The 2021 draft class was highly impacted by COVID-19, preventing some high-quality talent from getting noticed. With a return to (somewhat) normalcy this year, some overlooked prospects used it as an opportunity to make up for lost time. Watch out for these 10 outside our top 100 list from Draft Preview:
Tucker Robertson, RW, Peterborough (OHL)
No other draft-eligible player had more goals in the OHL than his 41. He was lost in the shuffle of the COVID-19 shutdown. He won’t go unclaimed this time.
Amadeus Lombardi, C, Flint (OHL)
Lombardi had a solid OHL rookie season, making a name for himself as a smart playmaker who can create scoring chances in close. He’d be a nice project for a team willing to be patient with him.
Kyle Jackson, LW, North Bay (OHL)
With good size, a good shot and good overall offensive instincts, Jackson might not need to wait too long to hear his name called after a great year with the Battalion.
Braden Holt, G, Everett (WHL)
Holt had a strong season as a first-time starter in the WHL, but his size (6-foot-1, 161 pounds) might be an issue. Still, he could be a diamond in the rough later in the draft.
Ian Blomquist, G, Vasteras Jr. (Swe)
A promising under-20 top-flight debut, aided by good size for a goaltender, makes Blomquist someone teams could take a flyer on later in the draft as a decent project.
Mikey Milne, LW, Winnipeg (WHL)
The team that selects Milne, one of the hardest-working wingers in the WHL, is getting an energetic forward who does whatever it takes to force turnovers and win puck battles.
David Gucciardi, D, Michigan State (big Ten)
A good college freshman season helped put Gucciardi on the board. A bit of a slow riser, but he’s peaking at the right time.
James Hardie, LW, Mississauga (OHL)
Tied Robertson with 41 goals, Hardie didn’t miss a beat from a high-scoring sophomore campaign. There are concerns about his defensive play, but he’s worth a late-round look.
Graham Sward, D, Spokane (WHL)
A mobile defenseman with decent size, Sward plays a tough, physical game and projects to be more of a shutdown blueliner.
Nikita Grebenkin, RW, Magnitogorsk Jr. (Rus)
The Russian winger took his game to new heights this season, showing just how good his stickhandling can be. His defensive game isn’t great, but there’s skill there.