The 2021 NHL draft is just days away, so it's time to look at the top prospects available in this year's class.
The Tampa Bay Lightning just wrapped up their second straight Stanley Cup championship, but attention now turns to the offseason. First up is the Seattle Kraken expansion draft on July 21. Then we'll have the entry draft, which will be held virtually on July 23 (Round 1) and July 24 (Rounds 2-7). Round 1 will be broadcast on ESPN2, while Rounds 2-7 will be broadcast by the NHL Network.
There is a lot of uncertainty with this year's class due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which shortened the seasons for many leagues; in the case of the Ontario Hockey League, it wiped the season out completely. As a result, there will likely be some widely varied opinions on a number of players, so be prepared for some surprises early on in the selection process.
Here is the final ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2021 NHL draft class, from Owen Power on down.
Note: Heights and weights are from NHL Central Scouting. Ages are as of July 16.
1. Owen Power, D, Michigan (Big Ten)
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 213 | Shot: L
By general consensus the cream of this year's draft crop, Power is both massive and can move extremely well. That combination in a player doesn't present itself too often. By no means the most graceful skater, the Mississauga, Ont. native still gets around at a high pace, thanks to his powerful strides. A solid two-way defenseman, Power can both contribute to the scoresheet and help keep his own net empty, as made evident by his recent appearance at the IIHF senior men's world championship. He controls and passes the puck well and has a dangerous shot.
Then there's the reach -- effective in stripping opponents -- that naturally accompanies his large frame. Heightened maturity and on-ice hockey IQ only enhances the defender's more obvious attributes. Power makes good choices on the fly, far more often than not. Once he learns to truly unleash all that his physical makeup has to offer, look out. The current Wolverine is a top-pair NHL defenseman in the making. Probably soon.