While the Stanley Cup Playoffs are still underway, a lot of teams are focused on the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft, which will commence on July 23-24. There’s a wide range of different positions to choose from in this year’s draft. Versatility and strong skating is an upside in 2021. The Buffalo Sabres won the NHL Draft lottery and will pick number one overall, followed by the Seattle Kraken, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, and Columbus Blue Jackets. Like in 2020, this will be another interesting draft as there are a lot of talented players on a lot of team’s radars.
Top Five 2021 NHL Draft Prospects
Owen Power (Defenseman)
Michigan could very well have three players picked in the top ten of the 2021 NHL Draft and one of them could be the potential number one overall pick, Owen Power. The 6’5″, 213-pound defenseman has all of the tools to be a top-line player in the league. Despite his size, Power is a strong skater with a quick movement that allows him to translate from defense to offense and vise versa.
Power has good vision on both sides of the ice, which improves his passing and positioning. He’s a smart player and that makes him a highly coveted prospect. Power can play the game at a high level and whenever get to the NHL, he can quickly become one of the top defensemen in the league.
Matt Beniers (Center)
Another Michigan product is projected to go high in the draft and that’s center Matt Beniers. What makes him one of the top prospects in the 2021 NHL Draft is his great two-way ability. Beniers plays smart defense and his play-making ability makes his offensive skill set top-notch. He keeps his game simple and won’t try to do too much with the puck. His smarts and work ethic are second to none and that allows him to put up consistent numbers in the game. No one should be surprised if this kid becomes a star in this league.
William Eklund (Left Wing)
A versatile forward is highly coveted in today’s game that that’s exactly what William Eklund is. Not only can he play on the wing but he can also play up the middle, allowing him to learn both the offensive and defensive side of the ice very well. Talented might be an understatement when describing his ability. Eklund’s quick speed and puck handling make him a nightmare for opponents to go up against. His two-way skill is compared to many impactful past and current players and that will translate well into the NHL.
Luke Hughes (Defenseman)
There’s a lot of pressure being the third Hughes brother in the league. We’ve already seen Jack Hughes and Quinn Hughes in the pros, now we’ll get to see Luke Hughes soon enough. His offensive skill set alone make him a very exciting player to watch. Having quick hands and feet is what makes defenseman so valuable in this league and that’s exactly what Hughes has. He doesn’t panic in big situations or when in tight spaces. His ability to create offense is exactly like the kind of defenseman teams are looking for.
His defense might need a little more work but one ability he has is disrupting plays. Teams are confident that playing at Michigan next season will unlock his hidden abilities on defense. We talked about Eklund’s two-way style being valuable as a forward but having a two-way style as a defenseman might be even more valuable. If Hughes can improve his skill-set on defense and some little thing on offense, the position in this draft will catapult.
Brandt Clarke (Defenseman)
The defenseman class seems to be strong in the 2021 NHL Draft and Brandt Clarke is another example of why. Mobility is his strong suit, allowing him to move the puck and be a strong play-maker. He also has the vision to be a great passer of the puck. Clarke has the speed to be able to turn defense into offense. He has a lot of different skill sets that a lot of teams desire. Clarke will be a player to watch out for that can turn some head in the league.
Other 2021 NHL Draft Prospects To Keep An Eye On