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Craig Button

TSN Director of Scouting

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Finnish centre Aatu Raty sits in the top spot, but TSN Hockey’s early look at the 2021 draft class suggests it’s going to be a good year for teams looking to boost their blueline.

Seven of the top 15 players in our rankings are defencemen, and the class is stacked with players who possess the attributes NHL teams are looking for at that position.

Raty is a highly skilled centre who plays and thinks the game with pace. The 6-foot-1, 177-pound Karpat pivot is a threat all over the ice, which makes him difficult to stop.

Hulking Chicago Steel (USHL) defenceman Owen Power leads the parade on defence, sitting at No. 2 in our rankings. The 6-foot-4 ½, 213-pound blueliner from Mississauga, Ont., shows outstanding sense and feel for the game, which allows him to dominate. When you combine his poise in all situations with his considerable size, you get a player who commands space and makes life very difficult for opponents.

Simon Edvinsson (No. 3) is another big, rangy defenceman who makes things look easy with his skating and mental acumen. The 6-foot-3, 176-pound Edvinsson is playing for Frolunda’s J18 team this season and has turned some heads at the 2019 World U17 Hockey Challenge.

Alberta Junior Hockey League defenceman Corson Ceulemans is at No. 4, a right-shot defenceman who has the attributes to play on the top pair at the next level. Ceulemans, who has 12 points in 14 games for the Brooks Bandits this season, is calm when he needs to be and shows and an understanding of all the situations in the game to make a strong contribution.

Rounding out the top five is another right-shot Canadian defender in Barrie Colts blueliner Brandt Clarke. The Nepean, Ont., native plays with a boldness and confidence that allows him to make a difference at all times.

Elsewhere in our top 10 are dynamic offensive Swedish winger Fabian Lysell (No. 6), Peterborough Petes centre Mason McTavish (No. 7), Edmonton Oil Kings left wing Dylan Guenther (No. 9) and Trail Smoke Eaters centre Kent Johnson (No. 10). 

And it wouldn’t be an NHL draft preview without a Hughes to discuss. The third and final brother in the next great NHL family sits at No. 8 in our rankings.

Luke Hughes, currently playing defence for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Juniors, is set to follow in the footsteps of his older brothers, Quinn (seventh overall in 2018) and Jack (first overall in 2019).

A certain first-round pick in 2021, Luke has excellent puck skills and the ability to perform magic when the puck is on his stick. He has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 17 games played this season.

 

Craig's 21 in 21

 
RK Name Team Pos HT WT GP G PTS
1 Aatu Raty Karpat (SM Liiga) C 6'1 177 7 2 4
2 Owen Power Chicago (USHL) D 6'4 ½ 213 12 4 13
3 Simon Edvinsson Frolunda (SWE J18) D 6'3 176 8 1 10
4 Corson Ceulemans Brooks (AJHL) D 6'1 187 14 1 12
5 Brandt Clarke Barrie (OHL) D 6'1 ¼ 180 13 0 8
6 Fabian Lysell Frolunda (SWE J18) LW/RW 5'10 163 9 11 25
7 Mason McTavish Peterborough (OHL) C 6'0 ¼ 198 14 10 14
8 Luke Hughes USA NTDP (USHL) D 5'11 ½ 162 17 7 17
9 Dylan Guenther Edmonton (WHL) LW 6'0 ¼ 166 14 4 9
10 Kent Johnson Trail (BCHL) C 6'1 163 22 15 41
11 Zachary L'Heureaux Moncton (QMJHL) LW 5'11 ¼ 197 15 7 18
12 Jesper Wallstedt Lulea (SWE J20) G 6'2 ½ 214 11 .922 2.53
13 Carson Lambos Winnipeg (WHL) D 6'0 200 14 4 10
14 Zachary Bolduc Rimouski (QMJHL) C 5'11 172 11 5 7
15 Daniil Chayka Guelph (OHL) D 6'2 ¾ 179 14 3 11
16 Brennan Othmann Flint (OHL) LW 5'11 165 12 5 9
17 Chaz Lucius USA NTDP (USHL) C 6'0 172 18 18 24
18 James Malatesta Quebec (QMJHL) LW 5'9 172 15 9 13
19 Isak Rosen Leksand (SWE J20) LW 5'11 155 16 9 18
20 Francesco Pinelli Kitchener (OHL) C 6'0 184 13 7 12
21 Cole Sillinger Medicine Hat (WHL) C/LW 5'11 ½ 194 14 8 17