Eight of the 52 Americans selected in last week’s NHL draft were in their second or third years of eligibility for the selection process. The draft has been trending toward older players, especially in the later rounds, for the past few years.
The hometown Boston Bruins made four selections in the 2020 draft. All four players were Americans and the first two were second-year-eligible prospects. Of the 11 local players selected, three were in the second year of eligibility. The high-end players will continue to be selected in their first year of eligibility, but some hidden gems can be found as players mature. Boston Bruins forward Chris Wagner, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jimmy Vesey and Arizona Coyotes forward Connor Garland are three local players in the NHL who were drafted in their second year of eligibility.
Scouting for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft will be particularly difficult because of disruptions to games forced by the coronavirus. NHL teams will have less to go on when it comes to players in their first year of eligibility than they would have in the past. The elite ’03s still will go first, but I’d expect a good number of ’01s and ’02s to be picked at the 2021 NHL draft.