Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “2021 NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you part two of our 2021 NHL Mock Draft.
We are less than a month away from the 2021 NHL Draft, and with that in mind, we are ready to release the annual LWOS 2021 NHL Mock Draft. We will go through the first two rounds of the draft, in four parts, breaking up the non-playoff teams and playoff teams.
For those who haven’t read the 2021 NHL Mock Draft before here are the rules.
1) No trades except for those that have already been made by NHL teams.
2) A two-round Mock draft will be done in four parts. The first part comes out today. More parts will be added in time.
3) Clicking the Player’s name will bring you to a full scouting report.
So with that out of the way, I present the LWOS 2021 NHL Mock Draft.
Click here for Picks 1-16 in the LWOS 2021 NHL Mock Draft.
2021 NHL Mock Draft – Picks 17 – 32
17.) St. Louis Blues – Cole Sillinger, Left Wing/Centre, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) and Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
The Blues add the son of Mike Sillinger, who played over 1000 games in the NHL over 18 seasons with 12 different NHL teams. Cole Sillinger is a pure sniper. He might be the best shooter in this draft class. His wrist shot is powerful and accurate. He has quick hands and is able to get the shot off quickly. Sillinger also does a good job of changing the angle on his shot, fooling goaltenders. His snapshot is also very good and features a similar quick release. Sillinger also has a knack for getting open for a one-timer, especially on the power play. His slap shot is also very good. He can even score with a good backhand. Sillinger has the hands to get deflections and pounce on rebounds in front of the net. His lateral agility and hands allow him to move laterally to open up shooting lanes.
The Jets have just four picks in the 2021 NHL Draft and thus need to make the most of every opportunity at the podium. They opt for Daniil Chayka, a Russian defender who already has plenty of experience on North American ice. Chayka has all the tools to be a top-pairing defender in the NHL, but his game needs some refinement. He has had recent growth spurts and still seems to be adjusting to his body. He also needs to add some strength and muscle. These improvements as well as working on his long-range passing would really take his game to the next level. As it stands, he will need a couple of years before he is ready for pro hockey. His game is reminiscent of Alec Martinez. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill.
General manager David Poile has a long history of looking for defenders early in the draft. In Corson Ceulemans you get the prototype of a Poile draft pick. Ceulemans combines his good size with excellent skating ability. He has a very good first step and a long and powerful stride. This gives him excellent acceleration and top-end speed. Ceulemans is good in both directions. This allows him to cover a lot of ice and is the basis of his two-way game. Ceulemans is an excellent playmaker. He can carry the puck through the neutral zone and creates effective zone entries. On the rush, he has excellent vision and passing skills, head-manning the puck quickly and creating offence with speed. He can avoid attackers on the forecheck and move the puck up the ice.
The Oilers have had plenty of eyes on Sebastian Cossa, seeing as how he plays his junior hockey in their building. Coming in at 6’6″, Cossa has the ideal size that NHL teams are looking for in a modern goalie prospect. He takes advantage of his size and gives shooters little net to look at with his strong positioning. He gets out to the top of the crease and cuts down angles well. He’s not one to get outside of his crease, but given his frame and his ability to stay square to the puck, Cossa doesn’t need to. Cossa has strong legs and good movement. His puck tracking is very good and he gets side-to-side quickly, always being in the right position to challenge the shooter. His legs are strong and he gets up and down in the butterfly quickly.
The Bruins take a winger who plays a gritty game. Bourgault is a pest with scoring ability, a perfect Boston style of winger. His game is defined by his outstanding work ethic. He gets in on the forecheck, pressuring defenders and creating turnovers. He races to loose pucks and battles hard on the boards. Bourgault also gets to the front of the net, where he creates screens, pounces on rebounds, and gets deflections. He also has an excellent array of shots. Bourgault can quickly get off a one-timer, wrist shot or snapshot. His shots feature good power and excellent accuracy. He works to get to the dangerous areas of the ice before letting them go.
The Wild find a running mate for their Calder Trophy Winner Kirill Kaprizov. Chibrikov is a very good playmaker. He has excellent vision and anticipation, reading the play and anticipating the movements of his teammates and opponents. When a scoring opportunity presents itself, he finds his man and gets him the puck. He can pass the puck through tight lanes and can saucer the puck over sticks. With quick hands and good lateral agility, he can make a quick move to open a lane. Chibrikov protects the puck well. He can control the puck in the offensive zone and give his teammates time to get open. He is also good at carrying the puck through the neutral zone and creating effective zone entries. Chibrikov also has an excellent wrist shot with a quick release.
Previous Pick: Jesper Wallstedt
After taking a goalie with his first pick in the LWOS 2021 NHL Mock Draft, Steve Yzerman grabs an excellent two-way centre with a pick acquired from the Capitals at the Trade Deadline. Svechkov is a relatively safe pick, but his upside is questionable. His defensive ability and hockey IQ mean that he’s highly likely to make the NHL. He could play on the penalty kill and against top lines. However, there are questions about Svechkov’s offensive game. He needs work on his shot and also needs to be more patient in the offensive zone. If Svechkov can improve these aspects of his game, he can become a middle-six centre in the NHL. In any event, he needs a couple of years before he is ready to play his style in the NHL. Svechkov’s game is reminiscent of Phillip Danault, but this is a stylistic comparison only.
After an excellent season, the Panthers continue to build their blue line. Svozil has the tools to play a strong offensive game but has not really been productive in the Extraliga. Part of that is lack of opportunity for the teenager but one would also like to see a few more points. Svozil is a smart player who reads the play well and picks the right pass. He can do this in transition, moving the puck to create offensive opportunities. This is true whether it is a quick pass up the boards or a long breakaway play. He can also skate the puck up the ice with strong stickhandling. He protects the puck well and generates successful zone entries.
25.) Columbus Blue Jackets (from Toronto) – Francesco Pinelli, Centre/Left Wing, Kitchener Rangers (OHL) and HDD Jesenice (Slovenia)
Previous Pick: Dylan Guenther
After taking a sniper with the first pick, the Blue Jackets take a centre with the second pick of the first round. Pinelli shows a good all-around offensive game. He is able to push the pace of play and create offensive chances. Pinelli is an excellent passer with very good vision. He reads the play well and moves laterally to create passing lanes. Pinelli gets the puck to his teammates and puts them in positions to create scoring chances. He also moves well to open ice, looking for the give and go. Pinelli shows good stickhandling skills and can carry the puck through the neutral zone as well as control play in the cycle game. However, he sometimes needs to move the puck a little quicker. Pinelli also has an accurate wrist shot with a quick release. He could add more power though.
26.) Minnesota Wild (from Pittsburgh) – Isak Rosen, Left Wing/Right Wing, Leksands, SHL
Previous Pick: Nikita Chibrikov
After taking Chibrikov with their first pick, the Wild would love to get a defender here, but with the way the board has fallen must take the best player available. Rosen is an outstanding skater. His first steps as well as his acceleration are excellent. He is lightning quick and this helps him to be first on loose pucks. His ability to change speeds while moving through the neutral zone can fool defenders and helps him to create odd-man rushes. Rosen pairs his skating with excellent stickhandling. With his ability to make moves at top speed he is very good at moving the puck through the neutral zone and generating effective zone entries. This can help him to create chances off the rush or get set up in the offensive zone. Rosen is a pure sniper. He has an outstanding wrist shot with good accuracy and a quick release.
Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon has said that he wants his team to always take a forward with their first round pick. They do that here, adding a skilled but gritty forward to the prospect pool. If L’Heureux can become a bit more disciplined and improve his speed he can become a top-six winger at the NHL level. He will need a year or two to develop. With his all-around game, he should be an important part of the Mooseheads and Canada’s National Junior team next season. He can be used in all situations, playing on the penalty kill and the power play. With his combination of skill and feistiness, L’Heureux has traits that NHL teams are looking for. Overall, L’Heureux’s game is reminiscent of Brad Marchand. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
With an excellent young defensive core already in place, the Avalanche add a little more depth to their forward group. Bolduc has an excellent wrist shot, snap shot and slap shot. He is accurate and shows good power. His wrist shot and snapshot also feature a decent release but there is a bit of room to improve. Bolduc loves to shoot and will take shots from anywhere on the ice. With his good shot, he can score from the perimeter on junior goalies. That said, he’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas of the ice and can score from inside the home plate area as well. He might even shoot a bit too much, to the detriment of his passing skills and making plays to drive the net at times.
Previous Pick: Luke Hughes
After getting a dynamic offensive defenceman with their first pick, the Devils look to add some scoring punch. Stankoven has an outstanding wrist shot and a very quick release. His shot is powerful and accurate. He also has excellent hands. Stankoven can do a quick toe drag before shooting, leading to a change in release point that drives goalies nuts. A pure goal scorer, he has a real knack for finding open space without the puck. He will sneak in and avoid the defence in the high slot or near the faceoff circles. His one-timer is also very effective. Stankoven can get it off even if the pass isn’t perfect, quickly adjusting his feet and getting into shooting position. He will shoot from anywhere on the ice. Stankoven is also not afraid to drive the net and his quick hands can score in close.
The Golden Knights prospect pool has a number of talented young forwards. At this pick they add another defender to the group. Olsson’s strong two-way game is based on his strong skating ability. He has a good stride in both directions, giving him very good acceleration and top-end speed. He also has a good first step. Olsson’s edgework and agility are also very good. His lateral movement helps him to stay with his man and maintain good gap control in the defensive end of the ice. It also allows him to open up passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone as well as helping him skate with the puck in transition. Olsson’s pivots are crisp and clean. This allows him to transition quickly from defence to offence and vice-versa.
The Canadiens would love to be able to add a right-handed defenceman in this slot, but there just isn’t one worthy of a first-round pick left on the board. Instead, they add offensive talent. Pastujov is a very smart player. He reads the play extremely well and has excellent vision. Pastujov makes smart plays with the puck. He has excellent stickhandling ability and can control the puck in the cycle game. His ability to speed the play up or slow it down buys time for his linemates to get open. When they do, Pastujov is an excellent passer. His quick hands and lateral movement open up passing lanes. Pastujov sets up teammates and creates scoring chances. He is also good at skating the puck through the neutral zone and generating effective zone entries. He is able to drive the play and create strong puck possession.
32.) Columbus Blue Jackets (from Tampa Bay) – Sean Behrens, Left Defence, US National Team Development Program, USHL
Previous Picks: Guenther, Pinelli
After adding forwards with their first two picks, the Blue Jackets address the blue line with the last pick of the first round. Behrens is a good playmaker from the back end. He transitions the puck effectively, with strong stickhandling complimenting his skating skill. This allows him to avoid forecheckers and move the puck out of the zone. He can also lead the rush through the neutral zone and has effective zone entries. When he carries the puck, Behrens loves to take it to the net. He also makes a good first pass. Behrens can head-man the puck to start the transition game. He is also very good at hitting a long breakaway pass when a teammate gets behind the opposition. Behrens uses his vision and passing skill to quarterback the play from the point. He moves well laterally, walking the line to open up passing and shooting lanes.
2021 NHL Mock Draft Main Photo:
SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 06: A closeup view of the draft board during the 2020 National Hockey League (NHL) Draft at the NHL Network Studio on October 06, 2020 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)