Welcome back to The Journey, where we follow hockey prospects and their paths to the NHL, providing Fantasy predictions and analysis along the way.
The 2021 NHL Draft has now come and gone, and teams were able to add a good number of promising prospects to their organization, which warrants a review and comparison of each team's pipeline in order to determine which organization has set itself up for the brightest future. In these power rankings, I will focus on upside rather than NHL certainty, and teams possessing more star potential in their system will be rewarded with higher spots.
To be considered an NHL prospect, a player must match the following two criteria:
- Is 22 years old or younger (25 for goaltenders)
- Has not played more than 41 NHL games
In the case of the newly-founded Seattle Kraken, who only have one draft year under their belt, they will be added near the bottom of the list until Matthew Beniers can prove that he single-handedly compensates for the lack of quantity in the Kraken's system with his quality as a player.
- Los Angeles Kings
Another impressive draft for the Los Angeles Kings, despite having traded their fourth- to seventh-rounders away. This comes after their excellent 2020 selections, which included Quinton Byfield, Helge Grans, Brock Faber and Kasper Simontaival, among others.
With their first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, the Kings opted for right-handed defenseman Brandt Clarke at 8th overall, and then picked a gem in Francesco Pinelli at 42nd as he fell into their laps. Pinelli adds to an already-overflowing pool of talent at forward, which also includes star prospects such as Alex Turcotte, Arthur Kaliyev, Ga