The 2021 NHL draft will be one of the most unpredictable the league has seen in years. The inability to play this season in various levels and leagues across the world due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions of travel and attendance has made in-person scouting difficult to say the least. Teams will have to rely more heavily on video scouting to give them the data they need to help design their draft boards and rankings.
The Dallas Stars will draft at 14 this year. As we have done across the SBNation network for the last half-dozen years or so, we are bringing you our mock draft. Each team site drafts according to what they feel the organization’s needs are and based on the picks that come before them. We even allow trades to make it more fun and entertaining.
Which is why, when the folks at Raw Charge approached us about a deal for a Tampa Bay Lightning player, we took it. In our mock draft, the Stars trade their fifth round pick to Tampa for the rights to Blake Coleman. This will give general manager Jim Nill and company an exclusive window to negotiate with the pending free agent on a contract in Dallas. As one of the team’s primary targets to upgrade the middle six, it’s a move that could make sense.
With that piece of business out of the way, the Defending Big D crew select Corson Ceulemans at 14 for the Dallas Stars. You can check out the other selections here to understand the context of the pick in this mock draft.
There is some debate around the position that Dallas needs to most address in the first round this draft. Some prognosticators believe Dallas needs to pick up a high-end goaltender and could use their first-round pick to build the NHL depth at this position. It’s a valid argument: Jake Oettinger is about NHL-ready, minus the slight logjam in front of him for next season. Beyond him, there’s no clear NHL contender for depth in the organization later down the road. There are a few with question marks that could turn into something, but depth isn’t accomplished on hope alone.
The forward depth has some interesting guys with relatively higher expected ceilings. So, this is a position they could forego in the first round this season, focusing on uncovering some gems at forward in the second round and beyond.
Defense may not appear to be the obvious choice, but when you really think about it, it actually makes the most sense. Thomas Harley is the best defensive prospect in the Stars system, and he appears to be knocking on the NHL door. After him in the system, though, appear to be long-term projects and some guys that will be serviceable defenders at the highest level at best — but probably not many future top four guys, which Dallas needs in the pipeline.
That is why we chose to take the right-shot defensemen who skates well, handles the puck well, and has good instincts for the offensive side of the game. You can read up on him more here to understand what the downside of taking Ceulemans could be.
What did you think of the Stars’ outcome in this mock draft? Would you have traded a pick for Coleman’s rights, or kept the pick in the hopes of mining another fifth round gem?