It’s NHL Draft time!
Beginning Friday night, more than 220 players will be selected across seven rounds by 32 NHL franchises. The Sabres will kick things off Friday and the draft will conclude Saturday when the back-to-back champion Stanley Cup champion Lightning pick No. 224 overall. In between, there will be lots of intrigue and surely a few surprises. One thing that is set is that the Kraken, the league’s newest club, will make its first selections starting with the second overall pick.
Like the 2020 edition, the 2021 draft will be held virtually.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to tune in, including the start time and first-round draft order.
MORE: Watch the NHL Draft live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)
What channel is the 2021 NHL Draft on today?
Date: Friday, July 23Time: 8 p.m. ETTV channel (U.S.): ESPN2TV channel (Canada): Sportsnet, SN NOW, TVA Sports
NHL DRAFT 2021: Latest rumors, trades and more | First-round grades
Date: Saturday, July 24Time: 11 a.m. ETTV channel (U.S.): NHL NetworkTV channel (Canada): Sportsnet, SN NOW
Broadcasting from the home of NHL Network in New Jersey, ESPN2, which is back covering hockey, will air coverage of Round 1 in the United States. NHL Network will take over the draft on Saturday and cover Rounds 2-7. Viewers in Canada will be able to watch all seven rounds on Sportsnet, with TVA Sports providing coverage of Round 1 as well.
Fans in the U.S. can also watch on NHL.com or sign up for fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial.
2021 NHL Draft order of picks
The Sabres snagged the top spot in the draft lottery and for the second time in four years will have the No. 1 pick. In 2018, the team drafted defenseman Rasmus Dahlin first overall. This year, it’s looking as if it’ll be another defenseman in the top spot with Owen Power topping most rankings.
DRAFT PICKS: Complete order | Team-by-team
2021 NHL Mock Draft
This year’s draft is a big unknown. A number of players could go No. 1 overall, and the rest of the first-round order is anyone’s guess, too.
The guys at FCHockey tried to take a stab at who will go 1-32. Here are the first five players expected to get the call. For the full mock draft, click here.
1. Buffalo Sabres: Owen Power, D, Michigan (NCAA)
FCHockey rank: 1
While there are rumors that the Sabres might go another way, it’s likely just that — a rumor. With Power’s size and skill, there’s no questioning just how much NHL teams value what the defender brings. There may be some prospects who fans would rather scoop up at this spot as there are flashier options out there, but Power will be a piece that should help solidify Buffalo’s blue line for years to come. It looks like this will be a busy summer for the Sabres, and adding Power is a strong first step.
NHL DRAFT: Nine other candidates for No. 1
2. Seattle Kraken: William Eklund, LW/C, Djurgardens (SHL)
FCHockey rank: 5
It seems like the common choice here is Beniers, but considering that the Kraken are just starting to build their prospect pool, Eklund fits the mold here best. The forward might just own the highest ceiling among prospects in the draft. He excelled in the SHL this past season playing serious minutes and impressing game in and game out despite undergoing an appendectomy and having a bout with COVID-19. Beniers and Hughes are strong considerations here as well, but Eklund’s potential might just be too good to pass up.
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3. Anaheim Ducks: Matthew Beniers, C, Michigan (NCAA)
FCHockey rank: 4
The Ducks will have Beniers fall into their laps here. Having seen what the one-two punch of Trevor Zegras and Beniers can do at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship en route to a gold medal, the Ducks should be champing at the bit to select the promising centerman. Beniers’ competitiveness, two-way ability and well-rounded game make him a great fit to help lead the Ducks back to contention. After taking Jamie Drysdale with their first selection last year, the Ducks’ prospect pool is looking excellent.
4. New Jersey Devils: Luke Hughes, D, USNTDP (USHL)
FCHockey rank: 3
This selection comes down to who is already gone. In all likelihood, Power and Beniers will both be off the board. Then it appears one of Eklund, Hughes or Dylan Guenther will be the third selection. Depending on how the first three picks play out, Hughes is the best option for the Devils here. By uniting Hughes with his brother Jack, the 2019 first overall pick, New Jersey will instantly get a boost in team chemistry. The younger Hughes is arguably the highest-ceiling defender in the class with impressive skating and intelligence. The Devils have strong forwards in the system and the new Hughes will help boost the back end.
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5. Columbus Blue Jackets: Simon Edvinsson, D, Frolunda (SHL)
FCHockey rank: 7
With the Blue Jackets on the board for the first of three potential selections, and barring any of the above slipping, the pick looks to be one of the two top defenders left, Brandt Clarke and Edvinsson. By picking Edvinsson, Columbus is landing a potential No. 1 defender with size and mobility. He already has proved himself against men in Sweden and Columbus should be ecstatic to land him here.