With the 2021 NHL Entry Draft right around the corner (1st round July 23 @ 8pm ET) and the Oilers primed to pick at #19, it only seems appropriate to release a mock draft! In a year with less data on prospects, this draft has even greater potential than usual for prospects to slide, steals to be had, and intrigue in the form of pick trading. While any number of things can happen leading up to the draft, the following is an approximation of how I think the draft will go. Enjoy!
1. Buffalo Sabres – Owen Power, D, Michigan (NCAA) – The consensus #1 pick goes to a team that has wants at pretty much every position.
2. Seattle Kraken – Matthew Beniers, C, Michigan (NCAA) – Given the lack of elite Cs available in the expansion draft, getting a good bet at one with their first pick is a godsend.
3. Anaheim Ducks – Luke Hughes, D, USNTDP (USHL) – The Ducks need to replenish the D cupboards after a run of using their high picks on forwards. Alongside 2020 pick Drysdale, Hughes will go a long way to doing so.
4. New Jersey Devils – William Eklund, LW, Djurgardens (SHL) – A highly skilled and versatile player, Eklund was also a teammate and, at times, linemate of Devils 2020 pick Holtz. Clarke was a consideration here but Eklund was just too good to pass up.
5. Columbus Blue Jackets – Kent Johnson, C, Michigan (NCAA) – The Jackets simply need a high-end C and Johnson is likely the best bet at getting one. Simple.