The 2021 NHL Entry Draft is just around the corner and the SB Nation NHL crew is taking over the driver’s seat for our favorite franchises to see how the first round might play out.
The Los Angeles Kings will pick eighth overall this year, barring any potential trades, which I wasn’t able to make happen as a pretend general manager.
Scouting this year’s draft was both easier, as video was more widely available, and more limited, in that in-person scouting was a rarity. While there isn’t uniform consensus in the rankings, there is still a recurring theme that this year’s top-end talent is full of blueliners, and there’s no reason that the Los Angeles Kings shouldn’t take advantage when their time comes.
Here’s our mock draft board so far:
1. Owen Power — Buffalo Sabres
2. Matthew Berniers — Seattle Kraken
3. Dylan Guenther — Anaheim Ducks
4. Luke Hughes — New Jersey Devils
5. William Eklund — Columbus Blue Jackets
6. Mason McTavish — Detroit Red Wings
7. Kent Johnson — San Jose Sharks
With the eighth pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, Jewels From The Crown selects defender Simon Edvinsson from Frölunda HC of the SHL.
The Swedish defender is a hulking 6-foot-5 and 207 pounds, and while his game has shown a bit of an offensive touch, his comparison is closer to San Jose Sharks defender Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who won a Gold Medal in 2014 as a shut-down defender for Canada in the Olympic Games. Despite his size, he’s a smooth and strong skater, using his frame to his advantage.
Edvinsson is one of, if not the most technically sound defenders in this draft class. He spent the 2020-21 season busy, paying 14 games in each of Sweden’s junior league and second-tier men’s league, as well as 10 games in the top-tier SHL, though he did not see much ice time in those 10 games and was thus loaned to the lower league.
He also represented Sweden at the Under-18 World Championship, scoring one goals and three assists over seven games, as Sweden won Bronze.
Where the Swede truly shines is his transition game, something that inspires many scouts to speak poetics. Smaht Scouting says this about him:
When he gets the puck on his stick in the defensive zone opposition forwards stomachs go into their throats. And that is understandable. In stride he can scythe through a neutral zone trap as though it is simply beneath him. There really is an air of condescension at times from Edvinsson when he has the puck on his stick, and who can blame him? There are not many players in Swedish juniors who have the ability to stop him fairly once he decides to go.
Why not Edvinsson?
For eighth overall, a hard weakness to get over is that Edvinsson doesn’t have a particularly great shot, often electing to walk the puck in or shoot a wrist shot. When imagining modern defenders, you imagine players who are able to make those decisions quickly and shoot bombs from the blue line, and Edvinsson isn’t that guy quite yet. It’s going to take some time for him to develop those skills.
But he’s off to a good start and if in the end, the Kings get an elite defensive player out of it, then it’s worth it.