Today we’ve decided to run through our preliminary 2021 NHL Draft Rankings. While the draft is still three months away, it’s already time to consider who you’re taking at the table in July. This year will surely be the year to look back on – parity is inevitable. A scout’s epic nightmare, the 2021 global hockey season was not particularly kind to Canadian leagues. Although the draft seems like a mountain yet to be climbed, data is usually right. The eye test is being put to the ultimate test for NHL teams. Rest assured, you’re in good hands for fantasy. History repeats itself. Players with high FS+ (our very own metric) generally become NHL players. We have some great content coming that proves our findings.
Here we’ve listed 32 names, and no, they are not made up. This is the order we believe to be strongest for a fantasy owner. Taking players in this order seems realistic, with reasonable outcomes. Never judge a player solely on analytics.
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Early 2021 NHL Draft Rankings
Owen Power, Top NHL Prospect: Looming defender with peripherals to take you to a fantasy championship. Huge upside for banger leagues.
Matthew Beniers, Top NHL Prospect: Intelligent, responsible forward with a knack for offensive utilization. Think of Nico Hischier, in fantasy.
William Eklund, Great NHL Prospect: His projection is off the charts. With the right linemates, a potential point-per-game player. Arguably the top forward here.
Jesper Wallstedt: If you need a goalie for your dynasty or keeper team, you take Wallstedt early.
Luke Hughes: Some consider Luke to be the best Hughes brother. We aren’t convinced, but he surely can find a spot on your top line by 2023.
Brandt Clarke: Raw skill, we see Clarke as a dark horse to become the best defender in this class. Elite talent for your blueline.
Dylan Guenther: If you need goals, Guenther should be your target. Taking him 1st could work out in your favor.
Simon Edvinsson: Best European defender. He’s got a calm game with insane awareness. Might not light the scoreboard up for your team, but his IQ may loft him into a 50-55 point guy.
Kent Johnson: A boom or bust type player, Johnson likely becomes one of those players where scouts scratch their heads as to why he fell to 9.
Cole Sillinger: Our second favorite prospect from this class, Sillinger is an incredibly reliable choice to slate into your upper echelon of forwards. Great choice.
Fabian Lysell: Had a tough year finding ice time in the SHL – he has fantastic speed and could outplay his draft spot after 3-5 years.
Matthew Coronato: We’re going against the grain here with Coronato. The public ranks him in the 20s, but we believe he’s a top 15 talent. If you follow our lead, we’re sure to receive a thank you letter from you in a few years.
Oskar Olausson: Another safe pick here, Olausson seems destined to play on the 2nd line in the NHL someday. Fantastic skater.
Mason McTavish: The first OHL player on our board, McTavish is a great finisher. Limited coverage since he fled to Switzerland due to the OHL being paused. When he falls in your league, you take him.
Francisco Pinelli: Pinelli is a great well-rounded player, basically a slightly less dynamic version of Beniers. Again, he drops due to being an OHL descendant.
Aatu Raty: For years leading up to the draft, Raty was considered a top 5 player. His performance in the Liiga has dropped his stock considerably – a man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Don’t forget about him. If you sit at 15+, Raty should be picked.
Carson Lambos: The only real problem we have with Lambos: he is too generic. There’s nothing that tells us he’ll be anything more than a good top 4 defender. Think Orlov. The hype does not match the performance. If you like a young Orlov, take Lambos.
Brennan Othmann: Othmann is another great finisher from the OHL. We’re singing the same tune with Othmann as we are McTavish, if he falls you take him.
Zachary L’Heureux: The first player we have in the 1st round that we’d generally recommend you to stay away from. There are some concerns with his attitude that could limit his NHL chances. Needs to improve skating but can produce. If he cleans up both, he could be an option for you.
Daniil Chayka: A lean defender that plays in the KHL. Regardless of his profile, an 18-year-old playing in the second best league in the world deserves a spot on your team.
Chaz Lucius: A riser by our standards, Lucius has the potential to be a peripheral superstar. He’s big, can hit, shoots a lot, and surely knows how to snag points.
Simon Robertsson: If you like to make flashy picks, Robertsson isn’t the player you take. A great prospect to own, but if you’re looking to grab a boom-bust player, skip on Robertsson. Otherwise, he’s great!
Corson Ceulemans: Reigning from the AJHL, Ceulemans can take over a game. He’s not afraid to get offensive, and in a fantasy hockey world, Ceulemans is a great defender to own.
Nikita Chibrikov: A bit on the shorter side, Chibrikov plays like he is 6 foot 4. If he makes the NHL, he’ll bring you nearly 60 hits a year, and probably 40 points. Not a bad choice in the 20s.
Sean Behrens: Our third favorite player from this draft, Behrens oozes offensive acumen. He probably goes after the 1st round, but we likely scoop him up for our own teams if he’s around at 25 or so.
Scott Morrow: Morrow has great edgework around the blueline, and with a few years of development in the NCAA, Morrow has the entire kit to become a 1st line, powerplay quarterback defender. If you’re patient, Morrow is your guy.
Ayrton Martino: Man is this guy fast. An entertainer at heart, Martino is dually a fantastic pick here. He may creep into the first round, and if he does, you could easily make the argument to reach for him in the mid-20s.
Isak Rosen: A bit of a bland choice at 28 here, Rosen is a competent forward from Sweden. He’s got a bit of David Gustafsson in him (Winnipeg Jets 2nd Round pick), and without much bite, is not a barn burner of a choice. Still a 1st round talent though.
Stanislav Svozil: Some owners like to stay in a region when picking players. Svozil is a guy you jump across the pond to snag. You might have a hard time getting tape on this guy, so if you choose to pass, we don’t blame you. If you absolutely need a defenseman, you could take him. Nothing too great, or bad to say about him.
Matthew Samoskevich: Playing for the Chicago Steel, Samoskevich is surrounded by a legendary Steel team. He keeps up the pace nightly with his teammates and absolutely elevates them on a shift-by-shift basis. A great choice here.
Zachary Bolduc: One of the best players in the QMJHL this season, Bolduc could become a swiss army knife for a contending team down the line. Think of an alternate version of Anthony Cirelli.
Sasha Pastujov: Last but not least, Sasha Pastujov. This kid puts up points, straight up. If you want a boom or bust, you absolutely without a doubt, take him. Some scouts have concerns about his skating – with an offensive acumen like he has, he’ll claw tooth and nail to reach the NHL.
With your own trade deadline in the books, the Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire! is your only way to put a cherry on your fantasy hockey season.
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