Exploring other possible options for the Blackhawks No. 11 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft

A sampling of scouts’ opinions on other top prospects in the 2021 NHL Draft.

The 2021 NHL Draft has the potential to be one of the most chaotic and seemingly random drafts in recent years due COVID-19 and the ensuing limitation on scouting. Although we here at SCH have profiled several players that seem like they’ll both be available and fit for selection when the Blackhawks pick at No. 11, the reality is we just don’t know what will happen. For that reason, below are some quick scout descriptions of a few more players that maybe (if they’re lucky) will fall or those that the Blackhawks may value higher than public scouts.

Unlikely Available at No. 11

Brandt Clarke (D) | 6-foot-2, 190 pounds

“Brandt Clarke is a defenseman who has the dynamic offensive instincts of a skilled forward while still maintaining some strong defensive ability and a relatively complete end-to-end game.” — Mike Stromberg, All About the Jersey

“Probably the most offensively gifted blueliner in this class, Clarke is an expert puck mover and producer who navigates the ice confidently. A lot has been made of his skating and it is warranted. His short-distance quickness and stride are going to need to improve for him to be an effective pro. However, I still think he can play the game fast based on how he processes things and his ability to spot the right plays. He moves pucks quickly and confidently, has deceptive puck skills and a good shot from the point that can sneak up on goalies.” — Chris Peters, Hockey Sense

William Eklund (C/LW) | 5-foot-10, 172 pounds

“Eklund is the highest IQ player in this draft. He already understands coverages better than most NHL top six forwards. His vision is also high-end. It is not rare to see him make a pass without so much as looking at his line-mate, and it land flush on tape for a prime scoring chance. Combine this with a beautiful passing touch and he can freeze defenses before they compute what is happening to give line-mates high-end opportunities with regularity. Despite not having blazing speed you will almost never see him caught up ice, or beaten to a puck though. Eklund is already a good 200-ft player. He works hard to get back to the defensive zone, and his high IQ is present there too.” — Alexander Appleyard, Smaht Scouting

Luke Hughes (D) | 6-foot-2, 184 pounds

“Luke Hughes is one of the youngest 2021 NHL Draft prospects... plays a very similar game to his older brother, Quinn. Both defensemen are elite puck-movers with robust skating ability. In addition, both defensemen are highly efficient at drawing the attack to the corners and silencing the rush in a vulnerable spot for the attacker. Quinn and Luke both have proven to be lethal play-makers and possess impressive puck distribution skills.” — Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting

“Luke isn’t viewed as offensively dynamic and creative a blueliner as Quinn — not many are, mind you — but he’s still an outstanding skater with great puck-moving ability. And while Luke’s defensive game is raw, he has a much bigger frame to work with than his brother(s). His season, however, is over after undergoing foot surgery to repair damaged tendons because of a skate cut.” — Bob McKenzie, TSN

Dylan Guenther (LW/RW) | 6-foot-2, 181 pounds

“Guenther made everyone take notice this season as he finished with 12 goals and 24 points in just 12 games. He is a volume shooter whose finishing instincts help him find positioning in smart areas around the net. His skating is an asset that will become even more of a weapon as he gets physically stronger. Guenther is not likely to wow you with highlight-reel puck skills but he is a well-rounded offensive player who knows what makes him effective. He uses his strong read/react abilities to make smart plays, create space, and generate consistent offensive chances for his team. He is not an elite playmaker but he does a great job of finding teammates in the net-front area with which, in combination with his one-timer and general shooting ability, makes him a great asset on the power play. Guenther has the potential to be a long-term top-six forward in the NHL and since this draft is pretty wide open, do not be surprised if he goes anywhere from second to 15th overall.” — Jameson Ewasiuk, Dobber Prospects

Simon Edvinsson (D) | 6-foot-4, 207 pounds

“Edvinsson’s combination of size, skill, and skating ability gives him a very high ceiling. He could become a top-pairing defender at the next level. There are areas of his game that need improvement, including his shot and his defensive game though. His game is still a bit raw and he will likely need more time in Sweden or the AHL before he is ready to make an impact at the NHL level. The raw traits here are very intriguing though, and with good coaching and development the team that drafts him could have a real gem. Edvinsson’s game is reminiscent of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, however, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.” — Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports

Likely A Reach at No. 11

Carson Lambos (D) | 6-foot-1, 201 pounds

“The WHL defenceman was somewhat polarizing amongst scouts even before his season ended for what, so far anyway, is an undisclosed medical condition that will require a procedure, which is currently scheduled for the end of the month. Those medical details are expected to be forwarded to NHL Central Scouting after the procedure has been completed. Half of the 10 scouts surveyed have the Winnipeg Ice defender in the top 20 (one of them in the top 10), while the other half had him outside of the first round – some of them well outside the top 32. The medical issue may have contributed to that wide variance, but the sense seemed to be that even prior to that Lambos was a wild card of sorts.” — Bob McKenzie, TSN

Nikita Chibrikov (LW/RW) | 5-foot-10, 172 pounds

“Pegging him as a top-20 pick came rather easily in the beginning of the season after watching him quickly assert himself as a skilled and physical winger in Russia’s adult-age VHL, and that’s exactly how he played in Texas while serving as team captain. Although piling up points usually comes easy for any top forward prospect, I’m more intrigued by Chibrikov’s unruly demeanor and how he’s involved in at least one violent collision per game... Chibrikov from a production standpoint was one of the top scorers at the tournament, recording 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in seven games, and he made countless plays in the neutral zone that sprung linemates for clean zone entries or break-ins.” — Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

Isak Rosén (LW/RW) | 5-foot-11, 161 pounds

“Whatever Rosén lacks in the size and strength department, he makes up for with his skill, playmaking ability, skating, speed, vision, agility and shiftiness. Defensively he is not prolifically noticeable yet, but there’s signs of a good defensive player there and he‘ll get better as he matures and finds himself in more challenging in-game situations. Maybe there is not much hype around him like there is for his fellow countrymen Lysell, Robertsson and Eklund but on talent alone, there is not much difference between the four. Rosén tends to be underrated, he could be a longer project and few years away but considering his entire package and skillset, I see Rosen’s floor as solid complementary second line winger who can be effective on both special teams units.” — Jan Chobot, Recruit Scouting

Oskar Olausson (LW/RW) | 6-foot-2, 181 pounds

“Olausson’s greatest asset is his skating ability, with speed to burn and the lateral mobility to weave through tight spaces. He has a good release, a decent one-timer from the half wall on the powerplay, and a keen sense of spacing in the offensive zone. He plays a heady game and uses his closing speed to be a disruptive forechecker, forcing opposing defenders into rushed passes and panicked dump outs. Olausson’s toolkit is well rounded and even if he never develops into a big-time offensive threat, he projects pretty safely as a reliable two-way winger at the NHL level.” — Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects

Corson Ceulemans (D) | 6-foot-2, 201 pounds

“Both Ceulemans and Makar play a fast, offense-first style that emphasizes puck handling and out-thinking their opponents. Ceulemans is a much rawer player than Makar was at his age, which has some scouts concerned over his long-term potential. Defensive issues and play off the puck have many worried that he won’t be able to transition well into the professional ranks. He has the potential to become a top-pairing offensive, rushing defenseman, but at this point, is more likely to become a middle-pairing defender who can run a power play.” — Dayton Reimer, The Hockey Writers

Zachary L’Heureux (C) | 5-foot-11, 196 pounds

“If L’Heureux can become a bit more disciplined and improve his speed he can become a top-six winger at the NHL level. He will need a year or two to develop. With his all-around game, he should be an important part of the Mooseheads and Canada’s National Junior team next season. He can be used in all situations, playing on the penalty kill and the power play. With his combination of skill and feistiness, L’Heureux has traits that NHL teams are looking for. Overall, L’Heureux’s game is reminiscent of Brad Marchand. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.” — Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports

Zach Dean (C) | 6-foot-0, 179 pounds

“Play driving centerman... His early success can be attributed to several mature aspects of his game, including a strong awareness and anticipation of gaps in his opponents defense, as well as the availability and readiness of his teammates. Dean owns a favorable first stride that allows him to win loose puck races and create turnovers in all zones. His defensive reactions can be a bit delayed, but he is on the right track to developing an acceptable two-way style.” — Brayden Olafson, Dobber Prospects

“Old school traits in that he has great outside speed and a bulldog determination to get to and stay in front of the net.” — Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet