One week from today, the NHL will conduct the remainder of the 2021 entry draft, with rounds 2-7 taking place online July 24.
Because there is so much expected variance between the 32 clubs with the Seattle Kraken joining the draft fray, the term “sleeper” will likely take on a whole new meaning. Against the backdrop of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, teams have a significantly less sample size across the board than they normally possess going in. This is where scouts with trust and influence within certain regions of the globe can make an impact by making successful cases for players who might not be sure projections to be drafted.
A trifecta of New England forwards could fit that bill in seven days by hearing their names called in the middle-to-late rounds of the draft. Even if it doesn’t happen for them in 2021, all three of Matt Copponi, Tim Delay and JP Turner have the potential to be second-year eligible picks in 2022.
2021 NHL Entry Draft sleepers
Matt Copponi, center, Dexter Southfield/Neponset Valley River Rats 18 (Mansfield, Mass.)
5-11/165, right shot, 6/4/03
NEHJ NHL final draft ranking: 7