The 2021 NHL draft has many very solid prospects, but it also have many boom or bust prospects as well. This is a list of 7 Boom or Bust prospects in the 2021 NHL draft.
1. Aatu Raty
Aatu Raty was once considered to be the consensus 1st overall pick in the 2021 draft, but now some mock drafts have him sliding outside of the top 15. For a once-projected first overall pick and a now-projected top-15 pick, his lack of offensive development in his draft year is a little bit concerning. What’s even more confusing is the fact that he was left off of the Finnish 2021 World Junior team. Despite Raty’s struggles in his draft year, his skill set is tough to overlook. Raty is a tremendous skater, with elite puck handler and possesses a solid 200-foot game, which isn’t always easy to come by when you’re talking about an offensive center at his age. My NHL Comparable for Aatu Raty is Sebastian Aho; he has the potential to be an impactful first-line center in the NHL. However, there are some warning signs about his consistency, which should not be ignored. That being said, Aatu Raty should be a lock to a top 15 pick in the 2021 draft.
2. Roman Schmidt
Roman Schmidt is one of the best defensive-defenseman from this draft class. Schmidt is nearly impossible to play against, as he combines his smooth skating with incredible strength to maintain tight gaps and wipe out opponents along the wall with ease. He plays an elite transition game and has multiple tools to move the play to the offensive zone. Schmidt has excellent skating ability for a player his size and has tremendous lower-body strength. Schmidt has an incredible shot from the point, with both power and accuracy; he can find the shooting lanes through traffic with ease. Roman uses his strength to eliminate opposing offensive rushes and hulking his way up the ice for an easy carry-in. His hockey sense is also promising, as Schmidt shows innate abilities to read opponent tactics and to shut down offensive opportunities. Despite showcasing an elite all-around game, Schmidt has a small tendency to second-guess his decisions, namely with pinching at the offensive blueline. He can sometimes be caught flat-footed as a result of changing his mind in the process of pinching. These tendencies are very costly at the NHL level, as there are players that will take advantage of a bad pinch by a defenseman and turn it into a scoring chance and a goal. My NHL Comparison for Roman Schmidt is Brandon Carlo, who is a similar build and is a very solid defensive-defenseman. It’s not that Schmidt is a bad player, but a team likely will be using a 1st round pick to select him, and they might expect more from a first-round pick, than just being a reliable defensive-defenseman, which can be drafted later in the draft.
3. Matthew Coronato
A New York native, Matthew Coronato is having a huge season for the Chicago Steel of the USHL as a first-year draft eligible. His 24 goals and 27 assists in just 28 games are good enough for second in league scoring, just behind teammate and Montreal Canadiens prospect Sean Farrell. That kind of production is tough to ignore, even if Coronato is one of the older players in his draft class. Already dominating in the USHL, he will be looking to make an impact in the NCAA next season when he begins his collegiate career at Harvard University. Matthew Coronato is an undersized forward, who is offensively gifted with good instincts and a heavy shot. Although he has decent speed, Coronato needs to add quickness to his overall game to make the most of his abilities at the NHL level. My NHL Comparison for Matthew Coronato is Tyler Toffoli, who is a pretty solid goal scorer in the NHL, but has a limit to what he can do offensively. Coronato’s lack of speed might be what keeps him from being an elite goal scorer at the NHL level. For this reason, I see Coronato being a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
4. Cole Huckins
At 6’3, 201 lbs, Cole Huckins is a tremendous two-way center with good vision and okay puck skills, however, his skating isn’t very good. Huckins is the perfect player to have on a winning team because he does the dirty work in the trenches, finishes checks, backchecks, and is great a supporting his linemates. He isn’t going to be the player that stands out on the ice to the casual fan, but he does all of the little things that coaches just love. That being said, there isn’t much that stands out with Huckins offensively, that warrants him being selected in the 2nd round; teams much rather get a player that has a higher offensive upside than a player that is team-oriented and is more a 3rd or 4th line player. Cole Huckins is a Brandon Sutter-type player, who many teams will covet because there is less a possibility of missing with a pick like this, but in my opinion, if you are picking in the 2nd round, you don’t want to be selecting a 3rd line player.
5. Joshua Roy
Joshua Roy was selected by the Saint John Sea Dogs with the first overall pick of the 2019 QMJHL Draft after dominating the Quebec Midget AAA level with 38 goals and 88 points in just 42 games. While Roy has yet to experience that same dominance in the Q, the skilled center did post 16 goals and 44 points in 60 games in Saint John last season. Roy got off to a strong start to 2020-21 with Sea Dogs before being traded to the Sherbrooke Phoenix 15 games into the season. Similar to Brad Richards, Roy is a Talented Playmaking Center with excellent vision and hockey IQ. Joshua has high potential, but he must improve on some areas of his game to be a top 6 center in the NHL. The area of his game that needs the most improvement is his defensive zone play. Roy lacks quickness and straightaway speed, but he makes up for it with his tremendous hockey sense. Joshua Roy has massive potential as a playmaking center in the NHL, but at the same time, he has many areas of his game that need to be improved. This makes him the ultimate boom or bust pick.
6. Logan Mailloux
Mailloux is one of the most interesting prospects eligible in 2021. He spent almost the entire 2019-20 season playing Junior B in the GOJHL, where he was arguably the league’s best defender. He was called up to the London Knights, who drafted him 33rd overall in 2019, for only four games but was given him very limited ice time. Mailloux has taken his talents to Sweden for the 2020-21 season, where he is currently playing for SK Lejon in the Swedish U20 Elite league. One of the first things you notice about Logan Mailloux would be his size. At 6’3, 214 pounds and still growing, Mailloux has the size that NHL teams always love. He plays a physical game and can stand his own against other big players. One aspect of his game that is quite noticeable would be his confidence. Mailloux is not afraid to make tough moves and attempt complicated plays that others would not dare to try. Mailloux is an offensive defenseman, who possesses a high hockey IQ. In addition to his size, Mailloux’s skating will catch the eyes of NHL scouts. Big defenders with great skating abilities are highly coveted and that is exactly what you are getting in Mailloux. I think that Logan Mailloux is a poor man, Shea Weber but is not as physical and doesn’t have as hard a shot. Mailloux is a boom or bust pick because he has all the tools to be an all-star defenseman, but he needs to be drafted to the right team that will develop him properly.
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