Blackhawks: What’s the plan for the 2021 NHL Draft?

By Joseph Felicelli
Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jesper Wallstedt
EDMONTON, AB – DECEMBER 26: Goaltender Jesper Wallstedt #1 of Sweden skates against the Czech Republic during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 26, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

There are now officially 32 teams in the NHL, with the Seattle Kraken joining the league, and about to make their Expansion Draft Selections. That means 32 General Managers, 32 Scouting Staffs, 32 Player Development Departments, and 32 Coaching Staffs all evaluating this group of prospects, in a season unlike any in recent memory.

You can be sure there are a lot of varying opinions out there. Just taking one of my favorite prospects in the draft, Goalie Jesper Wallstedt of the SHL, the opinions are wide-ranging. There are some who project him as a better prospect than Spencer Knight (2019 13th overall to the Panthers) or Yaroslav Askarov (2020 11th overall to the Predators), and others that think he will end up as an average goaltender in the NHL.

These types of variances in how a prospect is viewed can occur due to the system a particular team runs, scouting resources in the region, or even personal interactions with the prospect. With considerably less access to the prospects, these variances could be wide-ranging, and larger than normal.

So with all of these struggles in evaluating and ranking a draft class, how will teams approach the draft?