As we conclude the 2021 draft, Jared Brown – DraftPro Head Scout, went back and looked at who out of our top 224 ranked draft eligible prospects weren’t picked in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
This year was one of the hardest years to assess the draft eligible talent, especially when it came to evaluating the players who unfortunately were not able to play any games this year due to the pandemic. The list below is of the 71 players that we felt showed enough qualities to be selected in this years draft but will now be going into the 2021-2022 season ready to prove NHL teams wrong and why they should’ve selected them.
Interesting fact of this years draft class, despite COVID hitting the three CHL junior leagues in Canada hard, this year had the most Canadians drafted since 2013. You will see a handful of OHL names on this list that weren’t selected, but we have to say, we saw more OHLers get drafted than we thought would’ve and some surprising names that we at DraftPro didn’t even have in our top 300.
P.S. Some of the players we had ranked in the 224-300 final rankings list were drafted so those are still a win for us😉
The Undrafted (listed with their DraftPro final ranking)
88 D, Luke Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie High (USHS-MN), 5’11”, 174, L, DOB 01/22/03
The younger brother of Sabres forward Casey surprisingly was passed up in the draft. I assume the lack of competition he had faced at the USHS level played a factor in NHL teams passing up on him as well as his 12-game stint in the USHL with Lincoln was rather underwhelming. Important to note he will be attending the University of Minnesota who recently are coming off a final eight appearance for the D1 NCAA Championship. Watch out for Luke’s name as an overager for the 2022 NHL draft and hopefully he can provide a more offensive touch inside the attacking zone.
94 D, Jimi Suomi, Jokerit U20 (U20 SM-Sarja), 5’10”, 154, L, DOB 03/01/03
Suomi comes with a ton of risk. He’s a high-risk, high-reward kind of prospect. Plays like a riverboat gambler in which I assume scared organizations away from picking the undersized Finnish defenseman. He’s an excellent skater but has a very slight, slim frame that can’t handle physical play or contact well. He needs to put on a lot more muscle and rope back his aggressive offensive instincts to focus a bit more on the defensive side of the puck.
95 C, Avery Hayes, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL), 5’10”, 165, R, DOB 10/10/02
This to me comes as the biggest surprise! For the life of me I can’t understand why Hayes wasn’t selected. He makes up for his lack of size in determined play and offensive skillset. Has a knack for creating offensive chances and producing. I assume NHL GMs wanted to draft players with a higher floor, ones that don’t come with a risk factor that Hayes potentially comes with. Hayes has the potential to be one of the top overagers for next years draft and have an impressive OHL season.
98, D, Owen Murray, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL), 5’10”, 181, R, DOB 12/1/02
Murray wasn’t thrusted in a major role for Green Bay and had the fourth highest TOI for defensemen on the Gamblers. That could’ve played into NHL teams evaluating him however and pointing out that he wasn’t elevating his game and stayed complacent in his roster spot. His offensive skillset is raw and his forward stride isn’t the cleanest. Defensively I think teams may not have liked his passive approach in the defensive zone and his lack of physicality. I still believe his east-west skating and puck moving ability were enough to warrant a selection.
100 C, Caden Brown, USNTDP U18, 5’11”, 170, L, DOB 6/22/03
Brown had a rough offensive year which ultimately played a key role in going undrafted in the 2021 draft. He showcases flashes of skill with his puck handling but not at the consistent level scouts would like to see. He struggled at centre this year and struggled winning faceoffs. I think theirs hope for untapped offensive skill and that it will come on display as he attends the University of Wisconsin, but he didn’t show that growth in his draft season which is why Caden will have to wait and hopefully hear his name get called in next years draft.
102 D, Valtteri Koskela, JYP (Liiga), 5’10”, 157, L, DOB 10/20/02
Koskela played third pair minutes in the top Finnish league for JYP this year. The showcasing of his offensive toolkit, and confidence carrying the puck surely would be worth a selection right? Wrong. The small, smooth skating Fin wasn’t selected for what I believe to be similar reasons why fellow countryman Jimi Suomi went unpicked. The risk was too much for NHL teams to take and settled for players that had safer projections like JYP teammate Ville Ottavainen (though I don’t agree and was shocked Ottavainen went 99th overall). I feel he will need to take a big step offensively to be selected in next years draft.
103 D, Victor Sjoholm, HV71 J20 (J20 Nationell), 5’9”, 172, R, DOB 7/8/03
You wouldn’t think it by looking at his height, but he’s a mean defender that loves to throw the body. I think he has potential to become a defensive defenseman in a bottom pairing role, but I would assume NHL teams may be worried that his physical, hard hitting play style could be met with durability concerns. His lack of fear for the dirty areas is a pleasant sight but what happens when he’s consistently trying to throw the body at 6’2” 215lbs NHL forwards? To add, at the U18s for Sweden, Sjoholm didn’t show an array of abilities to attack or create opportunities offensively.
104 C, Peter Reynolds, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), 5’10”, 168, L, DOB 1/20/03
Here was another surprising forward to go undrafted in my opinion. Has been a talked about prospect since his time with the Shattuck St. Mary’s club. He’s been an impact player for most of his junior playing career dating back to when he was 14. Reynolds had maybe one too many games where you’d leave saying “did he play?”. He can come off as a laid-back player as he coasts or swings in and out of position but can turn on the jets and drive the offense for his line. He can be classified as a one-dimensional player and that being he’s offense oriented and needs to round out the rest of his game and improve his consistent compete level away from the puck. But don’t be surprised if he goes on to produce at a high rate in the QMJHL in his DY+1.
105 RW, Oliver Moberg, AIK J20 (J20 Nationell), 6’3”, 203, L, DOB 2/23/03
I batted for Moberg to move up in our final rankings list after his U18 performance. Maybe this is one that I should retract. Nope! I stand by it and believe he should’ve been picked! I think he has a projectable floor of a bottom six power forward that can excel playing the cycle and produce from in and around the net. His skating and lack of pace are most likely the reasons NHL teams avoided selecting the big Swedish winger. He does not have the speed for quick transition attacks currently. A fast-pace league like the NHL will be an issue for Moberg unless a good skating coach can get to him and help his stride mechanics and flexibility.
106 D, Viljami Juusola, Karpat U20 (U20 SM-Sarja), 5’10”, 165, L, DOB 4/19/03
Juusola is very much so an offensive defenseman who’s smart and thinks the game at a high level. Why I think teams didn’t take a chance on Juusola is because his defensive game is a work in progress. He has time to put on more muscle but he does not fair well in physical battles and is an area he will want to improve in. We viewed him as a raw project with tons of skill so he could be an overager to look out for in the 2022 draft. I’m a tad surprised his play with the puck wasn’t enticing enough to be selected.
111 RW, Edgar Varagyan, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL), 6’2”, 203, R, DOB 10/17/03
Varagyan had a decent start to the season but ended on a sour note. He ended playing on the fourth line to end his season in Magnitogorsk’s first round exit in the MHL playoffs. His season was very much up and down and struggled with consistency all year. Had a brief stint up in the KHL in October and when he arrived back to the MHL his production picked up and looked like a potential draft choice. But losing his role hurt him big time especially when games became more important.
114 D, Atte Lehikoinen, KalPa U20 (U20 SM-Sarja), 6’2”, 176, L, DOB 7/5/03
Lehikoinen from what I assume went unpicked because of a real lack of offensive upside. His offensive instincts and vision are pretty average, and he isn’t a defenseman that pushes the needle too often to generate chances. He’s a sound, solid, poised defender, which is the stable of his game but it seems as that wasn’t enough for NHL teams.
115 RW, Connor Kurth, Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL), 5’11”, 214, R, DOB 7/30/03
Kurth had a strong offensive year with Dubuque, and I felt his unique skillset and heavy shot were bright spots to his game that would warrant a pick. Biggest drawback in Connor’s game at the moment is his lack of quickness. When translating his skating to faster leagues there are worries he will struggle to keep up as he isn’t a quick burst type of skater. He’s going to a great school in the University of Minnesota so it will be interesting to see if his skating does hold him back at the NCAA level.
119 D, Yegor Savikov, Ladia Togliatti (MHL), 5’10”, 163, L, DOB 11/24/02
Savikov captained his Russian junior league team Ladia and was their #1 defenseman all year long. As a defenseman he actually led his team in scoring at the end of the season, which shows just how valuable he was to his team. Playing on a team that didn’t have a good season, Savikov may have gotten lost in the limelight when NHL teams scouted Ladia and the MHL. His defensive game though needs a lot of improvements. He needs to dedicate more time perfecting his game away from the puck.
122 D, Henry Nelson, Maple Grove High (USHS-MN), 6’1”, 174, L, DOB 3/25/03
The Maple Grove Minnesota native saw his teammate Kyle Kukkonen selected by Anaheim in the sixth round as Nelson patiently awaited to hopefully hear his name called. Nelson’s mobility and puck rushing skills are better than some defenseman that got drafted but it can be hard to evaluate draft eligible prospects when they play at the High School level. Which ultimately could be the main reason why Nelson wasn’t selected.
123 RW, Dmitri Katelevsky, Bars Kazan (VHL), 6’0”, 174, L, DOB 1/17/03
Katelevsky played his draft season in the second-tier Russian league (VHL) which is not all that common for a Russian prospect. He can be a hard-nosed player at times and willing to battle it out along the boards and in front of the net. The reason I believe NHL teams did not select the Russian winger is due to his awkward skating style. Katelevsky is not a pretty skater, he skates hunched over and shows limited hip flexibility turning with speed. If the mechanics of his skating can smoothen out, then I could see an NHL team taking a chance on Katelevsky.
124 LW, Eric Alarie, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL), 6’1”, 198, L, DOB 1/27/03
Alarie put up a point per game with Moose Jaw in his shorten abbreviated season and I thought he showed quality playmaking skills and the ability to move the puck quickly. Here’s another forward though that most likely wasn’t drafted due to average-poor skating ability. Alarie is a one-directional skater and that is north-south. Laterally he needs work and improving in just overall quickness. But keep his name close to your cards as a potential overager that didn’t get to fully show his potential due to the pandemic.
125 D, Graham Sward, Spokane Chiefs (WHL), 6’2”, 176, L, DOB 9/12/03
Sward suffered an unfortunate injury that costed him missing the entire month of April. It looked like Sward was going to be thrusted into playing top pairing minutes when the WHL got their season going but then his injury hit and when he returned, he was suddenly Spokane’s #3 or #4 defenseman. His game lacks offensive flare or touch which also didn’t help his case for being selected. Though keep this in mind, Sward was just eligible for this years draft by four days. One of the youngest players eligible this year and could be a late blooming prospect.
127 C, Jack O’Brien, Lincoln Stars (USHL), 6’0”, 154, L, DOB 5/14/03
After an impressive WHL rookie campaign, O’Brien failed to follow up to the hype of his name and going over to play for Lincoln in the USHL didn’t do him any favours. I think a really bad draft season hurt O’Brien a lot and from my viewings he seems like a player that needs to get involved more, show more engagement off the puck. Will be interesting to see if he comes out with a revenge tour for his DY+1 season.
128 D, Nikita Dimitrov, SKA-Varyagi im. Morozova (MHL), 5’11”, 181, L, DOB 1/12/03
Dimitrov most likely was unselected due to a lack of production and offensive skills for a smaller defenseman. I gather NHL scouts would have wanted to see more output from Dimitrov but maybe the offensive instincts aren’t there. His game is boring which can be good and bad, in his case, his boring style of game probably put NHL teams to sleep.
130 C/LW, Dovar Tinling, Univ. of Vermont (NCAA), 5’11”, 181, L, DOB 3/3/03
Tinling attended the University of Vermont impressively as a 17-year-old (turning 18). Though what it did for his draft stock probably didn’t help as it resulted in a lack of playing time and spending the entire year adjusting to a far more competitive league/competition and crossing the border to live away from family (other than his brother who also goes to Vermont) and suffering through the obstacles of a pandemic. Not an easy task for a 17-year-old. I think it is very hard to evaluate Tinlings progression due to these reasons. I’m more curious to see how he looks this upcoming year.
134 C, Hunter Strand, Tri-City Storm (USHL), 5’11”, 183, L, DOB 11/13/02
This is another player that I am absolutely shocked did not get selected and for the life of me can’t understand why. I thought Strand was Tri-City’s best player last year. Yes, better than Knies, Mazur, and Richard, all who were drafted. Looking back on it, I wish I was more aggressive in ranking Strand higher. His skating is missing an extra gear and his first steps are a tad slow. Offensively has skilled hands but can lack creativity. But I see Strand having a very projectable floor as a bottom six NHLer.
136 LW, James Hardie, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL), 5’11”, 172, L, DOB 1/18/02
NHL teams made the mistake again of leaving Hardie available as the last pick was announced. I think if the OHL was able to find a way to get going and play, Hardie definitely would’ve shown why teams made a mistake not picking him in last years draft. The inability to see how he has progressed is a fair reason why teams didn’t take him again. As I’m writing this though, Hardie has been invited to attend the Toronto Maple Leafs development camp and it seems as if the Leafs organization have definitely had their eye on Hardie.
137 C/LW, Lorenzo Canonica, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL), 5’11”, 179, L, DOB 9/3/03
Lorenzo had a pretty good draft season campaign spending time both in Switzerland and the QMJHL. I’m surprised not one organization took a chance on the versatile playmaking forward. Maybe you could say he’s a bit too average in certain areas of his game, skating, offensive skills, but he’s built a solid foundation that projects and NHL career of some sorts.
138 C, Jeremy Wilmer, USNTDP U18, 5’7”, 141, L, DOB 8/16/03
Wilmer is easy to root for as he’s such a competitive player and works hard to overcome his size. Unfortunately, it is not surprising to see teams pass up on the skilled undersized forward as he lacks the breakaway straight-line speed he needs and currently needs to put on a lot more muscle to avoid being knocked around so easily. Wilmer has a late birthday so let’s hope for a growth spurt and let him put on that muscle as he attends Boston University.
140 G, Thomas Milic, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), 6’0”, 170, L, DOB 4/14/03
Ahh… It’s the story that gets rewritten every draft, NHL teams avoiding goalies that are under 6’1” and targeting goalies with size over others. It’s unfair to goalies like Milic who show great athleticism and solid IQ in reading the play. Milic looked great in his two games for Canada at the U18s but it wasn’t enough to leapfrog him over other goalies I guess. Issue with being a smaller goalie is you rely a lot on your athleticism and that can lead to some goalies being too aggressive in their crease and not playing with sound positional awareness.
144 D, Keagan Slaney, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), 5’9”, 176, L, DOB 4/10/03
Slaney is an undersized defenseman that plays a very solid defensive game and has a little bite to him. Another seemingly common theme for NHL teams is that if you’re on the smaller side for defensemen, you’re going to need to bring an offensive element and high skillset to your game to be drafted. Slaney is the opposite, as he takes care of his own end first before taking chances offensively. I assume teams didn’t think there was enough upside in Slaney’s game to select him.
145 LW, Stuart Rolofs, London Knights (OHL), 6’2”, 187, L, DOB 3/28/03
Draft eligible players playing on the London Knights almost always get drafted so to see one not is pretty surprising! Rolofs shows a lot of promise in playing a power game, but I think partly why he was unselected could be that he doesn’t bring a physical presence and should use his body more often in battles. Again though, Rolofs is an OHLer that suffered from no OHL season which for sure hurt his chances of being drafted.
147 RW, Ethan Burroughs (OHL), 5’10”, 165, R, DOB 6/19/03
Burroughs played in the PBHH Invitational which were the only games he was able to get into this season. I wouldn’t say he impressed at that showcase which didn’t help his draft stock. One thing I noticed with Burroughs in that showcase was the lack of speed in his skating. Also, for a player that was ranked highly and was talked about having a breakout year in the OHL he should’ve been dominating shifts at the showcase and he simply wasn’t doing that consistently which was worth noting.
150 D, Jake Martin, USNTDP U18, 6’0”, 190, R, DOB 3/18/03
I felt Martin played a reliable enough game to standout and show strong shutdown like tendencies you’d want in a bottom pairing defenseman. The fact that he is hesitant to take chances offensively at times may be a reason why he was passed on, but I firmly believe that Martin is one we should watch out for as he attends the University of Wisconsin and potentially has a breakout freshman year. He was an underrated defenseman with the USNTDP U18 squad that didn’t get the love he deserved.
156 RW, Tim Lindfors, Malmo Redhawks J20 (J20 Nationell), 6’0”, 179, R, DOB 11/3/02
Lindfors is very much so a high-risk high reward type of prospect and as I alluded to earlier, potentially teams wanted to steer away from the higher risk players in this years draft. His game does need rounding out, he’s all about the offense and scoring goals but he’s going to want to make himself effective in other ways if he wants to impress an NHL team.
157 G, Maxim Motorygin, MHK Dynamo Moskva (MHL), 6’0”, 165, L, DOB 12/24/02
Once again, we have another 6’0” goalie that goes undrafted for what I assume to be because “he doesn’t have NHL size”. Motorygin had an excellent season putting up terrific numbers as Moskva’s #1 goalie in the regular season and aiding them to a first-place finish. He did have a stacked team in front of him and maybe some could question if he could replicate his performance with a lesser team.
158 C, Jacob Frasca, Barrie Colts (OHL), 6’3”, 181, R, DOB 3/19/03
Frasca I felt had a respectable floor level as a bottom six power forward that plays a heavy game. So I’m a little shocked to see him not get selected but the zero games played this year like most obviously played a big reason in teams decisioning on whether or not to take him. One big thing for Frasca going into his draft year was he needed to clean up his stride and improve his pace of play, but unfortunately we were unable to see if that area of his game improved.
161 C, Ilya Ivantsov, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL), 5’10”, 154, L, DOB 1/27/03
Ivantsov’s performance at the U18 tournament may have hurt his case for getting drafted more than anything. He started playing in a top six role but in the last three games of the tournament for Russia he was their fourth line centre. The smallish skilled playmaking Russian looked like the second coming of Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (Maple Leafs 2018 3rd round pick), but as good as he is of a playmaker, he really doesn’t offer up much of a scoring threat which drives his NHL potential down.
163 C, Pavel Tyutnev, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL), 5’10”, 185, L, DOB 7/25/02
Tyutnev is an interesting one as I wouldn’t describe him to be a high-risk draftee, though he does have sneaky offensive upside and is strong in transition. He should’ve been drafted last year and after bouncing around between all three Russian leagues (MHL, VHL, KHL), he was still left off the draft board once again. I’m wondering if Tyutnev currently doesn’t have a desire to come over to North America and would rather stay in Russia, hence why he’s been passed up on twice. Now I’m not saying he’s an A-B level prospect, maybe a B-, but he shows the characteristics of a bottom six NHL pro.
165 LW, Scout Truman, Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL), 5’10”, 181, L, DOB 10/15/02
Truman had a promising start to the season but then had a stretch near the middle of the season where he went dry in production and saw his ice-time get cut. A big drawback to Truman’s game is his skating. He has a very awkward stride with poor technique that really hurts his acceleration power. He’s not the biggest guy so a key attribute he will need to have to overcome his size is speed.
166 G, Yegor Guskov, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL), 5’11”, 201, L, DOB 1/10/02
Just look at Guskov’s height and that’s all you need to know for why he wasn’t drafted. Guskov put up some insane numbers for the second best team in the MHL. His agility, quickness, and feline like reflexes are above average and it’s crazy to be that teams haven’t taken a swing at Guskov yet!
168 C, Braeden Kressler, Flint Firebirds (OHL), 5’8”, 154, R, DOB 1/5/03
Kressler didn’t have the opportunity to showcase his hidden talent to scouts this year due to COVID but watch out for his name next year as a top two-line player for Flint next year. Unless he has gone through a growth spurt, his size is a big hurdle for him and he’s going to have to prove to have above average skating, skill, and quickness in his decision making to overcome it. Another player who has received an invite to the Maple Leafs Development camp.
172 C, Nicolas Daigle, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL), 5’9”, 163, L, DOB 9/27/02
Daigle had a terrific year and an excellent playoff on route to a QMJHL Championship. He’s a strong skater with quick footwork and really good vision but the lack of having “NHL” size can run him into issues in physical battles. He’s another forward that has higher upside due to his skill set but has a low floor that may not pan out for the NHL. We have seen a lot of 5’9” forwards go undrafted but get signed by NHL teams and go on to make said team look like geniuses (Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde).
176 LW, Gabe Klassen, Portland Winterhawks (WHL), 5’10”, 161, L, DOB 6/30/03
Klassen plays like a pest and being a disturbance in battles which is a nice sight for a forward his size. Problem is his offensive toolkit isn’t a standout to his game and he won’t flash you with dazzling plays. He’s more of a solid versatile option when projecting him but may struggle to produce in the NHL.
178 C, Daniil Lazutin, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL), 6’2”, 174, L, DOB 7/25/03
Once a projected first rounder and highly ranked forward sadly plummeted this year and had a brutal season. The biggest worry in Lazutin’s game is his consistency. Far too many times this season in league games he looked invisible and showing an inability to drive play. He looked like a completely different player this year and this is one guy that I am not entirely surprised to see go undrafted.
179 C, Verner Miettinen, Kiekko-Espoo U20 (U20 SM-Sarja), 5’11”, 165, L, DOB 4/7/03
Miettinen plays a very reliable two-way defensive game and was one of the better defensive minded forwards available in the draft. Issue is, he lacks true high-end offensive skills to produce at a consistent rate. He’s an important piece to have for a winning team and handle shutdown minutes but you still need to produce and chip in and that is very much so a question mark with Miettinen.
180 C, Martins Lavins, HK Mogo (Latvia), 6’0”, 176, R, DOB 4/10/03
Lavins is the kind of player that you love to cheer for as he never cheats for effort and shows excellent character in his on-ice play. Offensively he needs to make plays at a quicker pace as well as continuing to improve the power in his skating stride to be more of a threat in transition. Lavins may have just not offered up enough offensive value for teams to select him.
181 G, Kaidan Mbereko, USNTDP U18, 5’11”, 183, L, DOB 7/28/03
Mbereko is an absolute battler in his crease and shows that lighting quick athleticism that a netminder who is 5’11” will need. I sound like a broken record but let’s not kid ourselves here, he most likely wasn’t picked because of his size. He has some insane flexibility but that can lead into durability concerns which is a common worry in goalies that play the style Mbereko plays with.
182 C, Alex Geci, Sarnia Sting (OHL), 6’2”, 181, L, DOB 8/23/03
Geci was expected to be one of the top CHL import players this year but COVID robbed him of the opportunity to solidify that. Geci is a solid two-way forward that provides size down the middle and compete. He lacks creativity and isn’t a pure goal scorer which may have been an issue NHL scouts saw in his game.
184 D, Charles-Alexis Legault, Lincoln Stars (USHL), 6’4”, 201, R, DOB 9/5/03
Legault’s game can be confusing at times. I mean in the sense that he can be overly aggressive with his offensive instincts and actively pinch constantly to keep the offense rolling. While other games he’s playing a solid defensive style and using his big body as leverage to push around his opposition. This lack of clarity of what he excels better in led me to question marks on what kind of defender he would become.
186 C, Nick DeGrazia, Rayside-Balfour Canadians (NOJHL), 6’1”, 181, L, DOB 12/3/02
DeGrazia was a dominant player in the NOJHL last year and looked the same dominant player this year in the 10 games he played. Problem for DeGrazia is the NOJHL doesn’t garner a lot of scouts attention as one the more competitive Jr. A leagues in Canada. My sense is NHL scouts would’ve liked to see if he could’ve carried that offensive confidence to the OHL with Sudbury. An area of his game also needs cleaning up is his defensive game and commitment without the puck.
188 LW, Nikita Dishkovsky, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL), 5’11”, 165, L, DOB 12/10/02
Dishkovsky was a player we valued to have high potential and be a sneaky good pick in the draft. He’s a strong north-south skater with a heck of a shot. But he does have holes in his game. Defensively can look unengaged, his vision is poor and lacks playmaking upside, and lastly, isn’t the best lateral skater. He would’ve been a risky pick so NHL teams steered clear of Dishkovsky.
189 RW, Tim Delay, St. Sebastian’s School (USHS-Prep), 6’1”, 183, L, DOB 6/16/03
Delay I believe only played a couple of games this year due to the pandemic but he was a talked about prospect out of the eastern US High School division. Strengths to his game are that he is a quick strike transition player with a touch of skill. Biggest issue in his game is his consistency and that will need to come full circle if he is to have success with Boston College.
190 LW, Alexei Prokopenko, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL), 5’11”, 185, L, DOB 1/29/03
Prokopenko was the 8th overall pick in the CHL Import Draft and like Alex Geci, Prokopenko was expected to raise his draft stock by coming over to the QMJHL. Unfortunately, he only appeared in 12 games (came over late in the season most likely due deciding on whether to come overseas or not due to the pandemic) and showed his goal scoring ability but not so much his ability to create chances and set up his teammates.
191 C, Trevor Wong, Kelowna Rockets (WHL), 5’8”, 154. R, DOB 4/5/03
Wong was a play driver for the Kelowna Rockets and showcased his speed to dart through transition and negate some size concerns. It’s hard to project or predict if a player his size can overcome his size in the NHL, though I truly feel Wong has the work ethic and competitiveness to play as a bottom six forward. Give the kid time to fill out his body, get stronger, and then if he’s winning even more puck battles using his strength, then I think he’s worth a shot and taking a swing on.
192 RW, Bennet Rossmy, Bili Tygri Liberec U20 (Czech U20), 6’3”, 194, L, DOB 8/1/03
Rossmy had a good tournament for Germany at the U18s, but it just wasn’t enough to satisfy NHL scouts. I think the biggest concern in Rossmy’s game would be his pace of play and quickness. He’s an okay skater in straight-lines but doesn’t have great foot speed and isn’t that agile. His offensive skills are average as well. We felt the size, physicality, and capabilities to play a power forward game would entice NHL teams.
193 C, Ty Mueller, Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL), 5’11”, 185, L, DOB 2/26/03
Mueller showed upside in his offensive abilities; quick offensive instincts, excellent vision, and a great stickhandler with proper hand placement. Definitely worthy of a 7th round selection but the rest of his game needs ironing out. His effort from a shift-by-shift basis can falter and that can become an issue moving forward. If he stays with the Park Crusaders next year, I’d like to see him dominant the AJHL.
194 C, Florian Elias, Adler Mannheim (DEL), 5’8”, 170, L, DOB 8/7/02
Elias had a real strong showing at the World Juniors getting to play alongside Ottawa Senators young all-star Tim Stuetzle. Despite his size, he’s pretty solidly built already and competes hard in the tough areas. I think he has the potential to be a European free agent signing down the road but for now I’m guessing NHL teams felt he would be too risky of a pick.
196 D, Michael Quinn, Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep (USHS), 5’11”, 172, R, DOB 3/25/03
Quinn was one of my favourite underdog prospects to be drafted. He’s an underrated, intelligent, heads up defender that shows the potential to be a safe bottom pairing two-way defenseman. He was definitely hidden behind the talent of fellow defenseman Scott Morrow, but he showed me enough strengths to be selected. I’m assuming teams are worried that he isn’t skilled enough to impact the game offensively at the next level.
200 C, Nikita Buruyanov, MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg (MHL), 5’10”, 172, L, DOB 10/2/02
Buruyanov was a top line player for his Russian junior team and there is no denying his ability to score goals. One good and bad thing about his game is that he constantly brings a “shoot first” mentality when there may be better options available than throwing the puck on net. There are some question marks on his hockey sense. He also isn’t the most talented player.
201 D, Joseph Pierce, Hermantown High (USHS-MN), 6’0”, 187, R, DOB 10/2/02
Pierce is one mean physical defenseman that punishes players with his physicality. Biggest issue in Pierce’s game is his skating. He’s got heavy boots, isn’t very mobile, and can get caught flat footed against faster players. He looks very stiff in his skating ability and that will not hold up at the next level, even the NCAA.
203 D, David Gucciardi, Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL), 5’11”, 161, L, DOB 10/9/02
Gucciardi was traded from Youngstown to Waterloo in the USHL and unfortunately had sheltered playing time with Waterloo. He’s an offensive minded defenseman that maybe focuses too much on offense and not enough on his defensive zone play. He’s attending Michigan State University next year which gives him the opportunity to get stronger and put on muscle, hopefully improving his defensive game.
204 D, Brendan Fitzgerald, The Governor’s Academy (USHS), 5’11”, 161, L, DOB 3/6/03
Fitzgerald is in a long list of NHL bloodlines. He is the son of Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald and potentially thought we’d see some nepotism in the decision making of selecting him. Brendan is a smooth puck moving defenseman but doesn’t carry a lot of flash in his game. The lack of being high-end or above average in one single trait are probably reasons teams passed up on him.
205 LW, Ryan St. Louis, USNTDP U18, 5’10”, 168, L, DOB 6/16/03
Now it would be very fitting that another St. Louis goes undrafted but has an NHL career. The below average sized American winger has a lot of similarities to his hall of fame father Martin but just isn’t elite in those categories. The opportunity to showcase his offensive skill were there this year as the USNTDP had a ton of injuries/illnesses this year and St. Louis was thwarted up the lineup. Unfortunately, he didn’t run with his opportunity and it left with more question marks on his offensive upside.
206 C, Yan Kopylov, Taifun Primorsky Krai (MHL), 5’10”, 163, L, DOB 11/26/02
Kopylov is a bit of an enigma kind of player. He shows flashes of brilliance in his puck skills and can “Wow” you. The main issue is he doesn’t do this nearly enough to satisfy you and can leave you constantly wanting more from him. He does need to get stronger, but he also needs to be more of a play driver.
207 C, Deni Goure, Owen Sound Attack (OHL), 5’10”, 159, R, DOB 7/15/03
Goure had a strong rookie season for the Attack as a 16-year-old. His game doesn’t revolve around skill and is better suited as a two-way centre that can handle defensive assignments. For him to get drafted next year as an overager, he will need to show scouts that his offensive abilities have progressed and he can create more plays in transition.
208 D, Jacob Guevin, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL), 5’11”, 181, R, DOB 1/17/03
It may be surprising to see a defenseman who almost put up a point per game in 53 outings go undrafted, but Guevin’s skating is going to severely hold him back. At times it looks like he’s skating in quicksand. My biggest worry though is his transitions and pivots. A fast skater can easily blow by him down the wing while Guevin is having to full rotate his body all at once to pivot. I’m sure NHL teams saw this and gave it a red flag.
209 D, Marko Stacha, Vancouver Giants (WHL), 6’1”, 190, L, DOB 3/21/02
Stacha we had ranked in last years draft to be selected and still felt he was worthy of a pick. The smooth skating Slovak uses his feet to aid him in defending and in transition. There are times where he looks to lose focus and panic, showing a high-panic threshold. Struggles to read the player after the first layer is broken down, has problems regrouping to make another stop.
210 D, Ethan Straky, USNTDP U18, 5’11”, 174, R, DOB 4/18/03
Straky moves the puck well from his own zone and shows promise. That is when he has time and space to calmly see the ice. When pressure comes in on him, he’s seems to grip the stick a little tight and make poor decision and bad passes up to his forwards. I’d like to see a little more poise in his game and handle the forecheck better.
212 C, Linus Sjodin, Rogle BK (SHL), 6’0”, 168, L, DOB 10/2/02
Sjodin is a skilled playmaking centre with good hands. He’s intelligent enough to play a reliable two-way game and a reason why he appeared in 22 SHL games this year. His skill did not translate so easily and really struggled to carry over his confidence from the J20 division to the SHL. It’s a hard task to be asked, but I’m wondering if NHL teams saw the lack of production in 22 games and it worried them.
214 LW, Zack Stringer, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL), 6’1”, 165, L, DOB 4/10/03
Stringer is very much so like an energizer bunny in the way he plays. He gets himself involved in battles and wants to be the one that retrieves pucks back for his line. He’s a lanky fellow, but you have to figure once he fills into his frame he’s going to be a force along the perimeter and on the cycle. His skating has never been a bright spot to his game and is a “giddy-up” style of skater. Working on his stride technique to improve his transition game should be his main focus this summer.
217 D, Zach Biggar, Acadie-Bathurst Titans (QMJHL), 6’0”, 179, L, DOB 3/1/03
I’m a fan of Biggar’s game and as a former defenseman I can appreciate his calm demeanor and ability to read the oncoming pressure so well. He’s going to be a solid, reliable junior defenseman, but maybe that’s it? His game isn’t risky by any means, he doesn’t show to have great offensive instincts. There can be players that are classified as too simple and those players may not have enough talent to make the NHL, Biggar could be in that category.
218 D, Noah Meier, GC Kusnacht Lions (SL), 5’11”, 170, L, DOB 9/24/02
Meier is almost polar opposite from the above defenseman, Zach Biggar. Meier loves to join the attack and try to create offense from the blueline. He’s smooth in transition and handles the puck with ease. Meier is not the greatest defender and he can cheat in his positioning stemming from poor decision making process. He’s got a bit of talent, but he’ll need to defend better before getting a shot.
221 LW, Owen Pederson, Winnipeg Ice (WHL), 6’3”, 187, L, DOB 3/27/02
I actually thought Pederson was one of the overagers that would’ve got selected and potentially would’ve gone higher than our ranking suggested. He’s a big, strong two-way winger that complemented his two skillful linemates (McClennon and Krebs) well. I think there probably were/are question marks on his ability to drive the offense himself and maybe he fed off of playing with a couple of star junior players.
223 C, Kaleb Lawrence, Owen Sound Attack (OHL), 6’6”, 225, L, DOB 1/10/03
Who doesn’t love a 6’6” giant that has incredibly soft hands and can feather a pass through many tight seams? I guess NHL teams don’t like that. No, but seriously, the issue with Lawrence is his skating and lack of separation speed/edgework for his size. The other surprising part of Lawrence’s game is I rarely see him use his body to apply a heavy forechecking presence. I hope he isn’t a big man that is a teddy bear.