NHL Draft grades 2021: Full results, analysis for every first-round pick

1. Buffalo Sabres — Owen Power, D, University of Michigan (NCAA)

   Grade: A

As expected, the Sabres take the prospect that has been widely considered the top prospect available. With Rasmus Dahlin as the 1D, this has the potential to be an excellent fit for Power. He won’t need to be the top guy, but he should be an excellent No. 2. The NCAA defender brings high intelligence, an excellent transition game, a long reach and impressive four-way mobility. Combined with his 6-6 frame, this was a very expected selection.

2. Seattle Kraken — Matty Beniers, F, University of Michigan (NCAA)

   Grade: A

With the first-ever selection for the NHL’s newest team, the Kraken took the first forward off the board in Beniers. One of the most competitive players in the class, he has top-line potential thanks to his ability to impact the game at both ends of the ice. The NCAA standout is an excellent piece to build around as the Kraken look to fill out their prospect pool.

3. Anaheim Ducks — Mason McTavish, C, Peterborough Petes (OHL)

Grade: A-

The Ducks made the first surprise pick of the 2021 NHL Draft. McTavish is a strong power forward that will fit excellently behind 2019 first-rounder Trevor Zegras down the line. McTavish had a late-season push up draft boards after seeing his development overseas and his performance at the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship. He has one of the best shots in the class and plays an excellent two-way game. McTavish has the tools to be a future leader on this young team.

4. New Jersey Devils — Luke Hughes, D, USNTDP (USHL)

Grade: A

The Devils are uniting two brothers with the selection of Luke, who will be playing with 2019 first-overall selection Jack. The younger Hughes fits the organizational needs of the Devils extremely well as a potential x-factor on the blue line. One of the youngest players in this class, the ceiling is sky-high. He’s an excellent skater who excels in transition. Imagining a future with Hughes and Ty Smith should get Devils fans very excited.

5. Columbus Blue Jackets – Kent Johnson, C/W, University of Michigan (NCAA)

Grade: A-

With their first pick of the first round, the Blue Jackets selected the highest-skilled player in this class. Johnson has the best hands of any prospect in the draft, leading to eye-popping creativity. He has a high hockey IQ and is a walking highlight reel. He really impressed with his smooth transition from the BCHL to the NCAA, putting up a point-per-game this season.

6. Detroit Red Wings — Simon Edvinsson, D, Frolunda (SHL)

Grade: A- 

After taking Frolunda’s Lucas Raymond last season, the Red Wings stuck to the team for this selection. Edvinsson is a smooth-skating defender that has the size that NHL teams love at 6-4. He’s a very strong puck handler that can stun the opposition with his creativity. While his game is a little raw still, the potential is very high as he has top-line potential. He should be an excellent complement to 2019 first rounder Moritz Seider.

7. San Jose Sharks — William Eklund, C/W, Djurgarden (SHL)

Grade: A

In what might have been the first steal of the draft, the Sharks take Eklund after he stepped into the SHL this season and excelled. For a draft-eligible prospect to play regular minutes in the top Swedish league and produce is a very big deal. The forward is arguably one of the most NHL-ready prospects in this class thanks to his strong possession and high-end offensive skill.

8. Los Angeles Kings — Brandt Clarke, D, Barrie Colts (OHL)

Grade: A

The Kings have one of the best — if not the best — prospect pools in the league, and adding Clarke is a big addition to the system. The highly offensive defender has top-line potential and could be the heir to Drew Doughty. His skating mechanics need some adjustment as he is knock-kneed, but the rest of his package is very promising.

9. Arizona Coyotes (via VAN) — Dylan Guenther, RW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

Grade: A

The Coyotes traded for this selection in the Oliver Ekman-Larsson deal earlier in the day. There were rumours that they were looking at Johnson but with him off the board, Guenther is an excellent selection. He is a strong forward with a high competitive edge. He’s a skilled offensive player, as was seen with his dominant play in the WHL this season. The winger joins the Coyotes system and immediately becomes the top forward in the prospect pool.

10. Ottawa Senators — Tyler Boucher, RW, USNTDP (USHL)

Grade: F

The Senators are the first team to go off-board, taking Boucher from the United States National Team Development Program. Boucher is one of the most competitive players in the class that works hard on and off the ice. He plays a very heavy game and is hard on the forecheck. He does struggle with his consistency and his offensive upside leaves some to be desired. This is a reach considering the players still available.

11. Forfeited by Arizona Coyotes

12. Columbus Blue Jackets (via CHI) — Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)

Grade: A

After acquiring this selection earlier today in the Seth Jones trade, the Blue Jackets make their second pick of the day count by landing Sillinger. The highly-skilled forward was a strong candidate to go in the top-10, adding to the value of this pick. Sillinger has an excellent shot and high-end playmaking ability to go with it. He’s an offensive weapon. After taking Johnson at No. 5 and Sillinger here, the Blue Jackets are betting on skill which is always a smart tactic.

13. Calgary Flames — Matthew Coronato, RW, Chicago Steel (USHL)

Grade: B+

Coronato exploded this season, shooting up draft boards thanks to his impressive point total and relentless motor. He boasts an excellent shot, excellent possession and a strong transition game. He projects as a potential top-six forward but there are some questions as to whether his game will translate to the next level. Coronato joins the Flames and instantly becomes one of their top prospects.

14. Buffalo Sabres (via PHI) — Isak Rosen, RW, Leksands (SHL)

Grade: A-

After selecting Power first overall, the Sabres turned their attention to the forward corps, drafting the skilled forward Rosen. He’s a dual-threat offensive weapon, with a high-end shot and excellent vision. He drives to the net hard and, despite a smaller frame, has some fearlessness to his game. He’s very mobile and reads the game extremely well. This is shaping up to be a very strong draft for Buffalo.

15. Detroit Red Wings (via DAL) – Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton Oil Kings

Grade: B

After trading up on the draft floor from No. 23, the Red Wings selected the first goaltender off the board. This is a bit of a surprise due to Jesper Wallstedt still on the board but there was some discussion prior to the draft about who exactly would go first. The 6-6 netminder is very mobile, athletic and tracks the puck very well. He’s been absolutely dominant in the WHL over the past two seasons and should be the Red Wings goalie of the future.

16. New York Rangers — Brennan Othmann, LW, Flint Firebirds (OHL)

Grade: A-

The Rangers selected forward Othmann, a powerful winger with one of the best shots in the draft. He gets so much power behind his shot and is remarkably accurate with it. He is constantly pushing the play, driving the game forward and making an impact. He never takes his foot off the gas. Despite being a goal scorer, he also plays a hard game and is not afraid to throw his body around or battle hard. He should fit in well with the young core in New York.

17. St. Louis Blues — Zachary Bolduc, C, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

Grade: B

There’s been an ongoing discussion all season regarding who the top prospect out of the QMJHL would be. Bolduc has been in that conversation and cements that position with the Blues selecting him here. The centerman has strong puck skills and an excellent shot. He also brings good vision and puck control. Bolduc could slide to the wing at the next level but does have the talent to stick to the middle.

18. Winnipeg Jets — Chaz Lucius, C, USNTDP (USHL)

Grade: A Lucius is the first steal of the draft, as he was widely considered a fringe top-10 prospect. He had some injury problems this season, which may have played a factor in this slide into the Jets’ lap. Lucius is one of the best goal-scorers in the league, coming back after his first injury and putting up a goal-per-game in 13 games with the National Team. He has a knack for getting into the high-danger areas and his determination and hard work stand out both on and off the ice.

19. Nashville Predators — Fyodor Svechkov, C, Lada Togliatti (VHL)

Grade: A

After selecting goaltender Yaroslav Askarov with their first-rounder last season, the Predators took a forward — but stuck to Russia — with the selection of Svechkov. A riser on draft boards through the season, the centerman has good size and is one of the best two-way players in the draft. He proved at the Under-18s that he can contribute offensively as well. Svechkov has the ability to make those around him better and should fit well with the Predators.

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