NHL Entry Draft 2021

The EliteProspects Rinkside post-U18 2021 NHL Draft Ranking

Having served up a pre-U18 2021 NHL Draft ranking, we thought it prudent to follow suit with a board that's 64 players deep to mark the passing of that occasion. It's just that time of year.

There's some significant change at the top of our board. Matthew Beniers has supplanted his University of Michigan teammate Owen Power (and then some) by jumping from second overall to the top spot on the EliteProspects draft board. Power has descended from the pole position to outside of the podium entirely. William Eklund has ascended to second overall, and Brandt Clarke rounds out the top-three with a strong U18 performance moving him one spot up the board.

Meanwhile, Dylan Guenther's tumble from fifth overall to ninth helped pave the way for Mason McTavish's ascent to the fifth overall position. Depending on the findings of our crossover work between now and our final ranking, McTavish might not be done moving yet. The more eyes we get on the prospect, the more confident we are in the player and our evaluation.

It's a bit late for so seismic a shift at the height of our board, and that's a fact that isn't lost on anyone in our ranks. So, allow me to show you our work here.

We wanted to better reflect the will of our group. So, we changed our process a bit, allowing each of our scouts to submit weighted ballots for some of the highest spots on our board, and allowing for more collaborative work as the ranking continued. It resulted in a drastic departure from our last ranking in some cases, but we were prepared to deal with any feedback to that end by taking solace in the work itself.

And even if many of these players have stopped playing hockey, that doesn't mean we've stopped watching their tape. We're getting a lot of crossover work done, and adding more and more reports to our database by the day.

It's also a reflection of the compact nature of the top-tier of players in this year's draft. There may not be a single franchise player or cornerstone piece among that group. Certainly, not one who has revealed as much with their play to this point in their career.

There are players we feel strongly about one way or the other, but it's hard to imagine anyone in this year's top-five even putting much of a dent in last year's top-10, just for perspective.

You'll note that the in-depth, player-by-player breakdowns that lined our last two draft rankings are decidedly absent from this one. That's a good thing. It's a sign that the EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide is in production, set to drop in mid-June. You can expect full scouting reports, game reports, analytics exclusive to EliteProspects, and manually tracked data therein. As with last year, the EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide will be available to Premium subscribers as part of their subscription -- the perks of membership.

As usual, a massive due of thanks to Mitch Brown, Lassi Alanen, Cam Robinson, David St-Louis, Jimmy Hamrin, Daniel Gee, Russ Cohen, Joey Padmanabhan, Rachel Doerrie, Lauren Kelly, and Dylan Griffing for their contributions.

Now, without further delay, here's our ranking of the 64 best prospects in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

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