Pick tracker and analysis for every team

iCrackStreamsJuly 24, 2021

The 2021 NHL draft is here, and we’re tracking all 224 picks over two days and seven rounds, starting with the Buffalo Sabres’ selection at No. 1 overall of Owen Power. Follow along live Friday and Saturday for each selection. Plus, Greg Wyshynski will take a closer look at how each first-rounder fits with his new team.

This year’s class of prospects comes with little consensus when it comes to rankings and evaluations, thanks to uneven — or nonexistent — seasons for many junior, collegiate and/or international leagues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But the group is extremely talented, with numerous future impact players at the NHL level.

Following the Sabres in Round 1 were the Seattle Kraken, who just completed their full expansion draft and then made their first ever draft pick at No. 2 overall (Matthew Beniers).

Here are the 2021 NHL draft picks as they happen, along with instant analysis on every Round 1 selection. Watch the first-round picks roll in live on Friday night on ESPN2. Rounds 2-7 will continue on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. ET (NHL Network).

See more: Rankings


Team: Michigan (Big Ten)
Ranking: 1 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 213 | Shot: L
Stats: 26 GP, 3 G, 13 A

How he fits: It’s not often that a team gets the first overall pick in the draft in two out of four seasons. It’s also not often that a team uses those two No. 1 picks to then select defensemen, but that’s how the draft classes have worked out for the Sabres. Rasmus Dahlin, No. 1 overall in 2018, hasn’t quite leveled up to franchise defenseman status yet, but he’s only 21 years old. Now Power joins him as another left-side defenseman who Buffalo can build around in the next decade — perhaps using the pieces it gets for an eventual Jack Eichel trade, for example. — Wyshynski

Team: Michigan (Big Ten)
Ranking: 3 | Nationality: USA
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 175 | Shot: L
Stats: 24 GP, 10 G, 14 A

How he fits: Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol told me that his general manager, Ron Francis, wanted to acquire players who reminded the Hall of Famer of the way he played. Well, he just drafted a two-way center with great skating ability, dynamic offense and a “leads-by-example” work ethic, which should be familiar to Francis. Beniers is a great building block for the NHL’s newest franchise. He fancied Patrice Bergeron growing up, but Beniers may end up becoming the Kraken’s own version of Jonathan Toews one day. — Wyshynski

Team: Peterborough (OHL)
Ranking: 9 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 207 | Shot: L

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    How he fits: As the Ryan Getzlaf era fades into memory, the Ducks get themselves another talented center who plays a power game. McTavish’s stock shot up the draft board in the past few weeks, and you can see why: He has an NHL shot, plays strong and has drawn comparisons to Ryan O’Reilly. Anaheim has a solid foundation building with forward Trevor Zegras, defenseman Jamie Drysdale and now McTavish. — Wyshynski

    Team: USA U-18 (NTDP)
    Ranking: 5 | Nationality: USA
    Age: 17 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 184 | Shot: L
    Stats: 38 GP, 6 G, 28 A

    How he fits: Obviously, the master plan is to collect two Hughes brothers in the hopes that they magnetically attract Quinn Hughes to join the Devils at some point. Just kidding … maybe. Luke Hughes may not have the offensive dynamism that Quinn Hughes does, but his solid two-way game will be an asset to the Devils as he joins Ty Smith among the next-wave defensemen. And if all else fails, the team has a heck of a marketing hook with the Brothers Hughes — and a happy star in Jack Hughes, which is always a good thing. — Wyshynski

    Team: Michigan (Big Ten)
    Ranking: 7 | Nationality: CAN
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 167 | Shot: L
    Stats: 26 GP, 9 G, 18 A

    How he fits: The Blue Jackets have chased a franchise center for years. They thought they had ones in Ryan Johansen and Pierre-Luc Dubois, before trading both. Now comes Johnson, a late-bloomer who had an absolutely tremendous, highlight-generating freshman season at Michigan. One issue: He might be better on the wing, where many draft analysts believe he’ll put up huge numbers in the NHL. Wherever he plays, he’ll be an elite playmaker. — Wyshynski

    Team: Frolunda Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
    Ranking: 8 | Nationality: SWE
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 198 | Shot: L
    Stats: 14 GP, 1 G, 5 A

    How he fits: Talented Swede joins the Red Wings. In other news, water remains wet. Edvinsson gives Detroit a player many feel projects to be a franchise blueliner. The Red Wings now have a foundational 6-foot-5 defenseman on the left side to join their foundational 6-foot-4 defenseman on the right side in Moritz Seider. Hey, the Red Wings know from trying to build from the Swedish defensemen out. Ask Steve Yzerman. — Wyshynski

    Team: Djurgarden (Sweden)
    Ranking: 2 | Nationality: SWE
    Age: 18 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 176 | Shot: L
    Stats: 40 GP, 11 G, 12 A

    How he fits: This is the first top-10 pick the Sharks have had since taking Timo Meier at No. 9 overall in 2015. Eklund gives the Sharks a silky smooth offensive player who also takes care of business at the other end of the rink. The Sharks don’t exactly have a robust prospect pool and don’t have anyone at the forward spot at the caliber of Eklund. — Wyshynski

    Team: Barrie (OHL)
    Ranking: 6 | Nationality: CAN
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 185 | Shot: R

    How he fits: Clarke joins arguably the deepest prospect pool in the NHL with the Kings. But as deep as that pool is, it has more big fish at center and wing than on the blue line. Given that need, and GM Rob Blake’s legacy as a Hall of Fame defenseman, this was one of the draft’s most predictable picks. Given his hockey sense and offensive awareness, there have already been comparisons for Clarke to the kind of impact Adam Fox has had early in his NHL career with the Rangers. Fox just won the Norris Trophy. No pressure, Brandt. — Wyshynski

    Team: Edmonton (WHL)
    Ranking: 4 | Nationality: CAN
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 175 | Shot: R
    Stats: 12 GP, 12 G, 12 A

    How he fits: The Coyotes started the day without a first-round pick, having had to forfeit it (No. 11) because they violated the NHL’s scouting combine testing rules. Then the Canucks sent the ninth overall pick to Arizona in the trade that sent Oliver Ekman-Larsson to Vancouver, and now we can officially include Guenther as part of the bounty Arizona received in that deal. He was projected by many to go as high as No. 3 overall to the Ducks. He drops here to the Coyotes, who get the kind of goal scorer their prospect pipeline lacks. His shot is great, but his ability to find spaces to get that shot off is equally impressive. — Wyshynski

    Team: USA U-18 (NTDP)
    Ranking: 40 | Nationality: USA
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 205 | Shot: R
    Stats: 12 GP, 6 G, 5 A

    Final top 50 prospect rankings »
    • Mock draft: First-round predictions »
    • Why Owen Power is the clear No. 1 »
    • NHL execs identify the top prospects »
    • Meet the next wave of top picks »
    • Francesco Pinelli’s Slovenian tour »
    • Full list of all 224 picks »
    More NHL and draft content

    How he fits: Three words: Off … the … board. Boucher is going to be a fine pro. He’s a winger who blends offense with absolute physicality and agitation on every shift and a tenacious player who plays the kind of blue-collar, hard-nosed game that Senators coach D.J. Smith no doubt enjoys. But Boucher was the 25th ranked North American skater as ranked by Central Scouting. You couldn’t find a mock draft that had him slotted this high. Perhaps trading down to where they thought he’d end up would be too much of a guessing game for the Senators. They wanted him, they had the No. 10 pick and they got him. But it was a reach, and it came at the cost of not drafting either of the first round’s two goaltenders. — Wyshynski

    The Coyotes were forced to surrender their 2021 first-round pick at No. 11 overall after violating the NHL’s rules on pre-combine testing.

    Team: Sioux Falls (USHL)
    Ranking: 12 | Nationality: CAN
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 197 | Shot: L
    Stats: 31 GP, 24 G, 22 A

    How he fits: Yes, Mike “Suitcase” Sillinger did in fact play for the Blue Jackets from 2001 to 2003. Now his son is tabbed to join the Columbus family. He has a terrific shot and plays an aggressive brand of offense, tallying 46 points in 31 games last season for the Sioux Falls Stampede. The Blue Jackets take their second forward of the first round. They’ve only used their first two picks on forwards once since 2014. Has the end of the John Tortorella era ushered in a more offensive era? — Wyshynski

    Team: Chicago (USHL)
    Ranking: 16 | Nationality: USA
    Age: 18 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 183 | Shot: R
    Stats: 51 GP, 48 G, 37 A

    How he fits: Yet another place where many felt goalies Jesper Wallstedt or Sebastian Cossa could have been selected. But the Flames opted for Coronato, a player with an absolute nose for the net as a goal scorer. He’s Harvard bound and had 48 goals in 51 games in the USHL last season. If the Flames didn’t believe either goalie was the future for them, then this is a nice pick. — Wyshynski

    Team: Leksand (Sweden)
    Ranking: 25 | Nationality: SWE
    Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 156 | Shot: L
    Stats: 22 GP, 0 G, 1 A

    How he fits: Another franchise that needs a goalie, another franchise that opted not to take one. Instead the Sabres select a terrific offensive forward in Rosen. The modern NHL game demands the ability to make plays at a high velocity. Rosen has the skating ability to create separation from defenders. His ability to shoot the puck at full stride has earned him Nikolaj Ehlers’ comparisons. The Sabres could certainly use that, too. — Wyshynski

    Team: Edmonton (WHL)
    Ranking: 14 | Nationality: CAN
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 210 | Catch: L
    Stats: 19 GP, 0.941 save pct., 1.57 GAA

    How he fits: The Red Wings flipped the No. 23 pick — along with the 48th and 138th overall selections to the Stars for this selection. Obviously that was a function of seeing Cossa still on the board. Cossa stands 6-foot-6 and has good agility in the crease. He went 17-1-1 with a .941 save percentage for the Edmonton Oil Kings. After Keith Petruzzelli opted not to sign with the Red Wings, the team didn’t really have anyone in the mold of a goalie of the future. Cossa fits that mold, and fits the M.O. of GM Steve Yzerman. Back in 2012, he didn’t have a goalie of the future with the Lightning, so he drafted a kid from the Russian juniors in the first round. That kid just won the Conn Smythe and his second straight Stanley Cup: Andrei Vasilevskiy. — Wyshynski

    Team: Flint (OHL)
    Ranking: 21 | Nationality: CAN
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 175 | Shot: L

    How he fits: Not the best forward available here — that honor probably goes to Chaz Lucius, Fabian Lysell or Fedor Svechkov — but Othmann fits a particular need for the Rangers. He plays with speed, loves to get on the forecheck and was an impressive member of the Canadian World Junior team this season. He played professionally in the Swiss League, too. He could be a little closer to making an NHL impact than some of the other forwards in the first round, which is good for a Rangers team that’s just about ready to turn the corner to contention. — Wyshynski

    Team: Rimouski (QMJHL)
    Ranking: 28 | Nationality: CAN
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 175 | Shot: L
    Stats: 27 GP, 10 G, 19 A

    How he fits: It’s a little bit of a reach for the Blues here. Bolduc needs to develop an NHL frame and isn’t among the first round’s better skaters. But he has a solid wrist shot in his offensive repertoire and could certainly develop into a top-six forward. Others may have been surer things. But GM Doug Armstrong correctly snags a center here, which is an area of need in the Blues’ rather shallow prospect pool. — Wyshynski

    Team: USA U-18 (NTDP)
    Ranking: 10 | Nationality: USA
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 185 | Shot: R
    Stats: 13 GP, 13 G, 7 A

    How he fits: We’re torn on this one. Lucius is a really solid pick, no doubt. He is a goal scorer, a playmaker and a USA Hockey product — and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff no doubt has visions of another Kyle Connor dancing through his head. Lucius missed a lot of time due to knee surgery but has enough proof of concept to earn this draft placement. However, these are the Jets. We all know about their defensive needs. Having one of the defensemen still on the board join Dylan Samberg and Ville Heinola as the future of the Winnipeg defensive corps wouldn’t have been a bad choice, either. — Wyshynski

    Team: Togliatti (Russia 2)
    Ranking: 22 | Nationality: RUS
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 187 | Shot: L
    Stats: 38 GP, 5 G, 10 A

    How he fits: After selecting goalie Yaroslav Askarov last season with the 11th overall pick, GM David Poile goes back to Russia to select Svechkov. The center posted some flashy offensive numbers in international play for Russia, including 10 points in seven games at the World Juniors. He can start his offensive plays in the defensive end, too. The Predators will wait for this one, if Svechkov can’t make the leap to the NHL right away. — Wyshynski

    Team: Lulea (Sweden)
    Ranking: 11 | Nationality: SWE
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 214 | Catch: L
    Stats: 22 GP, 0.908 save pct., 2.23 GAA

    How he fits: The Wild acquired this pick by flipping the 22nd and 90th overall selections to the Oilers — another trade-up to get a goalie. There’s proof of concept here with Wallstedt in both international play and in one season in the Swedish Hockey League. He’s slightly smaller than Sebastian Cossa but no slouch at 6-foot-3. He has the tools for become a No. 1 in the NHL. The best goalie prospect in the system is already on the roster: Kaapo Kahkonen, 24, was most recently seen exposed in the Seattle expansion draft. Wallstedt has a higher ceiling. — Wyshynski

    Team: Lulea (Sweden)
    Ranking: 13 | Nationality: SWE
    Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 172 | Shot: R
    Stats: 26 GP, 2 G, 1 A

    How he fits: Swerve! In five of his six drafts with the Bruins, GM Don Sweeney — a former NHL defenseman — has selected a blueliner with his first pick. Instead, he opts for Lysell here. There are few offensive players in the first round with his “wow” factor, with a combination of blazing-fast skating and a tremendous shot. He’s also a deft stick handler, especially in offensive zone traffic. Like Isak Rosen, Lysell has earned Nikolaj Ehlers comparisons, but he needs to get a little stronger to make that kind of NHL impact. — Wyshynski

    Team: Shawinigan (QMJHL)
    Ranking: 19 | Nationality: CAN
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 172 | Shot: R
    Stats: 29 GP, 20 G, 20 A

    How he fits: Bourgault is a reach here, but once you get to the bottom of the first round, it’s all relative. He has torn up the QMJHL with 111 points in 92 games over the past two seasons. That Edmonton was still able to get the player it wanted after trading down two spots is a nice piece of business for GM Ken Holland. — Wyshynski

    Team: Windsor (OHL)
    Ranking: NR | Nationality:
    Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 178 | Shot: R

    How he fits: Interesting pick. The Stars probably could have traded down and still landed Johnston, given that a lot of mock drafts had him on the bubble or in the second round. He had a strong U18 World Juniors with four points in seven games, and he has a great hockey sense around the offensive zone. Johnston fits with the kind of role player that GM Jim Nill likes, and he was the 16th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting despite not playing last year due to the OHL COVID postponement. — Wyshynski

    Team: Chicago (USHL)
    Ranking: 27 | Nationality: USA
    Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 191 | Shot: R
    Stats: 36 GP, 13 G, 24 A

    2020-21 record: 18-26-12

    2020-21 record: 35-16-5

    2020-21 record: 36-12-8

    2020-21 record: 39-13-4

    2020-21 record: 19-30-7

    2020-21 record: 40-14-2

    2020-21 record: 24-21-11

    2020-21 record: 24-25-7

    Follow here again live on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. ET, for every selection of Rounds 2-7.

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