Still Looks like a Two-Player Race for Top Pick in NHL Draft
This draft is starting to feel a little bit like the 2010 entry draft when either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin could have gone first overall. What are the current NHL Draft Betting Odds? Let’s take a look.
Hall got the nod and he has more points per game during the regular season than Seguin even if Seguin has played in more games, scored more goals, and has more points than Hall.
Shane Wright continues to be the favorite to go to Montreal with the top selection with Juraj Slafkovsky being touted as the possible top pick.
The NHL Draft betting odds for Wright to go first have remained steady at -300 followed by Slafkovský at +125. Slafkovsky is the strong choice to be the second pick at -200.
There was a surprise at the top of the recent NBA Draft when Paolo Banchero, who came into the first round expected to go third overall, but was selected first by Orlando. Will there be a similar scenario playing out when Montreal makes the No. 1 overall selection for the first time since Doug Wickenheiser was the top choice in 1980?
Nobody is more curious about what Montreal will be doing with the top selection than New Jersey which holds the No. 2 pick. Arizona, Seattle, and Philadelphia have picked 3-5. Columbus holds picks No. 6 and No. 12. Buffalo selects 9th, 16th, and 28th. Montreal and Arizona will be back on the clock at 26 and 27. Anaheim picks 10th and 22nd.
Many of the tops picks in 2021 either have yet to play in the NHL or made their debuts after their teams were eliminated from the NCAA tournament. When looking at the players with the top NHL player stats from the 2021 draft, that honor goes to No. 12 overall pick Cole Sillinger of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Here’s a look at the top prospects for the draft, which begins on Thursday in Montreal.
The 6-foot center from Burlington, Ontario had 62 assists and 94 points in 63 games with Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League. He added three goals and 11 assists in 11 playoff games.
Wright has earned a reputation as a defensively responsible center in addition to being a dynamic offensive player.
Montreal could use a top-flight center so it won’t be surprising to see the Canadiens go with Wright..
The last time a player went first overall out of the OHL was in 2015 when Connor McDavid went to the Edmonton Oilers. That worked out pretty well for Edmonton.
Slafkovsky was already on the radar of NHL teams before the Olympics. But, after scoring seven goals in seven games against veteran player including those who NHL experience, his stock began to soar.
The 6-foot-4 Slafkovsky looks the part at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. He had almost as many points in 18 playoff games for TPS Turku as he did in 31 games during the regular season.
A strong finisher on the wing is something every team is looking for, especially at his size. It is good to be New Jersey who defied the NHL Draft lottery odds by moving up from fifth to second in the first round.
The top prospect among a strong group of draft-eligible Americans, Cooley had 27 goals and 48 assists in 51 tams with the U.S. National Team Development Program. He is a high plus/minus player and he comes in at -225 to be selected third overall according to the NHL Draft betting odds.
U.S.-born players went second and fourth in the 2021 draft. During the 2019 draft, seven of the top 15 picks came from the U.S. National Development Team program led by No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes.
The run of Americans going in this draft could start as early as Cooley going third overall. Cooley has -1000 odds to go in the top three. Cooley is committed to the University of Minnesota so there is no guarantee that he will be making the jump straight to the NHL.
The last two winners of the Norris Trophy are Adam Fox of the New York Rangers and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche who are built similar to the 6-foot, 190-pound Nemec.
After scoring once in 39 regular-season with Nitra MHC, Nemec had five goals in 19 postseason games to go with 12 assists and 14 penalty minutes.
After Owen Power went first overall in 2021, the wait for the top defenseman will be a little bit longer. Nemec comes in at -230 to go in the top four, according to the NHL Draft betting odds.
The 6-foot-3 Jiricek is a right-shot defenseman who will bring more of a physical presence than Nemec.
It wasn’t too long ago when Makar was picked one spot behind Miro Heiskanen. Now comes the question of whether Nemec or Jiricek will be the first defenseman off the board.
Another of the U.S. players, the 6-foot-2 Gauthier will be headed to Boston College, where he will continue his development.
Gauthier has proven to be a top-flight goal scorer. There are some who think he will fit better as a wing rather than a center at the next level. Will the Arizona Coyotes be able to resist taking the Arizona native with the third overall pick over players rated ahead of him?
Gauthier has -400 odds to be selected in the top six.
Joakim Kemell, Matthew Savoie, Connor Geekie and Danila Yurov are other players among the top 10 prospects for the draft. Unlike last year, when most of the top five picks were headed to college, there could be more European prospects going in the top five and 10 selections. There could also be some picks on the move if players like Alex DeBrincat of the Chicago Blackhawks get traded.Follow us on Twitter