While scouting opportunities have been rather limited so far, preparations for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft must go on. Accordingly, the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau released its Players to Watch list with 341 prospects listed in total. A total of 31 players were ranked as ‘A’ (first round) grades with the rest checking in at ‘B’ (second or third round) or ‘C’ (fourth round and beyond).
While Alexis Lafreniere was the widely-anticipated top pick heading into last season, there isn’t a consensus number one choice just yet. Defensemen Owen Power (Michigan, NCAA), Luke Hughes (US NDTP), and Brandt Clarke (Barrie, OHL) along with centers Aatu Raty (Karpat, SM-liiga) plus Kent Johnson (Trail, BCHL) and winger Dylan Guenther (Edmonton, WHL) are all among those who figure to be within the top-10 with some contending for the top spot.
More from around the hockey world:
- It appears that former Florida GM Dale Tallon may not be out of a job for long. Rob Rossi of The Athletic reports (subscription link) that the 70-year-old has emerged as a candidate to join the front office in Pittsburgh. The Penguins made a move yesterday with the firing of Jason Karmanos and it’s possible that they could turn to Tallon to take his place, albeit likely in a role other than assistant GM.
- The OHL is expected to announce their revised plans to start the 2020-21 season on Wednesday. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports (Twitter link) that the league is now targeting a February 4th start date with training camps beginning on January 25th. With the regular season needing to be extended well past its usual March finish date, Dreger also notes that a reduced playoff field of eight teams is expected to be announced as well. This is a significant difference compared to the other major junior leagues as the QMJHL has already started their season (though most divisions have been shut down temporarily) and the WHL is targeting January 8th to get things underway.
- Cameron Crotty’s professional career was supposed to begin in Arizona’s system but he’ll have a detour in Norway first instead. Sparta Sarpsborg of the Eliteserien announced that they’ve added the defenseman on a loan agreement although he has yet to make it over there so it will be a little while before he debuts. The 21-year-old opted to turn pro with the Coyotes after spending three years at Boston University where Crotty had 10 goals and 17 over that span.