Broad Strokes: Top picks from each team at the 2021 Draft
Every year, the NHL Draft gives teams an opportunity to add players to their prospect pool and set their organization up for long-term success.
While players picked outside the first round don’t always make an impact in the NHL, this year provided a unique opportunity given the limited views for NHL scouts. The 2021 NHL Draft was full of excellent value picks, and every team got at least one pick that gave them a great piece for their long-term future.
Here are the favorites from FCHockey video scout Austin Broad:
Arizona Coyotes – Ilya Fedotov | POS: LW | RD: 2 | PICK: 43
Team: Chaika Nizhny 2 (MHL) | HT: 6-1 | WT: 176 | NAT: RUS | RANK: 198
When Arizona took Ilya Fedotov in the second round I was a tad shocked to see him go that high, but when you look at his skill and offensive upside it’s not all that surprising that a team took an early swing on him. He’s an exciting player who can drive play offensively and is a mastermind with the puck on his stick.
Anaheim Ducks – Mason McTavish | POS: C | RD: 1 | PICK: 3
Team: Peterborough(OHL) | HT: 6-1 | WT: 207 | NAT: CAN | RANK: 10
The Ducks had a great draft in my opinion, but with Mason McTavish at No. 3 I think there’s a chance Anaheim got the best offensive player in this draft, long-term. McTavish plays with an edge and is so adept at getting to the prime scoring areas and finishing off chances. The Ducks had many candidates for my favorite, but McTavish’s long-term outlook makes him my choice.
Boston Bruins – Fabian Lysell | POS: RW | RD: 1 | PICK: 21
Team: Lulea (SHL) | HT: 5-11 | WT: 172 | NAT: SWE | RANK: 11
There’s no denying Fabian Lysell’s skill with the puck on his stick, he’s an exciting player who can make plays happen every time he touches the puck. There’s a few wrinkles in his game and there’s some questions about his character off the ice, but when you look at his skill and his long-term potential it’s easy to be excited about what the Bruins got at No. 21 with him.
Buffalo Sabres – Isak Rosen | POS: RW | RD: 1 | PICK: 14
Team: Leksands (J20) | HT: 5-11 | WT: 156 | NAT: SWE | RANK: 16
The Sabres had 11 total draft picks so there were no shortage of candidates, but Isak Rosen at No. 14 was my choice. Rosen is a player who already possesses an NHL-caliber shot, has great skating ability and high-level puck skills. Buffalo desperately needed high ceiling forwards in their system and by drafting Rosen at 14th overall there’s an easy argument to be made that he slots in as the most talented forward prospect in their system.
Calgary Flames – Cameron Whynot | POS: D | RD: 3 | PICK: 89
Team: Halifax (QMJHL) | HT: 6-1 | WT: 180 | NAT: CAN | RANK: 147
The Flames got a legitimate two-way defense prospect in the third round when they drafted Cameron Whynot. He’s smart and works hard in the defensive zone and can defend very well, on offense he is capable of helping in the transition game and generating some production for the backend. I think he projects well in Calgary’s organization and they go great value here.
Carolina Hurricanes – Ville Koivunen | POS: LW | RD: 2 | PICK: 51
Team: Karpat (U20) | HT: 5-11 | WT: 161 | NAT: FIN | RANK: 73
The Hurricanes have been excellent drafters in recent memory, and when they took Ville Koivunen at No. 51 I think they added a really solid player into their system. He’s a really talented offensive winger who can produce in multiple ways. He battles hard in the corners and isn’t afraid to play with an edge at times, he projects really well and could end up being a top-six winger for Carolina if he hits his ceiling.
Chicago Blackhawks – Ethan Del Mastro | POS: D | RD: 4 | PICK: 105
Team: Mississauga (OHL) | HT: 6-4 | WT: 210 | NAT: CAN | RANK: 79
Defensive defenseman usually aren’t a sexy pick, but when the Blackhawks took Ethan Del Mastro in the fourth round I was really excited for them. He’s a big-bodied defender who can shutdown the other team’s attack and plays with a ton of physicality. Del Mastro plays with a ton of poise for a young player, and while there’s some limits to his upside I think he can translate his game and be a solid shutdown defender in the NHL.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Stanislav Svozil | POS: D | RD: 3 | PICK: 69
Team: HC Kometa Brno (CZE) | HT: 6-1 | WT: 182 | NAT: CZE | RANK: 35
Stanizlav Svozil was a potential late-first, early-second round pick and when the Blue Jackets got him at No. 69 I think they got tremendous value with him. His mobility and ability to read the game make him an excellent two-way defense prospect. He can shut down the opponents attack in multiple ways and is capable of transitioning his team to offense and has the offensive instincts to generate scoring chances for his team.
Colorado Avalanche – Oskar Olausson | POS: RW | RD: 1 | PICK: 28
Team: HV71 (J20) | HT: 6-1 | WT: 180 | NAT: SWE | RANK: 38
The Avalanche only had four picks in this draft, and with their first rounder they took Oskar Olausson. Olausson is a strong skater who can create space for himself and works well off the puck. With his lethal shot he can score from anywhere in the offensive zone, and with Colorado’s playmakers it’s hard not to be excited about adding a player with Olausson’s skillset who can compliment their roster well.
Dallas Stars – Ayrton Martino | POS: LW | RD: 3 | PICK: 73
Team: Omaha (USHL) | HT: 5-10 | WT: 168 | NAT: CAN | RANK: 40
Dallas was another team who had an excellent draft, but their best pick in my mind was Ayrton Martino at No. 73. Martino is an exciting offensive player who can create for himself and create for others, he was excellent in the USHL during his draft year and had the potential to be an early second round choice. The Stars getting him in the third round is excellent value and I have little doubt that he will be a good NHL player in the future.
Detroit Red Wings – Shai Buium | POS: D | RD: 2 | PICK: 36
Team: Sioux City (USHL) | HT: 6-3 | WT: 209 | NAT: USA | RANK: 54
Shai Buium is a two-way defender with NHL size and will be able to chip in at both ends of the ice once he gets to the NHL. Detroit took Simon Edvinsson at No. 6, but I like the Buium pick a little bit more, he can drive transition and create offense and with his mobility and size he won’t have that much trouble defending at the NHL level.
Edmonton Oilers – Matvei Petrov | POS: LW | RD: 6 | PICK: 180
Team: Krylia Sovetov 2 (MHL) | HT: 6-2 | WT: 178 | NAT: RUS | RANK: 57
The Oilers grabbed a potential third-round talent in the sixth round when they drafted Matvei Petrov. Petrov is a high-volume shooter who can challenges goalies from anywhere in the offensive zone and his skating and ability to see the game will help him succeed in all three zones. He still struggles in physical battles, but when you grab a player like him in the sixth round it’s hard not to be thrilled with your choice.
Florida Panthers – Kirill Gerasimyuk | POS: G | RD: 5 | PICK: 152
Team: SKA 1946 (MHL) | HT: 6-2 | WT: 179 | NAT: RUS | RANK: 91
The Panthers already have one of the best young goalies in the game with Spencer Knight, but adding Kirill Gerasimyuk into the fold was an excellent choice on their part. He’s very polished for a goalie his age, he moves extremely well in the crease and has quick reflexes that allow him to make multiple saves in a row. There are some kinks he needs to work out, but with his size, athleticism and composure I think he’s an excellent goalie prospect for Florida.
Los Angeles Kings – Francesco Pinelli | POS: C | RD: 2 | PICK: 42
Team: Kitchener (OHL) | HT: 6-0 | WT: 185 | NAT: CAN | RANK: 31
Francesco Pinelli was a first-round talent and Los Angeles got him in the second. The Kings have arguably the best prospect pool in the NHL, and it’s because they continue to get great value like they did with this pick. Pinelli is an excellent playmaking center who has dynamic elements in his game, with his skillset and upside its hard to argue against this pick as my favorite for Los Angeles.
Minnesota Wild – Jesper Wallstedt | POS: G | RD: 1 | PICK: 20
Team: Lulea (SHL) | HT: 6-3 | WT: 214 | NAT: SWE | RANK: 8
I fully expected Jesper Wallstedt to be the first goalie taken in this draft, but that wasn’t the case and he fell into Minnesota’s lap at No. 20. Wallstedt is a tremendous talent and he fell lower than he should have in this class. The Wild grabbed their future number one goalie and a potential franchise changing netminder with this pick. He’s mature beyond his years and his size and athleticism will only help him as he gets older and approaches the NHL.
Montreal Canadiens – Xavier Simoneau | POS: C | RD: 6 | PICK: 191
Team: Drummondville (QMJHL) | HT: 5-6 | WT: 169 | NAT: CAN | RANK: 237
Xavier Simoneau is an extremely gifted offensive player. He was passed over in both 2019 and 2020, but the 20-year-old finally heard his name called in the sixth round by Montreal. An excellent playmaker, Simoneau can find weaknesses in the defense and deliver accurate passes to teammates for scoring chances. The fact that he’s undersized shouldn’t hinder his status, he’s an excellent talent and the Canadiens should be thrilled with this pick.
Nashville Predators – Ryan Ufko | POS: D | RD: 4 | PICK: 115
Team: Chicago (USHL) | HT: 5-10 | WT: 178 | NAT: USA | RANK: 69
The reason I love this pick for the Predators is because they got excellent value in the fourth round. Ryan Ufko was a potential second-round talent and grabbing him two rounds later is a great value pick. He can chip in and produce offensively or use his mobility and processing ability to help limit his opponents’ offensive chances. Nashville loves developing defensemen, and with Ufko they’ll be able to continue this trend.
New Jersey Devils – Samu Salminen | POS: LW | RD: 3 | PICK: 68
Team: Jokerit (U20) | HT: 6-2 | WT: 186 | NAT: FIN | RANK: 111
Samu Salminen has an interesting package of physical traits and on ice skills that make him my favorite choice for the Devils. He has pro-ready size and an offensive skillset that will allow him to have success against professional competition. He’s a raw prospect that needs to iron out his skillset but when you look at the flashes he’s shown and his physical traits it’s quite possible he turns into an excellent player for New Jersey down the road.
New York Islanders – Aatu Raty | POS: C | RD: 2 | PICK: 52
Team: Karpat (Liiga) | HT: 6-2 | WT: 185 | NAT: FIN | RANK: 17
Aatu Raty waited way longer than expected to hear his name called, but as a once projected top-10 pick in this draft the Islanders took a chance — and it has the potential to be a massive home run for them. Raty is a great skater who understands the game extremely well. He flashes high-end offensive potential and plays a smart and mature two-way game. He’s a tough player to get an accurate read on but there’s no denying his potential.
New York Rangers – Brennan Othmann | POS: LW | RD: 1 | PICK: 16
Team: Flint (OHL) | HT: 6-0 | WT: 175 | NAT: CAN | RANK: 22
The Rangers drafted Brennan Othmann at No. 16 and I loved the selection for them. Othmann is a gifted offensive player who can create for himself or work off the puck to compliment his teammates. If you give him open space in the offensive zone, he’s going to use his lethal shot and make you pay. Adding a player with his skillset to the organization was a great choice for the Rangers.
Ottawa Senators – Zach Ostapchuk | POS: C | RD: 2 | PICK: 39
Team: Vancouver (WHL) | HT: 6-3 | WT: 205 | NAT: CAN | RANK: 82
Ottawa had a very strange draft and while I think the second round was a tad high for Zach Ostapchuk, I love the traits he possesses and his offensive skillset. He’s has the very rare combination of high-end puck skills and a massive physical frame. He can beat defenders in one-on-one situations with skill or with power and will be a nightmare for people to defend.
Philadelphia Flyers – Samu Tuomaala | POS: RW | RD: 2 | PICK: 46
Team: Karpat (Liiga) | HT: 5-10 | WT: 174 | NAT: FIN | RANK: 36
For the Flyers, it’s hard not to love their pick of Samu Tuomaala. He has one of the best shots in the 2021 class and will be able to challenge goalies with his mix of quick release, power, and accuracy. He projects more as a complementary piece and will have limitations in terms of driving play but there’s no doubt he will score a lot of goals and frustrate goalies at any level.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Tristan Broz | POS: LW | RD: 2 | PICK: 58
Team: Fargo (USHL) | HT: 6-0 | WT: 179 | NAT: USA | RANK: 51
Tristan Broz is a smart, responsible center who has success at both ends of the ice. He fits the mold for Pittsburgh forwards, like former Penguin Jared McCann or current player Zack Aston-Reese who defend well and chip in some offense. Broz will be able to produce offensively and will have great impacts in his own end.
San Jose Sharks – William Eklund | POS: LW | RD: 1 | PICK: 7
Team: Djurgarden (SHL) | HT: 5-10 | WT: 176 | NAT: SWE | RANK: 5
The Sharks got one of the best forward prospects in the draft when they selected William Eklund. He had a great SHL rookie year, producing at an extremely high level. Eklund was one of my favorite forward prospects in this draft and I thought he would have went in the top-five. San Jose picked a player that will play on their roster and be effective for many years to come in him.
Seattle Kraken – Matthew Beniers | POS: C | RD: 1 | PICK: 2
Team: Michigan (NCAA) | HT: 6-2 | WT: 195 | NAT: USA | RANK: 4
Seattle used their first ever draft pick to take a top-six center that they will try to build around in the future. Matthew Beniers is mature pivot who plays an excellent two-way game and has really strong offensive upside. He’s already capable of playing against strong competition and looked solid in his action at the 2021 IIHF Mens World Championship. I wouldn’t call him a franchise center, but he’s an excellent building block for the Kraken.
St. Louis Blues – Simon Robertsson | POS: RW | RD: 3 | PICK: 71
Team: Skelleftea (SHL) | HT: 6-0 | WT: 190 | NAT: SWE | RANK: 27
Simon Robertsson falling to the third round was one of the more shocking developments in this draft. He was consistently ranked in the top-40 across most of the scouting community, and the Blues got amazing value with this pick. He’s a powerful winger who plays the game with an edge, coupling that with great skating ability, a great shot and a high-motor and you get a player that will be effective in all three zones.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Dylan Duke | POS: C | RD: 4 | PICK: 126
Team: USA U-18 (NTDP) | HT: 5-10 | WT: 181 | NAT: USA | RANK: 41
Tampa Bay always seems to get a great value pick in the draft, and this year it’s no different as they got Dylan Duke in the fourth round. Duke is a high-tempo winger with excellent skating ability and can create offense in a multitude of ways. His shot is one of his best assets, with his quick release and power he will be able to beat goalies at any level. Duke is the type of player that will make people wonder how this kid fell so far.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Matthew Knies | POS: LW | RD: 2 | PICK: 57
Team: TRI-CITY (USHL) | HT: 6-3 | WT: 205 | NAT: USA | RANK: 52
The Maple Leafs were very limited this year with only three draft picks, but Matthew Knies was as great selection for them at No. 57. With his size and skating he is able to play and effective power game and can be effective both offensively and on the backcheck. Everyone always talks about the Leafs needing to add some power to compliment their offensive ability, I think they got a player who has both power and great offense in Knies.
Vancouver Canucks – Lucas Forsell | POS: LW | RD: 7 | PICK: 201
Team: Farjestad (J20) | HT: 6-0 | WT: 161 | NAT: SWE | RANK: 142
Lucas Forsell was one of my favorite later-round prospects in this class. He’s a ton of fun to watch because he’s an excellent skater with high-end offensive skills. He can generate offense off the rush and use his vision to spot teammates streaking towards the net. There’s some obvious flaws, but he’s got high-end offensive upside and factoring in the ‘fun factor’ I really like this pick.
Vegas Golden Knights – Zach Dean | POS: C | RD: 1 | PICK: 30
Team: Gatineau (QMJHL) | HT: 6-0 | WT: 176 | NAT: CAN | RANK: 23
The Golden Knights have high-end wingers on their roster but are in desperate need of talented centers. As a result, Zach Dean is a great selection for them. He’s a creative center who has high-end puck skills and is capable of generating offensive chances in a variety of ways. He has a high-motor and plays with a lot of effort at both ends of the ice. I think Vegas got great positional need and value with this pick.
Washington Capitals – Brent Johnson | POS: D | RD: 3 | PICK: 80
Team: Sioux Falls (USHL) | HT: 5-11 | WT: 161 | NAT: USA | RANK: 42
Brent Johnson is a good defender with a lot of offensive talent, but it doesn’t come at the expense of his defensive game. His mobility makes him a threat to carry the puck through the neutral zone and to create open passing lanes from the blue line. His reliability on the backend and his offensive potential make him an excellent third round choice for the Capitals.
Winnipeg Jets – Chaz Lucius | POS: D | RD: 1 | PICK: 18
Team: USA U-18 (NTDP) | HT: 6-1 | WT: 185 | NAT: USA | RANK: 14
Often thought of as the best scoring talent in this class, Chaz Lucius’ elite shot, and shooter’s mentality make him a lethal player anywhere in the offensive zone. He was hindered by a knee injury for most of the season and still put up great numbers. With Lucius and Cole Perfetti in their system, the Jets have two elite level goal-scoring prospects and it’s exciting to think about their future.
Austin Broad has been around the game of hockey his entire life, and has previously worked with Stathletes, The Hockey News, the Mississauga Steelheads and currently contributes to thechargingbuffalo.net, a blog focusing on the Buffalo Sabres. He has a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Brock University and a journalism diploma from Niagara College, and is a graduate of the ISS Mentorship Program.