The 2021 NHL Draft, tentatively scheduled for July, will be one of the most unique in the history of the league. There have been a number of challenges for players, teams, coaches, and scouts alike. That’s not to say the work stopped for any of those people despite the constant stop-and-starts of the QMJHL or the recent start to the WHL season. The European leagues have, for the most part, played quite a bit of their typical season and despite the J20 Nationell ending their year early, many players played at the SHL or Allsvenskan level, with some even moving to the third tier league in Sweden, HockeyEttan. Brandt Clarke, noted Canadian, went to the Slovakian league to start his year and get some games under his belt while Brennan Othmann and more recently Mason McTavish went to Switzerland. Players are figuring out how to put themselves in a situation to at least get their skates moving.
This clearly isn’t a perfect situation. Everyone is dealing with different challenges and obstacles. It’s exasperated by the fact that the 2021 NHL Draft class is so wide open at the top and the variance in rankings has been larger than most years. The depth of this draft isn’t what we’ve seen over recent years either. The pandemic certainly plays a role but the class itself has a lot of players who have a wide variance of outcomes. Many of the players with high-end skill also have major holes in their game and the players without a massive hole don’t have nearly the ceiling of others. It’s going to be a fun class to continue to track.
We have been lucky enough to partner with InStat Hockey to help scout and evaluate players from all over the world in a year where getting into the rink isn’t possible in many cases. InStat Hockey offers a wealth of team and player data and an incredible database of video. They are the elite of the elite when it comes to aiding in player development, scouting, and analysis. For any team or organization looking for a way to get an edge, InStat should be part of your plan.
The team has watched hours and hours of video, engaged in discourse, discussion and debate all in preparation for this Top-100 NHL Draft Ranking. We sat through a four-hour meeting and then discussed and debated more afterward as well. To say that the work and analysis that went into these rankings was exhaustive wouldn’t be an understatement. The DobberProspects Scouting team has been one of the hardest working groups I’ve ever worked with and they all deserve so much credit for what they’ve been able to do through a challenging and unique year.
You can get a peek into the process by listening to th