2021 Draft Targets: Five prospects to consider in Round 7
There will be more misses than hits at the 2021 NHL Draft. History has shown this.
It’s a law of diminishing returns, too.
The later in the draft you get, the longer the odds that your pick-turned-prospect will blossom into an NHL player, much less an NHL star.
And whether you feel the 2021 NHL Draft class is lacking in punch, power, or prestige, it isn’t without its intrigue.
Undoubtedly, most prospects will fizzle. It’s the nature of the game. But some will hit, blossoming into an NHL player that’ll leave fans and organizations alike wondering what one team saw that 31 others didn’t. Many of those will come beyond the first round.
With that, here are five targets from the class that could hit, and your team should consider selecting in the seventh round of the 2021 NHL Draft:
Ilya Fedotov, RW, Nizhny Novgorod (MHL)
FCHockey Rank: 198
Ilya Fedotov is a highly talented offensive player who excels when the puck is on his stick. Every time he touches the ice, he has the potential to make something spectacular happen because of his elite-level puck skills and high confidence. He has the upside you want in a potential final round selection. In 54 MHL games, Fedotov scored 18 goals and added 20 assists in his draft year.
The biggest knock against Fedotov, who had 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) in 54 games in the MHL this season, lies in his physical traits. If he can improve on his strength and conditioning he has an high ceiling as a late round pick. Still though, Fedotov is a boom-or-bust type prospect.
“Fedotov shows some interesting flashes at times with his puck skill, playmaking and shooting,” FCHockey scout Derek Neumeier said. “He definitely does his best work on the power play, because if you give him room, he can beat you in different ways.”
Kalle Vaisanen, LW, TPS U20 (U20 SM-Sarja)
FCHockey Rank: 213
Kalle Vaisanen‘s physical stature makes him effective in the offensive zone, especially at the net-front. With his 6-foot-4 frame, Vaisanen can easily camp his body in front of the opposing goalies and create havoc in the slot. He has the potential to turn into an effective two-way player if he works on his skating and adds a little bit of weight to his 178-pound body.
Vaisanen, who scored 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in 30 games at the U20 level, has the offensive upside and physical traits that NHL teams covet in a late-round pick, and though you’re getting a project, he could turn into a very valuable depth piece in a few years.
“Vaisanen has good forechecking ability and applies pressure when appropriate at both ends of the ice,” FCHockey scout Curtis Schwartzkopf said. “Overall, with his size, compete level, and general strength for his positional awareness, Vaisanen certainly is a nice project an NHL team can let develop a few years.”
Ryan St. Louis, LW, USNDP
FCHockey Rank: 222
Ryan St. Louis is a speedy winger who brings a lot of pace and energy to the ice. With above-average skating ability, he’s capable of helping out in the transition game and putting pressure on opposing team’s defensive players when the puck is in deep. Playing for the US National Development Program, St. Louis scored 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in 50 games.
St. Louis, committed to the NCAA’s Northeastern University for next season, is the son of longtime NHLer Martin St. Louis, and being the offspring of an NHL legend adds some extra intrigue to the draft eligible. Lineage aside, though, St. Louis’ game on the ice is enough to warrant a final round selection.
“St. Louis is a dual-threat forward with great vision and a very effective shot, he is able to handle off-target passes and still get a quality chance on net,” FCHockey scout Dylan Krill said. “His one-timer will make him an attractive target for team’s needing help on their power play, but he will need to continue to improve his game away from the puck.”
Hugo Gabrielsson, D, Halmstead Hammers (HockeyEttan)
FCHockey Rank: 224
Hugo Gabrielsson is a very smart defender who has the skills to play both an offensive or defensive style. He can adapt his game to fit with the partner he’s playing with that night, though he does look more comfortable and effective when playing the offensive role with his above-average skating and capable transition game.
Playing in Sweden’s third tier pro league Gabrielsson had seven points (three goals, four assists) in 24 games. The production doesn’t jump off the page, but for a kid playing against men in a pro league it is nothing to scoff at.
“He’s smart and crafty and confident with the puck, and he has the skill to pull off some of the risky stuff he tries,” Neumeier said. “He also has trouble fighting off checks, both of which hurt his ability to exit his zone with possession, which would need to be an important part of his game at the NHL level because his off-puck play is not a strength. There’s a lot of boom-or-bust to him, but you could do a lot worse with a late-round pick.”
Xavier Simoneau, C, Charlottetwon (QMJHL)
FCHockey Rank : 237
Xavier Simoneau is a very gifted offensive player; he works hard every time he’s on the ice and possesses high-end playmaking abilities allowing him to be an effective offensive facilitator. With his speed and agility he’s dangerous in transition and can create offensive pressure off the rush. Playing for Drummondville last season, Simoneau scored 37 points (10 goals, 27 assists) in 27 games.
As a 2001-birthyear, Simoneau is an overager for the 2021 draft but with his high level offensive upside and production in the QMJHL, the undersized forward could garner some attention for himself.
“An energized, competitive and talented playmaker who is willing to do anything that puts his team in a favourable position to win, Drummondville’s captain leads by example,” FCHockey scout Andy Lehoux said. “His tremendous creativity, rapid decision-making and superb quickness allowed him to execute ingenious in traffic and evade pressure smoothly.”
FCHockey’s top 32 prospects for the 2021 NHL Draft
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2021 Draft Targets: Five prospects to consider in Round 7