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The 2021 NHL draft doesn't have a Lafreniere, but boasts stud D men

October 21, 2020, 6:10 PM ET [5 Comments]
Kevin Allen
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When the Chicago Blackhawks formally announced they were embracing a rebuilding strategy, you can bet a good number of Chicago fans immediately googled "2021 NHL draft."

Nobody knows whether the Blackhawks, or any other team for that matter, will pick in the first few picks in the 2021 draft. But we do know that modern fan bases get on board with rebuilds, and the analysis of next year's draft started as soon Declan McDonnell (Kitchener Rangers) went to Tampa Bay as the last player selected in the 2020 draft.

"It's a weird class that there is no (Alexis) Lafreniere or (Quinton) Byfield," said Tony Ferrari, head of North American Scouting for Dobbers Prospects.

Lafreniere is a scoring winger and Byfield is a Evgeni Malkin-style center who went one-two in the recent NHL draft to the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings.

Ferrari's read: Eight different players have a shot to go No. 1 in 2021. "It's wide open this year," he said. "Whoever gets the No. 1 pick, it might be a different player for every team," Ferrari said.

Guenther did have 26 goals and 59 points in 58 games last season for the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Ferrari said the player who goes No. 1 in the 2021 draft probably would have gone third or fourth in the 2020 draft. "Maybe even fifth," he said.

TSN's Craig Button listed Finnish center Aatu Raty at No. 1 when he debuted this class in November of 2019. He's still in the mix for the top spot. Red Line Report today has Western Hockey League standout Dylan Guenther in the top spot. Hockey Prospect News and RubyISS has 6-5 defenseman Owen Power as No. 1.

Ferrari said his favorite player for 2021 is Winnipeg defenseman Carson Lambos. "He might be the most NHL ready," Ferrari said. "You could probably put him on an NHL blue line now and he would at least be a serviceable defenseman. He is very mature and a really powerful skater."

Kyle Woodlief, publisher and chief scout for Red Line, said he is excited about the defensemen. "Owen Power who is supposed to be at the University of Michigan could excited people by the end of the season," Woodlief said. "There's a big (6-foot-4) Swedish defenseman named Simon Edvinsson. They both have good puck-handling skills and can quarterback the power play."

Red Line has Power at No. 2 and Edvinsson at No. 3. "I am more excited about these two than any of the forwards," Woodlief said. "But this isn't a bad draft in terms of depth."

Defenseman Luke Hughes, younger brother of Quinn and Jack Hughes, is in this draft. He skates like his brothers. Cole Sillinger, son of former NHLer Mike Sillinger, will go in the first round.
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