Future NHL stars? 18 Rookie Signers from the 2021 Draft
The NHL junior draft took place almost a month ago. The fate of Owen Power’s number one is still unclear – the player said he could spend another season in the student league. However, 18 players selected at the same fair have already signed rookie contracts with the clubs that drafted them. Will any of them become an NHL star in the future?
- Danila Klimovich (Vancouver)
- Zachary L’Eroux (Nashville)
- Oscar Olausson (Colorado)
- Fabian Lucelle (Boston)
- Brandt Clark, Samuel Helenius (Los Angeles)
- Brennan Othman (Rangers)
- Stanislav Svozil (Columbus)
- Sasha Pastukhov, Olen Zellweger, Mason McTavish (Anaheim)
- Janis Moser (Arizona)
- Samu Tuomaala (Philadelphia)
- Aatu Ryatu (Islanders)
- William Eklund (San Jose)
- Sebastian Cossa (Detroit)
- Alexi Heimosalmi, Ville Koivunen (“Carolina”)
- Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg)
Danila Klimovich (Vancouver)
Danila became the first of three Belarusian players selected in the last draft, as well as the first of all the graduates of the recent fair, who signed a rookie contract with an NHL club. It will be difficult for the 18-year-old right-handed striker, who flashed at the YUCHM-2021 and even managed to perform at the adult world championship, in the very first year to break into the base of Vancouver, who chose Klimovich under the overall number 41, but he has all the makings, to gain a foothold in the NHL in the near future.
Zachary L’Eroux (Nashville)
In the first round, together with Fyodor Svechkov, Nashville’s eyes fell on Canadian striker Zachary L’Eru, who was selected at number 27. This forward did not defend the colors of his national team at the junior world championships, but in the Quebec league, where he plays for Halifax, he is famous for his ability not only to score points, but also to wage a power struggle, which, despite his height of 180 cm, allows him to push through defenders on the way to the gate. Unsurprisingly, Brad Marchand and Matthew Tkachuk are his role models.
Oscar Olausson (Colorado)
Last season, Oscar, chosen by Colorado immediately after L’Euro, made his debut in adult hockey, playing 18 matches and gaining four points with XB71. At the youth level in the Swedish League, he, of course, was much more effective, but at the international level he has not yet shown himself, having played four matches without points at the MFM-2021.
Nevertheless, the scouts note Olausson’s excellent maneuverability and variability in attack, and where, if not in Colorado, they know how to develop such players.
Fabian Lucelle (Boston)
Boston spent their first round pick on Olausson’s compatriot Fabian Lucell, who tied Sweden’s top scorer at the recent JWC with Isak Rosen, number 14 at Buffalo.
The strengths of Lucell, such as skating and the ability to make decisions at high speed, were felt by the juniors from Belarus, who conceded one of the most beautiful goals of that championship from an 18-year-old Swede.
Brandt Clark, Samuel Helenius (Los Angeles)
Los Angeles, which has a good list of promising forwards, have chosen a defender at number eight who could be an excellent replacement for Drew Doughty in the future. Brandt Clarke is also focused on attack, and his ability to advance the puck and create chances for partners was highly praised before the draft, predicting an early choice for him.
Since the “kings” are currently lacking high-quality defense players, it is quite possible that very soon Brandt, like another Kings Avenue, Tobias Björnfot, will take a place in the top six defenders.
Samuel, chosen at number 59, is the son of defender Sami Helenius, who managed to play for several NHL teams, and from his father, the young striker adopted a combative character and the ability to impose power struggles, which makes Helenius Jr. a good two-way forward.
Brennan Othman (Rangers)
Despite the fact that Othman was chosen quite high (16th number), I believe that we will not see him at the base of the Rangers soon enough.
The creative sections of New Yorkers are now packed to capacity, and for the restraining Brennan simply does not fit the type.
The strengths of the Canadian are the ability to break away from the opponent at speed, as well as an accurate wrist throw. It is very likely that Othman will develop his skills outside the NHL in the next couple of years.
Stanislav Svozil (Columbus)
For some reason, the Blue Jackets didn’t choose Swedish defender Simon Edvinsson, who could potentially become a direct replacement for Seth Jones, as No. 5, but Czech defensive player Stanislav Svozil was drafted in the third round, more specialized in containment.
This year Stanislav, an excellent one-on-one player, managed to appear at both the junior and youth world championships, where he played five matches. At home, Svozil has been playing at the adult level for two years, so his path to the NHL may not turn out so long.
Sasha Pastukhov, Olen Zellweger, Mason McTavish (Anaheim)
Anaheim have failed three seasons in a row, so the team is intensively preparing players who in the future will make the Ducks stable participants in the playoffs. In the last championship, Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale debuted at the base, highly selected in the 2019 and 2020 drafts, and soon they may be joined by the world junior champions with the Canadian national team Mason McTavish (3rd pick) and Olen Zellweger (34 1st choice), as well as an American with Russian roots Sasha Pastukhov (66th choice), who was predicted by many experts to be in the first round.
We’ll probably see all three during the preseason matches, but it is also possible that during the season, each of them will get a chance in the main team.
Janis Moser (Arizona)
The oldest participant in the last draft (at the beginning of June, Moser turned 21), selected under the 60th number, is described by the scouts as an excellent defender, but last season Janis, who was the captain of the Swiss “Biel”, showed excellent performance, gaining 30 points in 50 matches.
Such a versatile player will clearly come in handy for Arizona, which is experiencing problems with the defensive corps, and it is possible that Moser will immediately win a place in the starting line.
Samu Tuomaala (Philadelphia)
The striker, who became the top scorer of the Finnish national team at the YUCHM-2021, was selected by Philadelphia at number 46. Samu’s dimensions are not so big – 178 cm tall and 80 kg weight – however, they can be offset by the player’s high speed and his excellent wrist throw, which is a threat from almost any position.
Aatu Ryatu (Islanders)
Aatu was considered by the central scouting bureau of the NHL as one of the best outfield players among Europeans, but he had to wait until the middle of the second round, when the Islanders took him under the 52nd number. It’s not clear why the clubs ignored Ryatya in the first round, but now he will have the opportunity to prove that the Islanders were lucky to pick him in the second half of the hundred.
William Eklund (San Jose)
The Swedish striker could have left the draft earlier, but only under the seventh number went to San Jose. It is likely that in the new season we will see William in the main team of “sharks”. Small dimensions (178 cm and 78 kg) did not prevent him from holding an excellent championship for the senior team “Djurgorden”, where at 18 he became one of the best snipers in the team.
Eklund, who plays a problematic left forward position for the Sharks (although today any position in San Jose’s attack can be called problematic), has excellent vision and quick thinking, so his ability to create a game will be very useful for the sharks …
Sebastian Cossa (Detroit)
For Sebastian’s sake, Detroit traded with Dallas the first and second round picks. With his help, the “wings” want to permanently resolve the issue of the goalkeeper’s position. So far, there is a good tandem Nedelkovich-Griss at the base, but two years later, Kossa, who left the draft at number 15, may have good chances to take at least a backup place.
Alexi Heimosalmi, Ville Koivunen (“Carolina”)
In the second round, Carolina picked three whole times, and two of the picks – 44th and 51st – were spent on Finnish players. Defender Heimosalmi and striker Koivunen were the leaders of their national team at the last Junior World Cup, where the Finns met twice with the Russian team: it was from the pass that Alexi Ville hit the gate of Sergei Ivanov in the group stage.
Even though the Suomi national team did not get to the medals, both players had an excellent tournament: Koivunen entered the top ten scorers of the championship, gaining 10 points, and Heimosalmi was recognized as the best defender. It is very possible that in the future there will be two more high-class Finns in Carolina.
Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg)
Two of the three Belarusians selected in the 2021 draft have signed their first contracts in the NHL. Following Danila Klimovich, defender Dmitry Kuzmin, selected under 82nd number by Winnipeg, is sent to North America.
The Jets will have an excellent attacking defender who is also a specialist in lacrosse goals! Perhaps in a few years Dmitry will try to compete with Andrei Svechnikov and pull off such a trick already in the strongest league in the world.