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2021 NHL Draft Profiles: Primer & Resources

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A quick primer for this year’s draft profiles, and a list of resources to use.

2020 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Kyle Brown/NHLI via Getty Images

Hello again. I have an intuition that Leafs fans may now be suddenly more interested in the draft than they were, and I just so happen to have more free time on my hands in the evenings. So I figured now is a good time to seriously start working on my full draft profiles for my shortlist of prospects that interest me.

So I’m going to do so! This is my formal announcement that they will be coming soon. Before I do so, I wanted to create a little primer and list of resources. This will help share some of the processes I use, as well as websites and scouting people I follow for anyone who wants to jump into it more themselves.

So let’s get to it.

MY PROFILE PROCESS

In the interest of transparency, I will add this quick primer on the process I follow when I research and write a profile on a prospect. I will refer back to it in each profile, but in the interest of transparency and getting it out to start with...

I am not a hockey scout. I do not write for a scouting outlet. I am not paid to do any scouting work. I am a fan or enthusiast of prospects, and at best you could call me an amateur scout. If I have more time in my days, I may make it more of a full-time thing in the future. But that ain’t now.

As far as how I approach it, I have a mini-process by now. For each player I profile, I will have watched at least one full game of theirs to see them myself. In some cases, this may have been impossible for me to do. I don’t see any of the players for more than 2-3 games, so I do not assume that what I saw is enough. As a result, I mostly rely on what actual scouting people say in their reports. I read, watch and listen to reports and profiles on prospects that catch my attention.

Through that process I cut the list down to a smaller number of prospects who really interest me, and who I think may be available when the Leafs pick. I do also supplement what I see myself, and and scouting reports I read, with whatever stats, analytics and manually tracked data I can get my hands on.

I will say up front that I will be focused on prospects who are potential targets for the Leafs only. That means I will not write any profile on top 10 ranked guys. I am mostly focusing on picks in the range for the 2nd round, 5th round, and 6th round picks that the Leafs have.

2021 NHL DRAFT RESOURCES

I think it would also be helpful to include a list of all the resources I used for my research, including websites and good accounts to follow.

Scouting People to Follow

This is a list of specific people I like to follow as far as providing useful information on websites, social media, and so on. There are two people I’ll specifically call out, and run a general list after that.

Will Scouch

Will is one of my favourite scouting people. He has a mix of free resources for people, and some paid ones. He has weekly streams on Twitch and YouTube on Wednesday nights, where people can ask him any questions about prospects including those already drafted. He’ll share his insights and a glimpse of the manually tracked data he has accumulated on various players. He’s very direct and firm in his beliefs, but is respectful and professional about it. You won’t hear hot takes. He is calm and measured. Unless you ask him why he didn’t rank Tim Stutzle #1 overall last year — and I am by no means saying any of you should do this on his weekly streams.

He also puts out full profiles on his favourite prospects for a draft, which you can see on his channel. He posts them earlier for his Patreon subscribers, or on McKeen’s Hockey if you subscribe to them. He also has full player profile videos on his favourite prospects that are free to view on his YouTube channel. On his website, you can access his blog for free. You can also access all of his tracking data if you sign up to his Patreon. As a subscriber, you can also join his private Discord server that has other scouting people sharing ideas, or just talking about general things.

Bob McKenzie

Bob isn’t necessarily a scouting person, and is semi-retired from hockey commentary now. But his draft rankings are perhaps the most important single resource for the draft you will find, because they have been shown to be the most accurate in terms of how teams actually pick at the draft. This is especially true at the top of the draft, but gets more wild beyond the first and second round. When I pick a player to write about as potentially being available when the Leafs pick, I will be referring to Bob’s final rankings as a result.

Others:

Okay honestly, there’s a lot more but this list is already very long. These represent the people whose work I follow with the most interest. If you want to find others, you can look up other scouts, writers and contributors for outlets such as....

Scouting & Draft Websites

This is a good list of websites that are dedicated to scouting prospects, including or solely for the NHL entry draft.

PREVIOUS WATCH LISTS

Here is a quick list with links to the previous watch lists I had written through this season. It will give you a good idea of players that caught my interest and why. Most of the full profiles I plan on writing will be taken from players I mentioned in these:

2021 NHL DRAFT PROFILES — TENTATIVE LIST

So, as of now this is the list of players I plan to focus on for my full profiles. I will list them in a rough order I plan to write them. I was going to say this may change if the Leafs swing a trade before the draft that gets them a pick in a different range, but Katya just reminded me that there’s a trade freeze until right before the draft. That won’t be enough time to put out anything more than maybe one full profile. So if that happens, I’ll probably just put out a list with a few short profiles in one article.

Outside of that, I may also add or remove a guy or two based on Bob McKenzie’s final rankings, which I am guessing will happen for a few guys who had a really strong U18 tournament recently. I may also make some changes to the list just on a whim, especially for later round guys. But for now, you can consider these to be the list of players who most interest me:

Pipe Dreams / Targets if the Leafs acquire a higher pick:

  • Logan Stankoven (C/W)
  • Scott Morrow (RD)

Second Round Targets:

  • Ville Koivunen (W)
  • Brent Johnson (RD)
  • Ayrton Martino (W)
  • Samu Salminen (C)

And there are a few maybes that I will try to get to if I have time:

  • Cole Huckins (C)
  • Colton Dach (W)
  • Oliver Kapanen (C)
  • Olen Zellweger (RD)

Fifth & Sixth Round Targets:

With the caveat than any of these players could go before the fifth round...

  • Marcus Almquist (W)
  • Lukas Gustafsson (LD)
  • Jake Martin (RD)
  • Kalle Ervasti (RD)
  • Cole Jordan (LD)
  • Kirill Gerasimyuk (G)
  • Owen Bartoszkiewicz