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Who is first in the general classification of the repechage? (@AleCimini)
There is no easy answer to this question. If you thought last year’s virtual draft was weird, this one will be even weirder.
There was no easy way to spot the players eligible for the draft this year. The number of matches played by each player was different and many had to join teams in Europe. The Canadian Hockey League had no uniformity in its leagues. The Western Hockey League organized part of its season before closing it due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Hockey League canceled its season all together and the Major Junior Hockey League of Quebec (QMJHL) played a full game.
In the United States, the USHL and the United States National Team Development Program completed a season, but one of the top Americans in the 2021 draft, defenseman Luke Hughes, was lost to injury. in March, undergoing surgery for a lacerated tendon in her foot. .
OHL children have been to Europe, but many European scouts employed by teams have been sent home during the pandemic and cannot return due to various border closures and restrictions. Team scouts ended up with grainy video footage of 17-year-olds in Slovakia or Slovenia, which leaves a lot to be desired. They couldn’t see how they were playing with the puck, their behavior on the bench or their practice habits.
The recent IIHF U18 World Championship gave scouts the opportunity to see many of the youngsters in this class to come, with the exception of the QMJHL players, and many came away somewhat disappointed. The stars of the tournament were Wright (Canada), Bedard (Canada) and Matvei Michkov (Russia), but all three players are minors.
Is Canada’s Brandt Clarke the best defenseman in the draft? Maybe, but it’s hard to determine without Hughes playing in the tournament. Did US forward Sasha Pastujov do enough to justify a first-round pick? Again, maybe. Has Canadian forward Logan Stankoven shown his 5’8 ” stature won’t limit him? It’s possible.
But here’s who I think goes first: Owen Power of Michigan.
The rare draft-eligible player to spend the season playing college hockey, the Tower of Power is a 6’5 “defenseman who was too old to play in the U18 tournament and didn’t want to play in the U20 bubble, so the Mississaugua native plays for the Canadian senior team at the IIHF World Championship in Latvia.
This is his last and best chance to impress scouts, but here’s what they already love about him: He’s an excellent skater who moves well with deceptively quick speeds for a player his size, he has good Offensive awareness, strong passing abilities and his defensive sense and control of the gap are advanced for a player his age. Defense is usually the last part of an upcoming prospect’s game, but Power’s instincts are already developed.
There are questions about Power that remain, like why he relies on a half-developed shot instead of a strong wringer, but there are fewer questions with Power than with the others.