2021 NHL Draft Mailbag: Power, Robertsson, Wallstedt & More
You asked, we answered.
The 2020-21 season has had a couple of months (for most leagues) and we recently released our preliminary rankings for the 2021 NHL Draft. Needless to say, there’s lots to discuss!
We took to Twitter to gather your questions about the 2021 NHL Draft and then had our scouts answer.
Here are your questions. Here are our answers.
Which of these Swedes drop to the second round: Rosen, Olausson, Robertsson, Olsson?
Question from @Dgrdnr
All four of these players are potential first-round picks. But I think the three forwards have more upside and more potential in the long run. Isak Rosen is a small player and he will gain more power and body strength over the coming seasons. Combined with his fantastic hands and playmaking he could really be a top-six forward in the future.
Simon Robertsson can play so many roles on a team and if he continues to adjust to the environment, he will have a fine future for sure. He has one of the best shots in this draft and has both a creative mindset and energy to do the dirty work if it’s needed.
Oskar Olausson has taken huge steps this season, especially in the last two months. He has fantastic, fluid skating and can outskate most players. He can also play many roles and is perfect to use both on the penalty kill and the power play.
Anton Olsson is the one of these four players that I would pick in the second round at this point. I have been following Olsson over the last season and he really impresses me. He is a solid defenseman that you can count on every night to do his job. I think his season so far in SHL has been good. He is very mature when playing with seniors and can adjust his playmaking after the game on the ice. The reason I would not pick him in the first round is that I do not see his offensive upside from his play in SuperElit or SHL so far. – Swedish regional scout Fredrik Haak
Thoughts on Joshua Roy? How do you see his game translating to the NHL level?
Question from @liketheroyals
Joshua Roy is one of the biggest enigmas of the draft class and someone I’m very curious to watch progress in the coming years. I would describe him as one of the best hockey players you can find, but someone who hasn’t developed his athletic abilities yet. The six-foot, 190-pound forward possesses a very sneakily accurate shot, a tremendous vision, some great offensive instincts, and some outstanding puck skills to work through traffic. That being said, Roy lacks quickness and power in his skating to be a menace in transition, his shot isn’t as powerful as other goalscorers, and he is limited in puck battles due to his subpar strength. Roy has dealt with these shortcomings all of his hockey career and consequently has developed some incredible skills that allow him to be a threatening offensive hockey player nevertheless.
This can best be seen when the play is set, on the cycle or the power play, where he can pick apart defenses, work through pressure with poise and live as a dual-threat from the faceoff dot and above. To translate to the NHL level, the Saint John’s forward will need time, patience, and perseverance to develop his physical tools to at least fit the average. If this transformation can happen, we are most likely looking at an impactful player at the next level, since Roy owns the perfect skill set to dominate the cycle play, the most common source of offense at the highest level. This is a boom or bust situation. Some will perceive Roy’s skating as a red flag, I see it as an opportunity to snatch a great hockey player at a lower spot than usual. – Eastern Canada regional scout Andy Lehoux
How does Wallstedt’s career compare to Askarov’s at the same stage?
Question from @kyle_nw
Yaroslav Askarov was talked about in the lead up to the 2020 NHL Draft as the best goaltending prospect to come through the draft since the likes of Carey Price. Jesper Wallstedt should be discussed in the exact same light. Wallstedt and Askarov, who are only about five months apart in age, have followed remarkably similar paths in their development and the level of competition they’ve performed at. A constant force in the Swedish junior ranks, you need to all the way back to the 2016-2017 season to find a time where Wallstedt posted a save percentage below .900 in league play. Like Askarov, Wallstedt is spending his draft-eligible season in the pro ranks playing against men, though Wallstedt is playing in Sweden’s top professional league in the SHL whereas Askarov spent his season in the VHL, which is Russia’s second-tier professional league.
Through nine games played for Lulea in the SHL, Wallstedt has posted a stingy 2.06 goals against average and a .920 save percentage, showing thus far that he deserves to be considered one of the world’s top goaltending prospects. Often at the same tournaments, Wallstedt and Askarov have both played internationally at the World U17 Hockey Challenge, two Hlinka Gretzky Cups, and the 2019 World U18 Hockey Championship, where Wallstedt was able to edge out Askarov with Sweden for the Gold medal. With the 2021 World Juniors right around the corner, it seems as though we might get another opportunity to see these titans of the goaltending world face off once again, as both Wallstedt and Askarov will playing in Group B for Sweden and Russia respectively. – Crossover scout Brandon Holmes
Where would you rank Hugo Gabrielsson?
Question via Direct Message
Hugo Gabrielsson certainly brings some interesting tools to the table. He’s a confident player who understands the offensive side of the defense position and backs it up with above-average puck skill and playmaking ability. However, his skating currently isn’t good enough for him to be truly effective in his playing style, and his defensive game needs a lot of work. He’s also on the older side of this draft class. I’d rank him somewhere around the 150 range at this point because there is potential that could be unlocked through development. – Head Crossover scout Derek Neumeier
Why is Simon Robertsson ranked so low on your rankings?
Question from @Alfonso7Acevedo
When we sent in our rankings I personally had Robertsson as a late first/early second-round pick. I get that many have him higher as he has a great physique and plays with a lot of power. But I had high expectations of Robertsson when this season started. He struggled a bit early on in J20 Nationell and didn’t live up to my expectations. It made me a bit “worried” if he could transfer his game to a higher level. Ever since the list was sent in, he has progressed and has played well in the SHL when given the chance. I definitely think he has the potential to climb our rankings, but he still needs to convince and improve. – Swedish regional scout Viktor Bergman
Thoughts on University of Michigan players Power, Johnson and Beniers?
Question from @claremcmanuss