On Wednesday, the NHL finalized the draft order for every pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Here are three players for the LA Kings to target with the eighth overall pick.
We are just over one week away until the 2021 NHL Draft commences. The LA Kings currently hold the eighth overall pick in the first round. Unless they receive a trade offer between now and then, Los Angeles will be utilizing the draft pick to add another highly touted prospect to the organization.
The National Hockey League finalized the entire draft order for all 32 clubs on Wednesday. Below are the Kings’ picks in this draft. Note, the organization gave up the 40th overall pick in the Viktor Arvidsson deal.
— Ryan Sikes (@LAK_Ryan) July 14, 2021
Using The Draft Analyst‘s Final Draft Rankings, let’s look at three players who would be good selections at number eight. Of course, teams are going to reach, and players will slide, but for this exercise, let’s assume the Kings will have their pick of the litter.
Dylan Guenther, RW
Guenther is a skilled forward at a 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame with plenty of room to fill out as he physically matures. In an abbreviated WHL season, the Edmonton, Alberta native accumulated 12 goals and 24 points in just 12 games. For Team Canada at the U18s, Guenther tallied four goals and three assists in seven games en route to a gold medal.
Guenther is your classic dual-threat who can differentiate between when it’s time to play sniper and when to go the pass-first route. If there was a “best option available” category for scoring chances created, you’d probably find Guenther at or near the top of that list. In other words, he rarely settles for low-percentage plays and will reload a possession if necessary by staying in motion and alternating sides. – The Draft Analyst (TDA)
Luke Hughes, LHD
If Luke Hughes falls to number eight, I would personally pick him up from the airport. Hughes fills one of the biggest organizational needs, and he’s a pretty darn good player. Already at 6-foot-2, 176 pounds, the Michigan commit developed under Ontario Reign head coach John Wroblewski at the USNTDP during the 2019-20 season.
For the U18 team this past season, Hughes accumulated six goals and 28 assists in USDP, adding four goals and 11 assists in USHL play. He’s been linked to New Jersey with the fourth overall pick, potentially joining his brother Jack. As I noted, if he slides, the Kings have to pounce on Hughes.
Hughes is the rare gem along the blue line whose hands can keep up with the quickness of his feet. Having soft hands and an aggressive mindset helps him deal with pressure in either safe or risky fashion, yet there is a high degree of finesse in the way Hughes outmaneuvers a dogged forecheck. – TDA
Mason McTavish, C/LW
McTavish has been climbing draft boards over the last few months, and there’s a good chance he will hear his name called in the top ten. The Zurich, Switzerland native was without a place to play this past season, with the OHL season canceled. He was loaned to EHC Olten of the Swiss League, scoring nine goals with two assists in 13 games, playing against grown men.
The 18-year-old already stands at a robust 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and utilizes his body to create separation while absorbing bodychecks. He captained Team Canada at the U18s, accumulating five goals and 11 points in only seven games.
McTavish is a dual threat in that he can be just as effective a setup man as he can be a finisher. His Cy Young-esque goals to assist totals in league play may say otherwise, but McTavish has the instincts, vision, and hands to be a true center who can make any member in his unit a scoring option. But make no mistake about it — McTavish loves to shoot and owns an elite shot-release combination. He can absolutely wire it and he doesn’t need the perfect conditions to go from pass receipt to shot execution in the blink of an eye. – TDA