be selected pretty interchangeable here.

25. Xavier Bourgault

The next few prospects all look very similar in the model. Older center draftee prospects with slightly above average equivalencies that are regarded as first round talents. Other data sources on them (like Mitch Brown’s possession/transition data) all look promising enough but nothing that really jumps off the page.  It’s these moments where Hockey Prospecting would lean on scouting reports complied on the players.  As I’ve often written, Hockey Prospecting doesn’t replace scouting, it should be used in conjunction with it.

Out of the three, i’ll lean towards Bourgault first of the three because he showed a bit better in his D-1 year and DY year. It’s not a big difference when you’re looking at older draftees but enough of one that bumps him ahead of the three in this group.

26. Zachary Bolduc

Bolduc is the youngest of these three centres, so he has some additional runway to grow.  He’s similar in build to Bourgault (6’1”, 174 lbs).  There is very little to pick between the two. They’re also one consensus position away from each other in the consolidated rankings compiled by EliteProspects.

27. Mackie Samoskevich

Samoskvich is generally thought to go right at the end of the first round, perhaps into the second.  He’s a slightly older birthday (November), so less runway for him to grow into than Bolduc.  However, at 5’11 and 190lbs he ‘s developed further physically.  Usually when three prospects look this close in the model, size can often make the difference in selection.

In any event, it’s very unlikely for any of these three to become a star, but if they hit their mark they could be solid 2C/3Cs in the NHL. Danault, Kunin, Eriksson Ek and Girgensons are some recent late first round centers that have this same look.

28. Simon Edvinsson, D

Edvinsson is a player expected to go in the top 10, maybe even top 5. Based on the Hockey Prospecting Model, Edvinsson is not a player we would pursue nearly this high. He’s big and has a long reach and is regarded as pretty mobile for a big man. He’s estimated to be a two-way or shutdown Top 4 dman in the NHL. Older dmen like Edvinsson this size and with a D-1/DY equivalency like this, there’s not a super high ceiling there. Best case scenario is in the range of Erik Gudbranson, Tyler Myers, Darnell Nurse and Rasmus Ristolainen. For me, there’s too much skill available in the top 10 of almost any draft to select a player like this, that high.

29. Daniil Chayka, D

Chayka has a very similar profile to Edvinsson. Similar age (although a bit older), similar size and equivalency. Chayka also comes with a first rounder expectation, although not as high as Edvinsson (consensus suggests late, late 20s). More than half of the dmen that profile just like this never make the NHL. There’s a lot of risk to picks like this. However, Chayka did show pretty well in the OHL last year. He didn’t show quite as well in Russia this year once the OHL got shut down but he bounced around a lot in Russia (as you do) and didn’t play in any league for more than 11 games. Chayka possibly could have put something more substantial together with another season in the OHL.

30. Corson Ceulemans, D

Ceulemans is younger version of Edvinsson and Chayka. Ceulemans only got into a few games in the AJHL (a low tier junior league) before it got shut down again due to Covid-19. In those few games he was generating a lot of production but the sample size was way too small. Ceulemans has the first round reputation and while losing the draft year could really hurt his development, I’m comfortable having him at the backend of the first round (he has lots of runway left to bridge the gap of the lost year). A few later first rounders that would profile similar to Ceulemans and where he might have ended up at the end of a normal year include: Tobias Bjornfot, Henri Jokiharju, Stuart Percy, Olli Maata, Jiri Fischer and Robin Regehr.

31. Simon Robertsson, RW

Robertsson is a slightly above average equivalency, older winger. Robertsson comes with a first rounder reputation, expected to go at the back end of the first. Martin Kaut, Dominik Bokk, Tyler Benson, Daniel Sprong is what you’re looking at here. Every once in a while you strike gold with one of these types of wingers – Boeser is the most recent – but highly impactful producers are rare from this bucket.

32. Connor Roulette, C/LW

Roulette is described by scouts as highly skilled but flawed. He has the IQ and hands to make plays but can he make it all work and work on deficiencies (i.e., skating) to make it to the next level. What I see in the model in Roulette is something similar. He’s a younger prospect (another May born draftee) and had good results in his pre-draft year and draft year, close to great (nearly hitting a 30 equivalency in his draft year). He’s close to something really substantial and that’s why I have him sneaking into the Hockey Prospecting Top 32. Can he get to those really substantial equivalencies indicative of productive NHLers? And how quickly can he get there? Some late first rounder/early second rounders that shared this profile: the Robertson brothers, Christian Fischer and JT Compher.

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