The 2021 NHL Draft season has obviously been very different from other draft years. As of this release, the Ontario Hockey League has still not played a game. Scouts in Ontario have been forced into watching scrimmages just to see some players in person. Travel is a challenge with less flights and games cancelled, sometimes while scouts are in the air. Scouts have been forced to watch video and plenty of it. We are included in this.
For this NHL Draft ranking, we were once again forced to include watching video of archived games, mainly the OHL. That said, we backed off ranking some OHL players with the hope being to include them on our final ranking after a short OHL season. Several OHL players have played overseas since our previous ranking, which almost seemed like a pre-season release, because so many players had not even played yet at that point. We will get to see some OHL’ers we’ve only seen in scrimmages up to now at the upcoming U18 in Texas.
We will have one more NHL Draft ranking release after today and that will be the ranking included in our 2021 NHL Draft Black Book. This ranking is 64 players deep. Our final list will be closer to a 100 player list. Members can login and view the full top 64 list here.
Owen Power remains our top ranked prospect but not only is it very tight for the top spot on our ranking, it is very tight in the top 10. New to our top 10 is our top ranked goalie from our November ranking, Sebastian Cossa. The Edmonton goaltender had not played a game yet back in November but now we’ve been able to add viewings from this season and stack them view his impressive showing last season. Jesper Wallstedt remains our 2nd ranked goalie and is also ranked inside our top 32.
One riser on this ranking is the Peterborough Petes Mason McTavish who also began playing after we released our initial ranking. We really liked his game last year but a big factor for the rise on this list is an improvement in his skating. Mason told us he worked hard in the off season to improve his quickness and the hard work has had good results. McTavish was 20th overall back in November, but has now cracked our top 10.
Aleksi Heimosalmi is new entry to our top 32, he’s a mobile puck moving defenseman who displays excellent hockey sense. We’re looking forward to seeing him play again on North American size ice.
Artyom Grushnikov has yet to play a game this season but we still decided to include him on this list. We will need to make a decision on where he fits on the final list based on the very real possibility of him not playing a game this season.
Members can view our full top 64 list here.
HockeyProspect.com’s Mark Edwards
HockeyProspect.com 2021 NHL Draft Ranking Top 32 – April 15th, 2021
Members can see the full Top 64 list here.