2021 NHL draft winners and losers

When you look at the first round of the 2021 NHL draft you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s only a handful of teams that have any chance of winning the lottery. It’s a stacked draft, with the top five picks filled by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, and defending Stanley Cup Champion, the New York Rangers. but is there any hope for the teams picking later in the first round?

Upon the conclusion of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, each team had the opportunity to draft the player that would round out their roster and make them contenders for the Stanley Cup. The Edmonton Oilers, as the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, were the pickiest and likely made the most offers to improve their 23-man roster.

The 2021 NHL Draft will begin a new era of professional hockey in the United States with the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg, a team that hasn’t been in the league since 2011. The draft is important because it will create a direct path to the NHL for the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) prospects. With no NHL team in the South, those kids will get their first chance at being drafted into the league.. Read more about nhl draft grades 2021 and let us know what you think.

The journey has come to an end.

The NHL draft of 2021 featured a little bit of everything. Consider the high-profile transactions involving Seth Jones, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jakub Voracek, Cam Atkinson, and Sam Reinhart. Take a look at the past, as one NCAA institution had a weekend to remember. Consider the mystery: the COVID-19 epidemic made prospect assessment more difficult than it had ever been before. Consider the uproar when a controversial prospect who requested not to be chosen was instead selected in the first round, sparking widespread anger.

Here are some of the winners and losers from the (hopefully) last virtual NHL draft we’ll ever see.


University of Michigan is the winner.

The 2021 NHL draft will be known as “the Michigan draft” for the rest of time. As the first NCAA school to ever have three current players and five total players chosen in the first round, the Wolverines established a draft record.

Owen Power (Buffalo) and Matty Beniers (Seattle), both current Wolverines and committed recruits, were selected in the first round, marking the first time since 1969 that the same team produced the first two picks in the draft; Luke Hughes (No. 4, New Jersey) and Kent Johnson (No. 5, Columbus), marking the first time one school had four picks in the top five. The first-rounders were rounded out by Mackie Samoskevich (No. 24, Florida).

The Tampa Bay Lightning chose Dylan Duke, an incoming freshman forward, 126th overall. The six Michigan draftees were one shy of matching the program’s all-time high. Wyshynski (Wyshynski)

According to draft experts, the Senators suffered a significant miss in the 2021 draft. Tyler Boucher was selected at No. 10 overall in the first round, which kicked off the process. Boucher is a strong prospect, but Ottawa took a risk by reaching for him; no popular mock drafts had him in the top ten.

Zack Ostapchuk (39th overall, 60th among North American skaters), Ben Roger (49th overall, 74th in NA), and Oliver Johansson (49th overall, 74th in NA) were the Senators’ next three selections (79th overall and 285th by FC Hockey). None of these players have a particularly unique skill set. They got their men, is the nicest thing to say.

On Saturday, Ottawa scout Trent Mann stated, “A public list is unaware of our knowledge. That is the truth, and I am well aware of it. I’m a person who lives in the real world.” Wyshynski (Wyshynski)



Matthew Beniers of Michigan was selected with the No. 2 overall selection in the NHL draft by the newly created Seattle Kraken.

Winner: The goaltending trend in the first round.

A goaltender has only been chosen in the first round eight times in 15 drafts since Marc-Andre Fleury went first overall in 2003. For a long time, selecting a goalkeeper in the first round was seen as a risky move. Then the tide began to turn.

2 Related

We entered 2021 off the backs of two outstanding first-round goaltenders: Spencer Knight, who was selected 13th overall by Florida in 2019, and Yaroslav Askarov, who was selected 11th overall by Nashville in 2020. We received two more in 2021: Sebastian Cossa went to the Detroit Red Wings with the No. 15 overall selection, and the Minnesota Wild moved up to get Jesper Wallstedt with the No. 19 overall pick.

Bill Guerin, the Wild’s general manager, stated of Wallstedt, “We had him identified far higher.” “We didn’t want to risk him being taken [at No. 21] by the Bruins. We decided that moving up a few places and grabbing him there was a small price to pay.”

Cossa and Wallstedt, by all accounts, should be worth the money. — Dr. Kaplan

Loser: The time it takes for young goalies to make it to the NHL.

Despite the fact that both Cossa and Wallstedt are expected to be good starting goaltenders in the NHL, neither team should expect to see them in net to start next season. Or maybe in the near future.

Knight was a golden child, jumping right from his season at Boston College into the NHL in the spring. Wallstedt and Cossa need to speak to their respective teams about their development path, but the truth is, most goalies need more time to grow before they can be a regular NHL starter.

Wallstedt has experience in Sweden’s top professional league, thus he may be better prepared. Cossa, who spent last season in the Western Hockey League, is joining a Detroit club that is taking a long-term approach to rebuilding. — Dr. Kaplan

Buffalo fugitives are the winners.

Around the time of the draft, the Buffalo Sabres traded two long-time players, and both ended themselves in better circumstances.

After it became apparent to all sides that Sam Reinhart, Buffalo’s top scorer last season, would not be returning with the Sabres following season, he was dealt to the Florida Panthers.

“I felt like I had committed and done all that was required of me, and it was sad it didn’t turn out the way anybody envisioned,” Reinhart added, hinting to a new deal in Florida.

Meanwhile, Rasmus Ristolainen was sent to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he’ll be projected as a second-pairing defender and may play alongside Travis Sanheim.

Two players are getting a new start with two clubs who are a lot closer to making the playoffs than Buffalo. Wyshynski (Wyshynski)



The Blue Jackets entrust the announcement of the No. 5 selection in the NHL draft to college football expert Kirk Herbstreit.

While some players were able to get out of circumstances they didn’t want to be in, others were trapped for the time being.

Due to his unhappiness with the way his numerous shoulder operations were handled, Tarasenko requested a trade from the St. Louis Blues. He stayed with the Blues over the weekend when the Seattle Kraken didn’t choose him in the expansion draft, and GM Doug Armstrong indicated he might stay with them indefinitely.

Armstrong added, “There’s definitely a perspective where I see him putting on the jersey again.” “In the NHL, a number of players have sought moves. You strive to keep it below the surface at all times. But it is our duty to do what is best for the St. Louis Blues, and if that means he returns to play for us, that is the view.”

Meanwhile, Sabres star center Jack Eichel was watching two of his teammates be traded, but GM Kevyn Adams had failed to get a blockbuster for his unhappy star center. Adams said if Eichel was still on his roster when training camp began, he would have “no issue.” He said that he is still in the market for a deal that would benefit Buffalo in the long and near term.

“We won’t do anything if we don’t have it on the table or don’t believe it makes sense,” Adams said. Wyshynski (Wyshynski)

It may have been a stretch to choose Shane Doan’s son, Josh, in the second round, but the Coyotes are thrilled with him, and that’s all that counts. The Arizona front management has been reshaping their franchise over the last two weeks. The Coyotes’ captain, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and third-leading point scorer, Conor Garland, were dealt to Vancouver for some shorter-term commitments and draft choices, indicating that they are attempting to completely flip things around.

In order to accumulate future cash, the Coyotes made two more major transactions, taking on the undesirable contracts of Shayne Gostisbehere and Andrew Ladd. Things in the desert may be bleak next season, but there is at least a clear way ahead.

“I don’t think we got that many choices in 10 years in my tenure in St. Louis,” Arizona general manager Bill Armstrong said. “We completed the project in only two weeks. It’s very thrilling.” — Dr. Kaplan

The sign-and-trade agreement is a loser.

Once again, we were teased with the prospect of a sign-and-trade deal, this time involving Zach Hyman and the Edmonton Oilers, but it never materialized. Hyman and his agent were given permission by the Toronto Maple Leafs to speak with other clubs about the potential of transferring his rights. The Oilers were intrigued in Hyman and planned to sign him to an eight-year contract. The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, drew a line in the sand when it came to compensation, and the transaction fell through.

When free agency starts, Hyman is likely to sign a seven-year contract with Edmonton.

“I know there’s a perception that we should simply get something,” Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said. “But you’re saving a club substantial money on the salary limit [by providing the eight year].” “There’s a price to pay for it, and we’re not going to budge on that.” — Dr. Kaplan

Feel-good choices are the winner.


As he interrupted Colton Dach’s first #Blackhawks media session, big brother Kirby stated it better than we ever could! pic.twitter.com/Sionlf3g5T

— July 24, 2021, Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks)

The NHL draft is usually a source of heartfelt emotions. We had the Coyotes picking Josh Doan at No. 37 overall, as he joins the club where his father, Shane, played for two decades, had his number retired, and currently works in the front office. Caleb and Seth Jones were reunited in Chicago, and another set of brothers, Colton Dach and his video-crashing sibling Kirby Dach, may be reunited as well.

The Colorado Avalanche selected Taylor Makar, whose brother Cale Makar is a standout with a lucrative new deal. And, of course, the New Jersey Devils’ pick of Luke Hughes at No. 4 actually made his brother Jack Hughes leap for excitement. Wyshynski (Wyshynski)



With the No. 3 overall selection in the NHL draft, the New Jersey Devils choose Luke Hughes, the younger brother of previous top lottery pick Jack Hughes.

Loser: This is a big bummer.

The first-round pick of Logan Mailloux by the Montreal Canadiens set a new record for the weekend. After being punished for a sexual crime in Sweden last year, the 18-year-old defender requested that no NHL clubs choose him this year. The Canadiens weren’t the only club defying that request; I heard that many NHL teams were planning to pick Mailloux in the second round, which would be an issue in and of itself.

Mailloux agreed to be sent to Montreal, claiming that it would help him become a “better person” while apologizing to his victim. Montreal was harshly chastised, with renowned hockey voices saying “the Canadiens should be ashamed of themselves” and “they don’t care about victims.” A sad moment in which skill triumphed over compassion. Wyshynski (Wyshynski)

With one year left on his contract, Seth Jones declined to sign an extension with the Blue Jackets, opting to test free agency next summer. The Blue Jackets put him on the market and sent him to Chicago, a place where he obviously wanted to play, as shown by his agreement to sign an eight-year contract for $9.5 million per year there. Jones will also get the opportunity to play alongside his brother, Caleb Jones, who was acquired by Chicago in the Duncan Keith trade.

What about Atkinson? When you receive a trade call during your son’s third birthday celebration, like Atkinson did on Saturday, it’s never a good moment. The winger, who was in attendance at Nationwide Arena for the Blue Jackets’ draft celebration on Friday night, was obviously taken aback. The one-for-one exchange with Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek was dubbed “a hockey trade” by GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Atkinson was a player who gave his all for the Blue Jackets and talked favorably of his time there. But he handled the issue gracefully and used it to further his career. During his media availability soon after the deal was revealed, he even donned a Gritty T-shirt. — Dr. Kaplan

Seth Jones is the latest in a long line of excellent players to express an interest in leaving Columbus. Icon Sportswire/Danny Murphy

Loser: The impression that Columbus is not a desirable destination for athletes.

Seth Jones isn’t the only Columbus player to turn down a contract extension (Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois being two other recent examples). Despite the fact that the causes vary, Columbus is regrettably developing a reputation across the league.

“Seth is a fantastic individual. A fantastic player. I don’t hold that against him in the least, because he had every right to do what he did “In an interview with me on Friday night, Blue Jackets team president John Davidson said. “I know he cares about this location, but he made a personal and professional choice.”

So, what is Davidson’s message to supporters who may be upset by famous stars departing town on a regular basis?

“Stay with us. It’s a fantastic city. There are a lot of enthusiastic supporters here “Davidson said. “It’s becoming increasingly common in all professional sports; baseball players, basketball players, football players, and hockey players are all doing it. You deal with the situation as it arises. Simultaneously, you strive to provide the greatest possible service in terms of return.”

The Blue Jackets thought they got a good deal on Jones. They’re already reaping the benefits, having moved up to No. 12 in the draft to choose Cole Sillinger, a guy they’d been eyeing. — Dr. Kaplan

Steve Yzerman was the winner.

With eight picks, the Red Wings had a fantastic draft. That began with 6-foot-4 Swedish defender Simon Edvinsson (No. 6 overall), who has the raw skills to become a key player. They moved up to No. 15 in the draft to acquire 6-foot-6 goalkeeper Sebastian Cossa, giving them the franchise goaltender they needed — and some Andrei Vasilevskiy memories from when GM Steve Yzerman selected him in the first round in 2012.

The Red Wings were on point all weekend, with defender Shai Buium (36th), Carter Mazur (70th), and the wonderfully named Red Savage (114th) chosen next. That’s not even taking into account the trade with the Carolina Hurricanes in which they acquired Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic and signed him to a two-year contract. Wyshynski (Wyshynski)

Jim Benning is the loser.

Let’s get one thing straight: Vancouver GM Jim Benning signed free-agent contracts for Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, and Antoine Roussel that the Canucks would later regret; and then he traded those cap albatrosses to the Coyotes along with a first-round pick for forward Conor Garland, who is fantastic, and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who has six seasons left on a salary-cap disaster.

As a result, salary-cap errors become… salary-cap errors. This seems to be the kind of deal made by a general manager who believes the inflated contract will be the issue of the next general manager. Wyshynski (Wyshynski)

Deal-making is the winner.

Taylor Hall wants to commit to the Boston Bruins on a long-term basis. Since the day he came in Boston via trade from Buffalo last season, he’s been saying that. After burning out with the Sabres, Hall claimed he didn’t even know what he was worth, but his 16-game regular-season tryout with the Bruins was enough to convince management that the former No. 1 pick still had it; he just needed to find a place where he felt at ease. Boston and Hall have agreed to a four-year, $24 million contract, which both parties are pleased with.

Cale Makar, meantime, has agreed to a six-year, $54 million contract to be the face of the Colorado Avalanche’s blue line indefinitely (and buy all of the Slurpees he wants). Makar said that he has never considered signing an offer sheet with a another club. He is pleased with Colorado and the franchise’s trajectory. He described the talks as a “seamless procedure.” Isn’t it lovely? — Dr. Kaplan

Loser: Finishing the draft

The NHL draft’s first round was not exactly brisk. At 8:25 p.m. ET, the first selection was made, and the event lasted almost till midnight. Commissioner Gary Bettman seemed to eager to get the show on the road by the last few selections, according to social media.

The second day took around seven hours. Nothing is simple in the virtual world, but the NHL could consider shortening the time between selections or imposing time restrictions if teams are dragging.

Jim Gregory will be missed for many reasons, but none more so than tonight, when he was the maestro of speeding up the second day of the draft by pressuring clubs to make their selections inside the time limit. https://t.co/BSnFUl6RKF

July 24, 2021 — Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL)

At the very least, next year in Montreal, everyone should be in the same room. Let’s look forward to 2022! — Dr. Kaplan

A 20-year-old is expected to win the 2019 NHL Draft. Normally, that is a bad thing, but the draft has gotten so much better that it has become rather dull. The 2019 NHL Draft is not going to be any different, with the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets predicted to select the first and second picks, respectively.. Read more about 2021 nhl entry draft and let us know what you think.

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