2021 NHL draft: Pick tracker and analysis for every team
NHL 

The 2021 NHL draft is here, and we’re tracking all 224 picks over two days and seven rounds, starting with the Buffalo Sabres’ selection at No. 1 overall of Owen Power. Follow along live Friday and Saturday for each selection. Plus, Greg Wyshynski will take a closer look at how each first-rounder fits with his new team.

This year’s class of prospects comes with little consensus when it comes to rankings and evaluations, thanks to uneven — or nonexistent — seasons for many junior, collegiate and/or international leagues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But the group is extremely talented, with numerous future impact players at the NHL level.

Following the Sabres in Round 1 were the Seattle Kraken, who just completed their full expansion draft and then made their first ever draft pick at No. 2 overall (Matthew Beniers). A handful of teams are also set to make multiple first-round picks on Friday.

Here are the 2021 NHL draft picks as they happen, along with instant analysis on every Round 1 selection. Watch the first-round picks roll in live on Friday night on ESPN2. Rounds 2-7 will continue on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. ET (NHL Network).

ROUND 1

1. Buffalo Sabres: Owen Power, D

Team: Michigan (Big Ten)
Ranking: 1 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 213 | Shot: L
Stats: 26 GP, 3 G, 13 A

How he fits: It’s not often that a team gets the first overall pick in the draft in two out of four seasons. It’s also not often that a team uses those two No. 1 picks to then select defensemen, but that’s how the draft classes have worked out for the Sabres. Rasmus Dahlin, No. 1 overall in 2018, hasn’t quite leveled up to franchise defenseman status yet, but he’s only 21 years old. Now Power joins him as another left-side defenseman who Buffalo can build around in the next decade — perhaps using the pieces it gets for an eventual Jack Eichel trade, for example. — Wyshynski

2. Seattle Kraken: Matthew Beniers, C

Team: Michigan (Big Ten)
Ranking: 3 | Nationality: USA
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 175 | Shot: L
Stats: 24 GP, 10 G, 14 A

How he fits: Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol told me that his general manager, Ron Francis, wanted to acquire players who reminded the Hall of Famer of the way he played. Well, he just drafted a two-way center with great skating ability, dynamic offense and a “leads-by-example” work ethic, which should be familiar to Francis. Beniers is a great building block for the NHL’s newest franchise. He fancied Patrice Bergeron growing up, but Beniers may end up becoming the Kraken’s own version of Jonathan Toews one day. — Wyshynski

3. Anaheim Ducks: Mason McTavish, C

Team: Peterborough (OHL)
Ranking: 9 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 207 | Shot: L

How he fits: As the Ryan Getzlaf era fades into memory, the Ducks get themselves another talented center who plays a power game. McTavish’s stock shot up the draft board in the past few weeks, and you can see why: He has an NHL shot, plays strong and has drawn comparisons to Ryan O’Reilly. Anaheim has a solid foundation building with forward Trevor Zegras, defenseman Jamie Drysdale and now McTavish. — Wyshynski

4. New Jersey Devils: Luke Hughes, D

Team: USA U-18 (NTDP)
Ranking: 5 | Nationality: USA
Age: 17 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 184 | Shot: L
Stats: 38 GP, 6 G, 28 A

How he fits: Obviously, the master plan is to collect two Hughes brothers in the hopes that they magnetically attract Quinn Hughes to join the Devils at some point. Just kidding … maybe. Luke Hughes may not have the offensive dynamism that Quinn Hughes does, but his solid two-way game will be an asset to the Devils as he joins Ty Smith among the next-wave defensemen. And if all else fails, the team has a heck of a marketing hook with the Brothers Hughes — and a happy star in Jack Hughes, which is always a good thing. — Wyshynski

5. Columbus Blue Jackets: Kent Johnson, C

Team: Michigan (Big Ten)
Ranking: 7 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 167 | Shot: L
Stats: 26 GP, 9 G, 18 A

How he fits: The Blue Jackets have chased a franchise center for years. They thought they had ones in Ryan Johansen and Pierre-Luc Dubois, before trading both. Now comes Johnson, a late-bloomer who had an absolutely tremendous, highlight-generating freshman season at Michigan. One issue: He might be better on the wing, where many draft analysts believe he’ll put up huge numbers in the NHL. Wherever he plays, he’ll be an elite playmaker. — Wyshynski

6. Detroit Red Wings: Simon Edvinsson, D

Team: Frolunda Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
Ranking: 8 | Nationality: SWE
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 198 | Shot: L
Stats: 14 GP, 1 G, 5 A

How he fits: Talented Swede joins the Red Wings. In other news, water remains wet. Edvinsson gives Detroit a player many feel projects to be a franchise blueliner. The Red Wings now have a foundational 6-foot-5 defenseman on the left side to join their foundational 6-foot-4 defenseman on the right side in Moritz Seider. Hey, the Red Wings know from trying to build from the Swedish defensemen out. Ask Steve Yzerman. — Wyshynski

7. San Jose Sharks: William Eklund, LW

Team: Djurgarden (Sweden)
Ranking: 2 | Nationality: SWE
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 176 | Shot: L
Stats: 40 GP, 11 G, 12 A

How he fits: This is the first top-10 pick the Sharks have had since taking Timo Meier at No. 9 overall in 2015. Eklund gives the Sharks a silky smooth offensive player who also takes care of business at the other end of the rink. The Sharks don’t exactly have a robust prospect pool and don’t have anyone at the forward spot at the caliber of Eklund. — Wyshynski

8. Los Angeles Kings: Brandt Clarke, D

Team: Barrie (OHL)
Ranking: 6 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 185 | Shot: R

How he fits: Clarke joins arguably the deepest prospect pool in the NHL with the Kings. But as deep as that pool is, it has more big fish at center and wing than on the blue line. Given that need, and GM Rob Blake’s legacy as a Hall of Fame defenseman, this was one of the draft’s most predictable picks. Given his hockey sense and offensive awareness, there have already been comparisons for Clarke to the kind of impact Adam Fox has had early in his NHL career with the Rangers. Fox just won the Norris Trophy. No pressure, Brandt. — Wyshynski

9. Arizona Coyotes: Dylan Guenther, RW

Team: Edmonton (WHL)
Ranking: 4 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 175 | Shot: R
Stats: 12 GP, 12 G, 12 A

How he fits: The Coyotes started the day without a first-round pick, having had to forfeit it (No. 11) because they violated the NHL’s scouting combine testing rules. Then the Canucks sent the ninth overall pick to Arizona in the trade that sent Oliver Ekman-Larsson to Vancouver, and now we can officially include Guenther as part of the bounty Arizona received in that deal. He was projected by many to go as high as No. 3 overall to the Ducks. He drops here to the Coyotes, who get the kind of goal-scorer their prospect pipeline lacks. His shot is great, but his ability to find spaces to get that shot off is equally impressive. — Wyshynski

10. Ottawa Senators: Tyler Boucher, RW

Team: USA U-18 (NTDP)
Ranking: 40 | Nationality: USA
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 205 | Shot: R
Stats: 12 GP, 6 G, 5 A

11. Arizona Coyotes: Forfeited

The Coyotes were forced to surrender their 2021 first-round pick at No. 11 overall after violating the NHL’s rules on pre-combine testing.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets: Cole Sillinger, C

Team: Sioux Falls (USHL)
Ranking: 12 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 197 | Shot: L
Stats: 31 GP, 24 G, 22 A

13. Calgary Flames

2020-21 record: 26-27-3

14. Buffalo Sabres (via PHI)

2020-21 record: 15-34-7

15. Dallas Stars

2020-21 record: 23-19-14

16. New York Rangers

2020-21 record: 27-23-6

17. St. Louis Blues

2020-21 record: 27-20-9

18. Winnipeg Jets

2020-21 record: 30-23-3

19. Nashville Predators

2020-21 record: 31-23-2

20. Edmonton Oilers

2020-21 record: 35-19-2

21. Boston Bruins

2020-21 record: 33-16-7

22. Minnesota Wild

2020-21 record: 35-16-5

23. Detroit Red Wings (via WSH)

2020-21 record: 19-27-10

24. Florida Panthers

2020-21 record: 37-14-5

25. Columbus Blue Jackets (via TOR)

2020-21 record: 18-26-12

26. Minnesota Wild (via PIT)

2020-21 record: 35-16-5

27. Carolina Hurricanes

2020-21 record: 36-12-8

28. Colorado Avalanche

2020-21 record: 39-13-4

29. New Jersey Devils (via NYI)

2020-21 record: 19-30-7

30. Vegas Golden Knights

2020-21 record: 40-14-2

31. Montreal Canadiens

2020-21 record: 24-21-11

32. Chicago Blackhawks (via CBJ/TB)

2020-21 record: 24-25-7

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