2021 NHL Draft Rankings: Final 129-160 (May)

Steve Kournianos  |  5/31/2021  |  [hupso] 

129 Nikolai Makarov LHD 12-Jan-2003 Krasnaya Armiya MHL 6’1 190 L RUS
Makarov is a steady, no-nonsense blueliner with a long, powerful stride who played his way onto the top pairing of Krasnaya Armiya’s deep defense corps and stayed there for most of the regular season. It was surprising to see his minutes reduced in the postseason during a hard-fought series with eventual-champion Dynamo MSK, but Makarov later served as a top-four defender for Russia’s silver-medal-winning entry at last month’s under-18 world championship. A smooth backskater and accurate outlet passer, Makarov is used on the power play for his shooting prowess and he has the accuracy and velocity to consistently generate rebounds.
130 Logan Mailloux RHD 15-Apr-2003 SK-Lejon HockeyEttan 6’3 212 R CAN
A confident two-way defenseman with unlimited potential, Mailloux is one of the draft’s most intriguing prospects for a variety of reasons. The lure of his size-mobility combination is a good starting point, but it’s also rare to find a 6-foot-3 defenseman whose passion for the game is matched by his impressive skill set. Still, there’s a rawness about him that adds a thick layer of risk to the idea of drafting him in the higher rounds. A second-round pick of the OHL’s London Knights in the 2019 draft, Mailloux was one of the top defensmen in Sweden’s HockeyEttan, where he registered 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) in 19 combined games.
131 Alexei Kolosov (OA) G 04-Jan-2002 Dynamo Minsk KHL 6’1 185 L BLR
Kosolov is the top young goalie in Belarus and he recently starred for his country at the IIHF Men’s World Championship. Quick, confident, and technically superior to most teenage netminders, Kolosov was the 22nd pick by the OHL’s Erie Otters in the 2020 CHL Import Draft. He’s already faced adult shooters for several seasons and even became the youngest goalie in Dynamo Minsk history to record a shutout. Kosolov dominates the lower half and explodes to the near post when challenging one-timers. He’s also an active puckhandler.
132 Sean Tschigerl LW 11-Apr-2003 Calgary WHL 6’0 189 L CAN
Tschigerl (pronounced SHI-gal) is a tough 200-foot winger whose aggressive north-south style would be a welcomed addition to any lineup at any level. He had a significant role as a top-liner for Calgary, as his 13 goals in 21 games (including two apiece on the power play and while short-handed) were the most on the squad. He’s more of a complimentary winger who uses his strength effectively and causese mayhem in the tough areas near the net, but his heavy shot and close-quarter stickhandling should not be underestimated. A strong skater with a clean stride and pullaway speed, Tschigerl is a relentless forechecker and tireless penalty killer who starts and stops throughout his shifts while shoulder-checking for slot or backdoor threats. He plays with bite but does so in a disciplined manner.
133 David Gucciardi LHD 09-Oct-2002 Waterloo USHL 6’1 185 L CAN
A one-man breakout with impressive puck skills, Gucciardi is one of the USHL’s smoothest offensive defensemen thanks to his four-way mobility, shot creation, and shot power. He delivers a crisp first pass but follows that up with keen instincts to either join the rush or make himself immediately available for a return feed. A power-play specialist with quarterbacking ability, Gucciardi finished with 20 points (7 goals, 13 assists) in 33 games while bouncing between the middle and bottom pairings.
134 Mikey Milne RW 09-Oct-2002 Winnipeg WHL 6’1 185 L CAN
Milne missed the first half of Winnipeg’s 2020-21 campaign to recover from an offseason upper-body injury, but the speedy winger wasted little time making his presence felt in the Ice’s deep lineup. A late-round bantam pick in 2017, Milne posted 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in 14 games, but what is more significant is that the Ice was 6-4-0 in the games he missed and 12-1-1 in those he appeared in. He has excellent speed and is an inside player who competes hard and can make plays from in tight.
135 Jackson Blake RW 03-Aug-2003 Eden Prairie HS-MN 5’10 158 R USA
Eden Prairie owes a chunk of it’s 2021 Minnesota Class 2A state title to this feisty yet skilled winger, who was dominant in the tournament and even scored the double-overtime winner over Lakeville South in the finale. He also spent chunks of the season with the USHL Chicago Steel, where he was a productive middle-six winger for the eventual league champions. Blake, whose father Jason once was a 40-goal scorer in the NHL, plays the game at an incredibly fast pace and can be both a playmaker and a goal scorer thanks to his ability to create time and space for himself. He can turn a defender inside-out in one-on-one situations and only needs a few strides to reach top speed. Blake will play collegiately at North Dakota.
136 Dmitry Zugan C 23-Nov-2002 Krasnaya Armiya MHL 5’11 176 L RUS
An expert penalty killer who saw a significant increase in production from the season prior, Zugan is a late-2002-born prospect who in 2019-20 appeared for Russia at nearly ever major under-18 event. His role with Krasnaya Armiya exanded significantly this past season, as he was used on the lead power-play unit and never fell below the top six on their depth chart. Zugan is basically a third defenseman in his own end but he has the smarts, hands, and speed to quickly turn an opposing possession into a counterattack. An underrated aspect of Zugan’s game is his playmaking ability, especially in open ice with an advantage in numbers.
137 Carter Mazur (OA) LW 28-Mar-2002 Tri-City USHL 6’0 170 R USA
A top-liner alongside center Hunter Strand, Mazur benefitted from an increase in muscle and quickness to establish a reputation as one of the USHL’s better low-slot threats. The Denver commit also ranked among the league leaders in power-play and short-handed scoring as he helped Tri-City claim the Western Conference’s best record while yielding the second-fewest goals in the USHL. A native of Michigan, Mazur took a significant step forward in his development and displays multiple pro-level traits.
138 Noah Meier LHD 24-Sep-2002 GCK Zurich Swiss League 5’11 172 L SUI
You may recall Meier and his Erik Karlsson-esque mannerisms on Switzerland’s blue line at the under-20 world junior hockey championship, but let’s not get too carried away with the comparison. Nonetheless, Meier is a power-play quarterback and puck rusher who has impressive speed and quickness, and he’s has been charged with running the top Swiss unit with the man advantage at every junior-age tournament he’s participated in. More notable has been his play at the club level, as Meier has held his own playing in the adult-age Swiss League and proving that a physical forecheck doesn’t intimidate him.
139 Matvei Petrov LW 12-Mar-2003 Krylia Sovetov MHL 6’2 178 R RUS
Petrov, who was taken first overall by the OHL’s North Bay Battalion in the 2020 CHL Import Draft, is a soft-mitted dual threat from the flanks who this past season led Krylia Sovetov in both goals (22) and shots (212). A right shot who plays mostly at left wing, Petrov is an offense-first sniper who has a lethal shot-release combination but also keen vision and the confidence to go tape-to-tape across the seam. He was hardly noticeable at the under-18 world championship but that shouldn’t detract from an otherewise strong draft campaign on a thin squad.
140 Vladimir Sychyov LW 17-Mar-2003 SKA-Varyagi MHL 5’11 156 R RUS
An unfortunate end to his season from a lower-body injury in early October hasn’t hurt Sychyov’s (pictured) reputation as an intense competitor and tireless worker who contributes in all three zones. Everyone wants their primary wingers to score with consistency, and Sychyov is more than capable of producing at a high rate. But it’s his play off the puck that really stands out, as Sychyov plays with a visible desire to be the best player on the ice but does so in a selfless manner. He had instant chemistry with center Kirll Tankov and the duo were used together on both the power play and the penalty kill. Sychkov is a bit of a hunched skater but he has an explosive gear and long stride, which when combined with his anticipation and competitiveness allows him to provide constant pressure on either opposing puck carriers or defenders off the rush.
141 Kyle Kukkonen C 13-Nov-2002 Maple Grove HS-MN 5’10 172 R USA
A tough, two-way competitor who was the driving force behind Maple Grove’s aggressive group of forwards, Kukkonen returned from a broken leg that sidlelined him most of last year to lead the Crimson to within a game of Minnesota’s Class 2A state title. Kukkonen, who is committed to Michigan Tech, has all the traits of a natural leader but he backs it up with his scoring proclivity. He’s a quick skater who is dangerous in open ice because of his speed, soft hands, and accurate one-timer.
142 Nick Degrazia LW 03-Dec-2002 Rayside-Balfour NOJHL 6’0 180 L CAN
Acquired by the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves in the 2019 under-18 draft, Degrazia is a jersey-flapping winger who would have had a prominent role with the Wolves had the season not been cancelled. He was able to get in some games with their Rayside-Balfour affiliate in the NOJHL, serving in a top-six role and contributing on both the power play and the penalty kill. DeGrazia also played for Team Canada-East at the 2019 World Junior “A” Challenge, where he recorded a goal and in assist in six games. He’s definitely a long-term project but expect him to fill the net net consistently once the OHL resumes play.
143 Ilya Fedotov LW 19-Mar-2003 Chaika MHL 6’1 176 R RUS
A speedy and crafty dual-threat winger who solidified a top-line spot for the best team in the MHL’s Eastern Conference, Fedotov is a danger to the opposition every time he steps on the ice. He plays with a nonstop motor and anticipates extremely well, which in turn presents him with multiple opportunities per game to isolate defenders and exploit weaknesses in their mobility. Quiet postseason notwithstanding, Fedotov had an excellent draft-year campaign and even showed a physical side when opponents tried to limit his speed and creativity.
144 Daniil Lazutin C 25-Jul-2003 SKA-1946 MHL 6’2 180 L RUS
Once considered a potential first-round pick, Lazutin had an up-and-down season with stretches of uninspired play that hurt his draft stock considerably. It appears to be more of a motivation/consistency issue than a lack of skill or upside, as Lazutin seemed to dial up the intensity and compete level at last month’s under-18 world championship, albeit while in a support role. He’s got size, strength, and an excellent shot, plus he can kill penalties and use his frame for board battles. Every draft usually has a dozen or so players who fit into the late-round “boom or bust” catgeory, and Lazutin easily classifies as one of them.
145 Aku Koskenvuo G 26-Feb-2003 HIFK U20 SM-Sarja 6’4 173 FIN
Koskenvuo is Finland’s top goalie prospect for this draft but is a notch or two below those who were selected in recent years. He certainly did his job on a mediocre HIFK U20 squad which had its season cut in half because of the pandemic. Still, the Harvard University recruit’s .893 save percentage ranked seventh among the 16 SM-Sarja goalies who faced 300 shots or more. And although his numbers were ghastly as Finland’s No. 1 at the under-18 world championship (4.23 GAA, .873 save pct.), Koskenvuo showed enough during his league play to maintain his standing as a potential NHL starter.
146 Cole Huckins C 14-May-2003 Acadie-Bathurst QMJHL 6’3 200 L CAN
A big-bodied center who took an impressive leap forward in his development as the Titan’s second-line center, Huckins has several tools that reveal his potential as a jumbo-sized scoring threat. Both he and fellow Acadie-Bathurst pivot Riley Kidney were selected in the first round of the 2018 QMJHL draft and are the building blocks for the rebuilding Titan. Huckins has the size advantage but he’s also quite nimble for a forward with his measurements. He can rifle a hard accurate shot but can also opt for the playmaking angle thanks to his vision and soft hands. Huckins also provides a physical element and will not back down from a challenge in front of the net or along the boards. There’s still a rawness about him that centers on anticipating and decision making, but Huckins can be effective off the puck and win critical faceoffs to boot. The perfect “project forward” for the later rounds.
147 Philip Granath RW 05-Oct-2002 Frolunda J20 Nationell 5’7 167 R NOR
A diminutive Norwegian puck wizard who spent the first half of the season on Frolunda J20’s top line with NHL draftees Theodor Niederbach and Daniel Torgersson, Granath plays a lot bigger than his listed measurements in the sense that he is unafraid to take the puck into traffic. He can distribute the puck as well as any first-year eligible in the J20 and can knock a defensive scheme off kilter with sharp, rapid manuvers within tight spaces. Granath was one of dozens of Swedish prospects  who after the Nationell shutdown switched over to the HockeyEttan, where he was one of the league’s top junior scorers. He even received a promotion to the SHL for two games.
148 Connor Lockhart RW 21-Jan-2003 Erie OHL 5’9 165 R CAN
Smaller forwards are getting far more love from NHL scouts in today’s draft environment than ever before, but tough, in-your-face competitors like Lockhart are both relevant and important to any team no matter the era. He’s one of the few notable OHL draft prospects to sit out the entire year, but bank on Lockhart to have used his lengthy time off to improve every aspect of his game, even if they weren’t necessary. Speed and quickness are two areas where he’s already performing at a high level.
149 Ethan Straky RHD 18-Apr-2003 U.S. U18 NTDP 5’11 174 R USA
It’s common for the depth defensemen on a loaded program like the NTDP to get lost in the draft-season shuffle, but Straky made the most of his limited minutes on the bottom pairing. From going end-to-end or delivering a crushing check, the Notre Dame recruit made a habit of delivering notable plays each night. He’s a solid penalty killer and his dilligent patrolling of the neutral zone makes it easy for him to make the proper read for a possession change and counter.
150 Petr Moravec C 24-Feb-2003 Litomerice Chance Liga 6’0 181 L CZE
Moravec is a fast dual-threat center who didn’t play a full season but split most of his time between the Czech junior league and the adult-age Chance Liga. The first thing you notice about Moravec is how quick he is, especially when flying off the bench during a change on the fly. Although consistency has been a problem and his decision making with the puck leans more towards risky than safe, defending Moravec while he’s moving in any direction can be a chore. He was quiet at the under-18 worlds and was overshadowed by several of his teammates, but Moravec’s speed and shot-release combination are already at a mature level. He’ll continue to attack the middle of the ice with a ton of confidence even if things aren’t going well for him or his team.
151 Vincent Iorio RHD 14-Nov-2002 Brandon WHL 6’3 191 R CAN
The hype says that Iorio is a potential No. 2 or No. 3 defenseman at the NHL level, but a deeper study into his game reveals a somewhat limited blueliner who is far more effective when things are simplified to breakout passes on the puck and zone-entry defense without it. His shot totals (53 in 22 games) were acceptable for a third-year defender but only five of his 12 points came away from the power play. Playing on a loaded team has certainly helped Iorio gain exposure but the young defender definitely delivered with a good wire-to-wire season. Teams should consider a deliberate timeline for his development but his size-strength combination is intriguing for teams needing help defending the low slot.
152 Artyom Kolganov LHD 10-Feb-2003 SKA-Varyagi MHL 6’3 187 L RUS
Although SKA-Varyagi will always be considered the farm system for the more powerful SKA-1946 program, that doesn’t mean they are incable of icing a competitive lineup. Kolganov as their top-pairing defenseman had a lot to do with that, as he logged big minutes and was used on both the power play and penalty kill. He isn’t much for point production or shot generation (2 goals, 4 assists, and 21 shots in 46 games), but Kolganov is a “warrior” type who can smother the speedy playmakers, disrupt seam passes, and keep the low slot clear of any major threats. He had a slow start to his season but really turned it on in the second half.
153 Elias Stenman C 23-Dec-2002 Skelleftea J20 Nationell 5’10 165 L SWE
Stenman is a quick two-way playmaker who centered potential first-rounder Simon Robertsson, although he didn’t seem get enough recognition for being one of Skelleftea J20’s top players. His late birthday also hindered him from being showcased at a major tournament, but this kid is a hard worker who delivers a solid effort for every team he’s played for, including SK-Lejon in Sweden’s HockeyEttan, where he posted 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 12 games. Stenman is a pure set-up man with sure hands who can receive and handle the puck cleanly before making accurately deliveries while moving at top speed. He passes up shots like mad but there seems to be a method to his madness as he makes it a point to consistently incorporate the entire unit into a possession.
154 Simon Becar LHD 16-Apr-2003 Slovakia U18 1HL 6’0 168 L SVK
A promising puck mover with a strict adherence to slot coverage and one-on-one play, Becar displays quick feet and and active stick to deny forwards the inside and limit them to mosty low-percentage attempts. Although his confidence with the puck was more prominent in league play than it was for Slovakia at the under-20 world juniors, Becar is more effective with a shortened leash and simple outlets before actively patrolling the neutral zone.
155 Manix Landry C 23-Nov-2002 Gatineau QMJHL 5’11 178 L CAN
A do-it-all player who is strong in all three zones, Landry wasn’t that high of a QMJHL draft pick (Round 3 in 2018) but he quickly established himself as one of Gatineau’s cornerstone players and on-ice leaders. He finished his season on a high note with points in 11 of his final 14 games (6 goals, 10 assists) while playing on the same line as heralded 2021 draft prospect Zachary Dean. Landry has soft hands and is a reliable puckhandler, but he also has a high motor and an off-the-puck game that is both effective and structured.
156 Joe Palodichuk LHD 26-Feb-2003 Hill-Murray HS-MN 5’11 154 L USA
Palodichuk was one of the top defensemen in the state in 2020-21 after he spent the previous season as a forward on Hill-Murray’s title-winning squad. Committed to Wisconsin, Palodichuk can be a physical presence on the blue line but also controls the flow of possessions with sure hands and quick feet. He led the Pioneers in scoring last season and was a Mr. Hockey finalist.
157 Nikolai Hakala C 11-Jul-2003 Ilves U20 SM-Sarja 6’6 218 L FIN
Hakala centered Ilves U20’s “kid” line while being flanked by wingers Jakub Kos and Joona Korhonen, but it was the 6-foot-6 pivot who handled most of the checking duties while assisting his defensemen in the low slot and corners. He’s a powerful skater whose mechanics look clean for a forward his size, and Hakala showed his versatility by killing penalties and serving as a net-front presence on the power play. Hakala was one of the top scorers on the team but most of his damage was done in the trenches.
158 Ryan St. Louis LW 13-Jun-2003 U.S. U18 NTDP 5’10 168 L USA
This year’s NTDP was hammered by injuries, but the tough and selfless St. Louis was one of only five players to appear in all 50 games. He has the creativity, vision, and playmaking ability to produce points on a consistent basis, but he served his coaching staff well by providing consistent two-way play and killing penalties while being used in a middle-six role. St. Louis is committed to Northeastern and he’ll likely stay there at least three years to bulk up and improve his balance. Much like his father Martin, Ryan is a kid who is easy to root for.
159 Joey Pierce RHD 02-Oct-2002 Hermantown HS-MN 6’0 196 R USA
A brawny defender with a heavy shot who was critical in Hermantown’s run that nearly resulted in the 2020 Class 1A title, Pierce never got the chance for redemption after the varsity squad was forced to quarantine for this year’s tournament. Nevertheless, the Minnesota-Duluth recruit spent the remainder of the season with the NAHL’s Minnesota Wilderness, where he was on the top pairing with playmaker Grant Docter. There’s a significant intimidation factor that can be applied with Pierce is on the ice as he’s know to deliver big hits, but he’s also played forward and had set plays designed for him to use his hard shot.
160 Lukas Pajer RW 04-Jul-2003 Litomerice Chance Liga 5’10 181 R CZE
Pajer is a quick and energetic winger who carried over his strong play with Litomerice of the adult-age Chance Liga into the recent under-18 world championship. He doesn’t have a boat load of noticeable skill or creativity, but Pajer uses his speed and high motor to consistently apply pressure both on or off the puck. Pajer’s the kind of player who will consistently provide hustle to beat out an icing; use both physicality and lateral quickness on the forecheck; and head to the net-front area to establish a screen. He does own a plus shot and likes to set up in the left circle for one-timers.
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