2021 NHL Entry Draft: A Recap of the First Round

Michigan Wolverines

Just days after the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, the NHL’s teams compiled their draft boards and cards together for the 2021 Entry Draft, to add to their respective pool of prospects. NoVa Caps looks back at the first-round and the selections of each team in this First Round recap.

Just prior to the draft (those that took place before draft day will be noted), a number of trades involving high-profile names took place, and included in those trades, were some first-round selections. Among them:

1. The Vancouver Canucks sent a package that included (but not limited to) former Washington Capital Jay Beagle, and the ninth overall pick to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland.
2. The Chicago Blackhawks acquired defenseman Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a package that included the 32nd overall pick (originally belonging to the Tampa Bay Lightning) going to the Blackhawks, while the Blue Jackets received the 12th overall pick among others.
3. The Buffalo Sabres sent defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for their 2021 first-round pick, a second-round pick in 2023, and defenseman Robert Hagg.

In addition to the above, Arizona was forced to forfeit their original 2021 first-round pick as a result of scouting combine testing violations in October of last year.

During the draft, a few teams swapped a number of selections including:

– Detroit Red Wings trade 23rd overall pick, 48th overall pick, and 138th overall pick to the Dallas Stars for the 15th overall pick
– Minnesota Wild acquire the 20th overall pick from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for the 22nd overall pick and 90th overall pick.
– The Nashville Predators acquired the 27th overall pick from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for the 40th and 51st picks.


Pick #1: Owen Power/Defenseman/University of Michigan
Team: Buffalo Sabres
Analysis: The Buffalo Sabres selected Michigan Wolverines defenseman Owen Power with the first overall selection of the 2021 draft. Power is coming off a season in which he was named to the Big-Ten All-Rookie team, and recorded three goals, and 13 assists in 26 Games Played last season. Praised for his skating ability as well as his hockey sense, Power is the Sabres’ second blueliner selected with the first overall pick in the last four drafts; the team drafted Rasmus Dahlin with the top selection in 2018.

Pick #2: Matthew Beniers/Center/University of Michigan
Team: Seattle Kraken
Analysis: The newest team in the NHL drafted their first prospect in franchise history just days after drafting to construct their NHL roster. The Kraken selected Center Matthew Beniers from the University of Michigan with the second overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The former United States Development team pivot was regarded as the No. 6 North American skater by the NHL’s Central Scouting, and finished as a point-per-game player last season for the Wolverines, recording 24 points in 24 games.

Pick #3: Mason McTavish/Center/Peterborough Petes (Ontario Hockey League)
Team: Anaheim Ducks
Analysis: The Anaheim Ducks selected Center Mason McTavish with the third overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Son of a one-time NHL and longtime European league Center, Dale McTavish, Mason was highly-regarded by the NHL’s Central Scouting, who had him ranked second among North American skaters. Spending last season with EHC Olten of the Swiss League, McTavish recorded nine goals and two assists in 13 Games Played and helped Team Canada capture Gold at the World U18 Championships with 11 points in seven games.

Pick #4: Luke Hughes/Defenseman/United States National Development Program
Team: New Jersey Devils
Analysis: If the name “Hughes” being selected by the Devils sounds familiar, it should be. The Devils selected Luke Hughes, younger brother of 2019 first overall pick Jack, and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn, with the fourth overall selection in the 2021 draft. Ranked fourth by the NHL’s Central Scouting, [Luke] Hughes is renowned for his skating ability and recorded 34 points in 38 games last season.

Pick #5: Kent Johnson/Center/University of Michigan
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Analysis: The fourth Michigan Wolverine to be selected in the first five picks of the NHL Entry Draft, Johnson was selected fifth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Coming off a freshman season in which he recorded 26 points in 27 Games Played, Johnson was named to the Big-10 All-Rookie team, and will return to Michigan for his sophomore season.

Pick #6: Simon Edvinsson/Defenseman/Frolunda (Swedish Junior)
Team: Detroit Red Wings
Analysis: The third defenseman taken in the first-round, Edvinsson has drawn some comparisons to Tampa Bay Lightning blueliner Victor Hedman as a result of some aspects of his game. The 6’4″ rearguard recorded six points in 14 Games Played last season.

Pick #7: William Eklund/Left Wing/Djurgarden (Sweden)
Team: San Jose Sharks
Analysis: The San Jose Sharks select Swedish forward William Eklund with the seventh overall selection in 2021. Recording 23 points in 40 Games Played with Djurgarden, in the highest league of hockey in Sweden. The top-ranked European skater available in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Eklund becomes the Sharks’ highest selection in a draft since picking Milan Michalek also at the sixth spot in 2003.

Pick #8: Brandt Clarke/Defenseman/Barrie Colts (Ontario Hockey League)
Team: Los Angeles Kings
Analysis: The Los Angeles Kings selected Barrie Colts blueliner Brandt Clarke with the eighth overall pick in 2021. Clarke recorded five goals and 15 points in 26 Games Played with HC Nove Zamky in Slovakia last season, and 38 points in 57 Games Played during his rookie season in Barrie in 2019-20; additionally, he recorded seven points en route to Team Canada capturing Gold at the U18 World Championship in 2021.

Pick #9 (acquired from Vancouver): Dylan Guenther/Right Wing/Edmonton Oil Kings (Western Hockey League)
Team: Arizona Coyotes
Analysis: With the pick acquired from the Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade, the Coyotes selected forward Dylan Guenther with the ninth overall selection in the 2021 draft. Ranked as the No. 5 North American skater, Guenther’s offensive skills are notable and he recorded 87 points in 78 career games for Edmonton of the WHL.

Pick #10: Tyler Boucher/Right Wing/United States National Development Team
Team: Ottawa Senators
Analysis: The son of former NHL goaltender Brian Boucher, Tyler Boucher rounded out the Top 10 selections in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The Boston University-bound forward recorded 11 points last season, and is known for playing a hard game.

Pick #11: Forfeited by the Arizona Coyotes

Pick #12: Cole Sillinger/Center/Sioux Falls (United States Hockey League)
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Analysis: The son for longtime NHL journeyman Mike Sillinger (and born during his father’s time with the Columbus Blue Jackets), Cole Sillinger was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2021 draft by the Blue Jackets. Sillinger recorded 46 points in 31 Games Played with Sioux Falls last season.

Pick #13: Matthew Coronato/Right Wing/Chicago Steel (USHL)”
Team: Calgary Flames
Analysis: The 2021 USHL Forward of the Year, Matthew Coronato was taken with the 13th slotted pick (12th overall) in 2021. Coming of a season in which he recorded 48 goals, 37 assists, his second campaign with the Steel. Ranked as the No. 9 North American skater, Coronato will attend Harvard University during the 2021-22 season.

Pick #14 (acquired from Philadelphia): Isak Rosen/Right Wing/Leksand (SHL)
Team: Buffalo Sabres
Analysis: With their second pick of the opening round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft (acquired in the Ristolainen trade), the Buffalo Sabres selected Isak Rosen, a Swedish forward who was ranked as the eighth-best international skater by NHL.com. Lauded for his skating ability and his offensive capabilites.

Pick #15 (acquired from Dallas): Sebastian Cossa/Goaltender/Edmonton (WHL)
Team: Detroit Red Wings
Analysis: Having traded up from the 23rd spot, the Red Wings selected the first goaltender in the first-round and of the 2021 draft, taking Sebastian Cossa from the Edmonton Oil Kings. Cossa went 17-1-1 in 19 games, with a Goals-Against Average of 1.57 and Save Percentage of .941. He was ranked as the top Goaltender among North America by NHL Central Scouting.

Pick #16: Brennan Othmann/Left Wing/Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Team: New York Rangers
Analysis: Coming off a season spent in the Swiss League in which he recorded seven goals and 15 points in 34 Games Played, Othmann recorded 33 points (including 17 goals) in 55 Games Played with Flint in 2019-20, and was ranked as the No. 8 skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.

Pick #17: Zachary Bolduc/Center/Rimouski (QMJHL)
Team: St. Louis Blues
Analysis: In 27 games played with the Rimouski Oceanic in 2020-21, Zachary Bolduc, the 17th overall pick in 2021, recorded 29 points, and fits into the type of player the Blues utilize.

Pick $18: Chaz Lucius/Center/United States National Development Program
Team: Winnipeg Jets
Analysis: The Winnipeg Jets opted for Center Chaz Lucius with the 18th slot in the 2021 draft. A future Minnesota Golden Gopher, Lucius spent last season with the United States National Development program, with whom he recorded 20 points (including 13 goals) in 13 Games Played following an injury. Ranked as the No. 12 North American skater, Lucius will attend the University of Minnesota for the 2021-22 season.

Pick #19: Fedor Svechkov/Center/Togliatti (Russia)
Team: Nashville Predators
Analysis: With the 19th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators opted to select the No. 6 International skater, Fedor Svechkov. Svechkov spent last season in the Togliatti organization, and is described as one of the best defensive forwards that was available in the draft. In addition to his on-ice performance, Svechkov is noted for having exceptional hockey sense.

Pick #20 (acquired from the Edmonton Oilers): Jesper Wellstadt/Goaltender/Lulea (Sweden)
Team: Minnestoa Wild
Analysis: Having traded up to the 20th pick, the Wild selected the second goaltender off the board. Wellstadt ranked as the top European netminder, and became the first Swedish goaltender ever taken in the first round in NHL history. With Lulea in Sweden’s top league last season, Wellstadt finished with a record of 12-10, with a Save Percentage of .908 and Goals-Against Average of 2.23 in addition to two shutouts.

Pick #21: Fabian Lysell/Right Wing/Lulea (Sweden)
Team: Boston Bruins
Analysis: With their first-round selection in 2021, the Boston Bruins
Fabian Lysell, the first non-defenseman pick by General Manager Don Sweeney in six years as GM of the Bruins. Lysell recorded just three points in 26 Games Played in Sweden, but is renowned for his skating ability, and tied for the lead in scoring on Team Sweden in the U18 World Championships in 2021, with nine points in seven games en route to a Bronze Medal.

Pick #22 (acquired from Minnesota): Xavier Bourgault/Center/Shawinigan (QMJHL)
Team: Edmonton Oilers
Analysis: After trading two spots with the Minnesota Wild, the Edmonton Oilers opted to select Xavier Bourgault, who has proven to be a versatile player. In 29 Games Played with the Shawinigan Cataractes, he recorded 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists).

Pick #23 (acquired from the Detroit Red Wings): Wyatt Johnston/Center/Windsor (OHL)
Team: Dallas Stars
Analysis: With the pick acquired from the Detroit Red Wings, the Dallas Stars selected Center Wyatt Johnston, who played just seven games last season, all during the U18 World Championships. In 2019-20 with the Windsor Spitfires, he recorded 12 goals and 30 points.

Pick #24: Mackie Samoskevich/Right Wing/Chicago (USHL)
Team: Florida Panthers
Analysis: The Florida Panthers selected Right Wing Mackie Samoskevich with the 23rd overall selection in 2021. Ranked No. 26 by NHL Central Scouting, Samoskevich, who was praised by the Panthers for his playmaking abilities and awareness on the ice, recorded 47 points in 36 Games Played last season.

Pick #25 (acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs): Corson Ceulemans/Defenseman/Brooks (Alberta Junior Hockey League)
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Analysis: With another first-round pick in 2021, the Blue Jackets opted to go with defenseman Corson Ceulemans, who has drawn comparisons to the Colorado Avalanche’s Cale Makar. In just eight Games Played last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic shortening the schedule, Ceulemans recorded 11 points, and 2019-20, recorded 35 points in 43 games. He was ranked as the No. 14 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.

Pick #26 (acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins): Carson Lambos/Defenseman/Winnipeg (WHL)
Team: Minnesota Wild
Analysis: With their second first-round pick (acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2020-21 season), the Wild selected defenseman Carson Lambos, who was NHL Central Scouting’s 11th-ranked skater among North American prospects. Lambos split last season between Finland and the WHL due to the pandemic.

Pick #27 (acquired from Carolina): Zachary L’Heureux/Left Wing/Halifax (QMJHL)
Team: Nashville Predators
Analysis: Compared to the Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand due to his playing style, L’Heureux, in between suspensions this season, recorded 39 points in 33 Games Played for the Halifax Mooseheads, He was ranked No. 30 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

Pick #28: Oskar Olausson/Right Wing/HV71 (Sweden)
Team: Colorado Avalanche
Analysis: With pick of the first-round, the Colorado Avalanche selected the No. 13-ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting. Olausson recorded 10 points between two leagues in Sweden, and produced a 27-point performance in 16 games played for HV71 Jr. Olausson is slated to play in his native Sweden next season.

Pick #29 (acquired from the New York Islanders): Chase Stillman/Right Wing/Sudbury (OHL)
Team: New Jersey Devils
Analysis: With a pick acquired from the New York Islanders, the Devils selected right wing Chase Stillman, son of former NHLer Cory Stillman. In eight games in Denmark, Stillman recorded 16 points. Ranked No. 35 by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters, Stillman has been lauded for his energy and hard work on the ice.

Pick #30: Zach Dean/Center/Gatineau (QMJHL)
Team: Vegas Golden Knights
Analysis: With their first-round pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights selected Center Zach Dean, the No. 21-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. Dean recorded 20 points in 23 Games Played with Gatineau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this past season.

Pick #31: Logan Mailloux/Defenseman/London (GOJHL)
Team: Montreal Canadiens
Analysis: The pick of Logan Mailloux by the Montreal Canadiens caused a stir during the first-round, as while on loan in Sweden last season, he was fined and and eventually charged for invasion of privacy and defamation resulting from a photo taken of a woman and Mailloux engaged in a consensual sexual act that was shared without her permission. This resulted in Mailloux telling NHL teams not to select him; as a result, Montreal’s selection of the 18-year old blueliner was a shock. The Canadiens released a statement following the selection.

Pick #32: Nolan Allan/Defenseman/Prince Albert (WHL)
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Analysis: With the final pick of the first-round of 2021, the Blackhawks used the selection acquired in the Seth Jones trade to select defenseman Nolan Allan, who was ranked No. 40 on NHL Central Scouting’s list of North American skaters. In 16 Games Played with the Prince Albert Raiders, Allan recorded two points.


The 2021 dradt marked the fifth time ever and first since 2007 that two American-born players were selected in the Top 2 selections.

The 2021 NHL Entry Draft also tied a record for most Swedish-born players selected in the first round:

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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