The first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft was completed Friday night after 32 picks took almost four hours to complete. The Washington Capitals did not make any of those 32 picks and their first selection in this year’s draft comes at 55th overall in the second round.
So, let’s take a look at some of the names that the Caps could see come their way later today.
Five names that are falling
Aatu Raty, Center (Karpat) – Raty was once considered the easy number one overall selection in this draft but had a very bad 2020-21 that saw him only score six points in 35 games for Karpat. He was also cut from the Finnish World Junior team that won bronze.
Nikita Chibrikov, Right Wing (SKA Saint Petersburg) – Chibrikov is a very talented offensive player and skater but there are questions about his commitment to the defensive side of the game, his lack of size, and the fact that he is signed in Russia through 2023.
Logan Stankoven, Center (Kamloops) – Stankoven is another undersized forward that is “falling” basically only because of his size. He’s a great two-way center that has shown the ability to score at a high rate.
Sasha Pastujov, Right Wing (USNTDP) – Skating ability and compete level are the two big questions about Pastujov. Other than that though his all around offensive game is a standout in this draft. He’s one of my favorites in this class.
Samu Tuomaala, Right Wing (Karpat Jr.) – You guessed it, another undersized forward that has trouble playing against bigger, more physical players. Tuomaala has one of the better shots and offensive skillsets in this entire draft class but it’s the other parts of his game that kept him on the board.
Five names that should be there at 55th overall
Danila Klimovich, Right Wing (Minsk Zubry) – I personally think the European talent in this draft is going to be underrated due to the pandemic and Klimovich is a player that probably wouldn’t have been seen a whole lot even without the pandemic. He played in the Belorussian junior league last season and absolutely tore it up with his great shot and hands. I really like him as a sleeper.
Eetu Liukas, Left Wing (TPS) – Liukas is Finnish which may auto disqualify him from being picked by the Caps but he has a big body with a good shot that isn’t afraid to fight for goal scoring opportunities.
Ryder Korczak, Center (Moose Jaw) – Any Caps draft list needs to have a player from the WHL on it and Korczak fits around the 55th overall pick. The offensive skills and playmaking ability are both there but Korczak may not have the skating ability or hockey brain to last at the top level.
Alexei Kolosov, Goaltender (Dinamo Minsk) – The Caps lost Vitek Vanecek to the Kraken and may look to stock the goaltending cabinet back up. Kolosov is the only goaltender that would make sense at this spot in the draft. He went 3-5-1 in the KHL last season with a 2.69-goals against average and a 91.1-save percentage.
Aleksi Heimosalmi, Right Defenseman (Assat Jr.) – Another Finn and another player that may be undersized for his position. I like Heimosalmi’s game in terms of it translating to the modern NHL as he can move the puck, move himself, and create offense from the blueline.
Let’s see if the Caps maybe trade up or get lucky enough to grab one of the first five names or sit back and grab one of the latter five.
Headline photo via KP8
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