Chicago Blackhawks president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman and vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley selected eight players at the 2021 NHL Draft this weekend.
Nolan Allan, LD, WHL Prince Albert – First round, No. 32
Size: 6-foot-2, 194 pounds
NHL Central Scouting: No. 40 (North American skater)
Allan, who turned 18 in April, had a goal and an assist in 16 games for Prince Albert of the WHL. The defensive defenseman has only 11 points in 81 career WHL games. He also had a goal and assist in seven games to help Canada win gold at the under-18 World Championship.
What Allan said: “I’m a solid two-way defender. Skating is a big part of my game. I like to play physical and play hard against the team’s top forwards and shut them down. I’ve got that foundation of being a physical, stay-at-home defender and playing on the penalty kill, and keeping pucks out of the net. The next step would be to add another element to my game and work on the offensive side whether that be puck skills, or shots or jumping into the play in those situations.”
What Kelley said: “What really stands out about him is his compatibility. Really good teammate. He has a great presence on the ice. But the subtleties of his game: he’s physical, blocks shots, kills penalties, plays hard minutes. Every shift, a lot of predictability in his game. He’s not a flashy player, but yet he’s very mobile, very safe first pass. He can handle a puck, but his decision-making when he has the puck is very very good, very very efficient.”
Colton Dach, C/LW, WHL Saskatoon – Second round, No. 62
Size: 6-4, 205
NHL Central Scouting: No. 19 (North American/European skater)
Social media: @colton.dach (Instagram)
Dach scored 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in 20 games for Saskatoon this past season after scoring 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 62 games in his first WHL season. He is the younger brother of Kirby Dach, who was selected third overall by Chicago in 2019.
What Dach said: “I see myself more as a power forward. I’m a bigger guy who likes to use his body. One of the biggest differences between Kirby and I is he’s a pass-first player and I’m a shoot-first player. We’d be one of the perfect fits. [Kirby] likes to move the puck and he’s a very skilled forward. I like to get into areas where I can receive the puck and shoot the puck. I think we’d really compliment each other well.”
Taige Harding, LD, AJHL Fort McMurray – Third round, No. 91
Size: 6-7, 236 pounds
NHL Central Scouting: Unranked
Social media: @taige.harding (Instagram)
Harding scored 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 16 games this past season. He had six points (one goal, five assists) in 46 games during the 2019-20 campaign. The Scotland-born player will play next season at Providence College.
Ethan Del Mastro, LD, OHL Mississauga – Fourth round, No. 105
Size: 6-4, 209
NHL Central Scouting: No. 57 (North American skater)
Del Mastro did not play this past season in the OHL because the League did not have a season because of COVID-19 protocols in Ontario. He had two assists in seven games to help Canada win gold at the under-18 World Championship.
Del Mastro had seven assists in 58 games during the 2019-20 OHL season.
Elite Prospects: “He uses his pocket when handling, rapid support of his partners, constant activations — you name it. With his long reach, four-way mobility, and, above all, his physicality, Del Mastro could play the role of the ‘’engager’’ on an NHL pairing. He likes to work opponents 1-on-1.”
Victor Stjernborg, C, SHL Växjö – Fourth round, No. 108
Size: 5-11, 203
NHL Central Scouting: No. 50 (European skater)
Stjernborg scored four points (two goals, two assists) in 30 games as a 17-year-old in the SHL. He also had 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) as team captain in 19 games in Sweden’s under-20 league.
Elite Prospects: “Stjernborg has one of the biggest and best motors in the draft. He can run up and down the ice, cover its width a few times, and still have energy for one last rush, one last desperate backcheck, or race to a loose puck before a change. He plays with control. He applies himself in his every defensive technique — angling, shot-blocking, shoulder-checking, puck-sealing, etc.”
Ilya Safonov, C, WHL Ak Bars Kazan – Sixth round, No. 172
Size: 6-4, 205
NHL Central Scouting: No. 54 (European skater)
Social media: None
Safonov scored two goals and four points in 37 KHL games as a 19-year-old. He also had two goals at the under-20 World Juniors. In a pre-tournament game at World Juniors, Safonov collided with Kirby Dach, which led to Dach missing 34 games this past season while recovering from surgery to repair his broken right wrist.
Connor Kelley, RD, Minnesota Duluth – Seventh round, No. 204
Size: 6-1, 190
NHL Central Scouting: Unranked
Kelley scored five points (three goals, two assists) in 25 games during his freshman season. He plays with fellow Chicago defenseman prospect Wyatt Kaiser (2020 third-rounder) at Duluth.
EliteProspects’ 2020 draft guide: Does anyone talk about him? Played #2. He takes good angles to seal off players. He’s fast. He blows up plays before they develop. Is playing a role this year, has been an offensive defenseman every step of the way before the NTDP.
Jalen Luypen, LW, WHL Edmonton – Seventh round, No. 216
Size: 5-10 150
NHL Central Scouting: No. 133 (North American skater)
Luypen scored 29 points (16 goals, 13 assists) in 23 games this past season. It was an uptick from his nine-goal and 18-point performance in 64 games during the 2019-20 campaign.