NHL 20 Draft: Best Players and Top Draft Steals 2021

In the second draft of NHL 20 Franchise Mode, there’s a chance to grab a franchise-potential forward.

While there’s plenty of talent in the 2021 NHL Draft, there’s really only one future superstar that every team wants to take off of the board. If you’ve chosen one of the best teams to rebuild and need a new face of the franchise, you’ll want to get the number one pick of the 2021 Entry Draft in NHL 20.

For this simulation, the 10 October Roster was used, moving the game forward to the 2024/25 season to see which 2021 NHL draftees developed the highest overall ratings.

However, due to how development works in the game, some of the best picks haven’t grown into particularly lofty OVR ratings by this point, with the talent on NHL lines and the development rates in the juniors and minors inhibiting some players.

So, while these are ordered by OVR, if you pick one of the top NHL 20 draft steals of 2021, you’ll likely be able to develop them at a faster rate than they have shown in this simulation.

Some of the top draft steals of 2021 in Franchise Mode are generated players, but in these games, you can sometimes find the same kind of player in the same scouting area but under a different name, so you may be able to use their nationalities as a guide.

Trevor Wong (89 OVR in 2024)

Potential: Elite med
Position: Center
Type: Playmaker
2021 Selection: 1st Round, 6th Overall
Nationality: Canadian
Best Stats: 98 Offensive Awareness, 95 Durability, 94 Deking, Passing, Puck Control, Slap Shot Power, Wrist Shot Power

Last season, Trevor Wong made a step up into the WHL to play for the Kelowna Rockets. Now 16-years-old, the Vancouver native has clocked in four goals and seven points through 39 games in the WHL.

The somewhat diminutive center develops very quickly in NHL 20, becoming a top-class playmaker within just a few years.

Wong’s shooting accuracy may be a bit lacking, but he more than makes up for it with 94 deking, 94 passing, 94 puck control, and a mighty 98 in offensive awareness.

Torsten Carlsson (88 OVR in 2024)

Potential: Elite med
Position: Right Wing
Type: Sniper
2021 Selection: 1st Round, 2nd Overall
Nationality: Swedish
Best Stats: 95 Slap Shot Accuracy, Slap Shot Power, Wrist Shot Accuracy

If your team needs a goalscorer, keep an eye out for this Swedish right-wing sniper early in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Torsten Carlsson may be one of the generated players, but his 95 slap shot power, 95 wrist shot accuracy, 95 slap shot accuracy, and 94 wrist shot power mean that you should try to scout this forward. With those shooting attributes, it’s harder to not score with Carlsson.

In this simulation, the Winnipeg Jets managed to have Carlsson on the second line and another top NHL 20 sniper on the first line in Patrik Laine, featuring them both on the powerplay.

The Jets went on the win the 2024 Stanley Cup in this simulation.

Yuri Dadonov (87 OVR in 2024)

Potential: Elite med
Position: Defenseman
Type: Defensive Defenseman
2021 Selection: 1st Round, 14th Overall
Nationality: Latvian
Best Stats: 93 Shot Blocking, 91 Stick Checking, Body Checking, Aggressiveness, Wrist Shot Power

Yuri Dadonov boasts a solid all-around build for a defensive defenseman. With his 185cm, 93kg frame, Dadonov’s strengths are in his ability to bully forwards off of the puck.

The Latvian left-shot defenseman boasts 90 defensive awareness, 91 stick checking, 93 shot blocking, 91 aggressiveness, 91 body checking, and 90 strength.

Also toting some decent speed ratings for a defensive defenseman with 87 acceleration, 88 agility, and 88 speed, Dadonov serves as a very mobile wall in front of the goaltender.

Leon Fleischmann (87 OVR in 2024)

Potential: Elite med
Position: Center
Type: Two-Way Forward
2021 Selection: 1st Round, 5th Overall
Nationality: German
Best Stats: 91 Slap Shot Accuracy, Wrist Shot Accuracy, Agility, Speed

Leon Fleischmann hasn’t quite perfected the art of the duel by the start of the 2024 season, but the German boasts tremendous strength and defensive ability.

The right-shot center has a well-rounded skill set that’s highlighted by 89 passing, 87 offensive awareness, 88 defensive awareness, 89 stick checking, 90 acceleration, 91 agility, 91 speed, 89 body checking, 87 strength, and four-and-a-half stars for shooting.

Only 21-years-old by the 2024/25 season, Fleischmann’s 83 in faceoffs and 81 in poise make him primed to become one of the strongest faceoff centers in NHL 20. On top of this, his 90.7 average speed score already places him close to the fastest skaters in the game.

Sergej Zhamnov (87 OVR in 2024)

Potential: Elite high
Position: Right Wing
Type: Two-Way Forward
2021 Selection: 1st Round, 4th Overall
Nationality: Ukrainian
Best Stats: 94 Slap Shot Accuracy, Wrist Shot Accuracy, 90 Stick Checking, Speed, Durability, Body Checking, Aggressiveness

In this simulation of NHL 20 Franchise Mode, Zhamnov is taken fourth-overall – despite his lofty potential of Elite high – and develops into a powerful contender at both ends of the ice.

Zhamnov’s most eye-catching ratings at the age of 21 are his 90 aggressiveness, 90 body checking, 89 strength, 90 stick checking, and 88 defensive awareness. But don’t let this defensive set-up fool you.

The Ukrainian is a lethal forward in the game, boasting absurd accuracy ratings for a two-way right wing with 94 in slap shot accuracy and 94 wrist shot accuracy.

On top of this, Zhamnov can certainly hustle with 90 speed, 89 acceleration, and 89 agility.

Aatu Räty (85 OVR in 2024)

Potential: Franchise med
Position: Left Wing
Type: Two-Way Forward
2021 Selection: 1st Round, 1st Overall
Nationality: Finnish
Best Stats: 97 Slap Shot Power, Wrist Shot Power, 96 Acceleration, Speed

Still only 17-years-old, Aatu Räty is already garnering a lot of attention from NHL scouts. Having stepped up from Kärpät U20s this season to Kärpät in Liiga, Räty scored two goals and four points through his first 12 games in the Finnish men’s league.

In NHL 20 Franchise Mode, Aatu Räty comes in with the coveted Franchise med potential. The Finn may only have grown to an overall rating of 85 by 2024 in this simulation, but he already has crazy ratings dotted around.

Räty’s highlights include: 97 slap shot power, 97 wrist shot power, 94 deking, 93 hand-eye, 91 passing, 91 puck control, 93 discipline, 96 acceleration, 95 agility, 96 speed, and 92 durability.

So, even with a relatively average overall rating by this stage in NHL 20, Räty still boasts many very user-friendly ratings.

Those were the best prospects to come through the NHL 2021 Draft in this simulation on NHL 20 Franchise Mode. In the table below, you’ll find a few more prospects who are also worth a look – many of whom are real hockey players.

Name Potential Pick Nationality Overall Best Attributes
Zain Jang Elite med 1st Round (3) Swiss 85 94 Shot Blocking, Aggressiveness, Body Checking
Lars Klefbom Elite med 5th Round (154) Swedish 85 95 Offensive Awareness. 93 Passing. 92 Defensive Awareness
Carson Lambos Elite med 1st Round (10) Canadian 84 98 Durability. 97 Wrist Shot Power, Slap Shot Power
Joshua Roy Top 6 high 1st Round (9) Canadian 83 99 Discipline. 95 Slap Shot Power, Wrist Shot Power
Cole Sillinger Top 6 high 1st Round (7) Canadian 83 99 Discipline, Durability, Slap Shot Power, Wrist Shot Power
Francesco Pinelli Top 6 med 1st Round (11) Canadian 82 99 Slap Shot Power, Wrist Shot Power. 97 Discipline
Connor Lockhart Top 6 med 2nd Round (32) Canadian 82 99 Discipline. 96 Slap Shot Power, Wrist Shot Power
Tristan Lennox Starter med 4th Round (95) Canadian 75 98 Durability. 90 Agility, Speed

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