NHL Draft Suragers: Five potential 2021 candidates include Xavier Simoneau, Josh Doan
Sometimes it’s just not your year. It happens. And, as they say, there is always next year.
Next year is now here for a handful of 2021 NHL Draft-eligible who have been ignored in previous seasons and are still waiting for their draft dream to come true. Whether it’s injury issues, height issues, lack of refined skill development or physical maturity, or any number of other red flags, sometimes a prospect needs to show a little bit of patience to finally put on that NHL cap and jersey.
NHL DRAFT 2021: five sleepers to watch
This year, like any other, will feature a plethora of players – often referred to as draft suragers – who will finally realize the next step in their hockey dream. And talent is not lacking among them either.
Here’s a look at five over-aged contenders who could very well see their names selected as early as possible in the July 23-24 draft.
Suragers in the 2021 NHL Draft
Janis Moser, D, Biel-Bienne (NL)
FC Hockey Rank: 133
There might not be a safer surager to pick in the 2021 draft than Moser, who is in his final year of draft eligibility. He also had the most development time.
The 21-year-old was promoted to captain of EHC Biel-Bienne in Switzerland’s top professional league and has improved by leaps and bounds in his last two qualifying seasons. He has 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in 48 games this season and stood out for Switzerland at the 2021 IIHF World Men’s Championship.
âMoser is a reliable defenseman who has decent skating skills and has improved his offensive skills,â said CHockey scout Dennis Schellenberg. “He plays a very safe and reliable game in his own zone without making any mistakes.”
That hasn’t always been the case with Moser, who also represented Switzerland as a teenager at the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Championship. Considering where his game has been the previous two years, it wasn’t much of a surprise that Moser wasn’t selected.
“He didn’t stand out for his style of play because he is passing safe and reliable in his own zone,” added Schellenberg. âIt’s not necessarily something that immediately catches the eye.
âOn the other hand, it has to be said that he has improved his attacking game a lot over the past two seasons and has started to take on more responsibility with the puck and has started to become a leader in his team. “
With some of his game’s issues corrected, Moser is a solid contender to be selected as one of the draft’s most mature prospects and a candidate to make a quick impact at the NHL level.
“Moser is a much more responsible player and comes back to play when the crisis time comes in games,” Schellenberg said. “He has been very strong offensively this season with EHC Biel and has taken his game to the next level.”
NHL DRAFT 2021: Final ranking of the first 32 | FCHockey in the top 300
Ethan Cardwell, AD, Surahammars (Hockey Ettan)
FC Hockey Ranking: 89
One of the youngest players in the 2020 NHL Draft, Cardwell was only two weeks away from being eligible for the 2021 class, so it’s no surprise he needed a little extra time to better complete his game.
Cardwell ended the 2019-20 season on a radiator with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, but it was his time in Sweden this season with Surahammars IF of HockeyEttan that really gave Cardwell the opportunity. to fulfill his NHL Draft dream.
âIn a deeper draft like the 2020 class, I think it was difficult for some of the more projected players to stand out,â said CHockey scout Dylan Galloway. “In my opinion, I think Cardwell was well worth a late pick last year, but he had a few warts in his game, which makes it understandable that a team would want to see him practice before picking him.”
After amassing 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) in 18 games, Cardwell has shown he wants to improve. He displayed a quick game which made life difficult for the opposition while still being productive in a professional league, albeit lower in Sweden.
âCardwell is a quick, aggressive frontman who looks like he can play like a devious puck recovery player in the bottom 6 of an NHL team,â said Galloway. âI also see Cardwell as a possibility for a penalty kill in the NHL because of his good speed and his aggression towards the puck carrier.
“The 2021 draft is not as deep as the previous draft and I think teams can consider resuming more often than they could in other years.”
Xavier Simoneau, C, Drummondville / Charlottetown (LHJMQ)
FC Hockey Rank: 238
Like Moser, Simoneau is entering his third round in the NHL Draft. Unlike Moser, Simoneau has failed to overcome his biggest question yet: size.
“No matter how much weight Simoneau adds to his frame, he will always stay at 5-7, which bothers some NHL teams,” noted CFH hockey scout Andy Lehoux. âAnd even though he has demonstrated above average skating skills and completely dominates his opponents in running races, the belief is that he will have difficulty adjusting to the next level.
The overabundant candidate preferred by many scouts a year ago, Simoneau has continuously shown that he can play a game of high intensity and offensive creativity at the QMJHL level. Scoring has never been a problem for the forward, who amassed 37 points (10 goals, 27 assists) in 27 games in 2020-21 and 89 points (28 goals, 61 assists) in 61 games the previous season.
The productivity and the will is there, suggested Lehoux.
âSimoneau is an energetic, competitive and talented playmaker who will do anything to put his team in a favorable position to win,â he said. âThe Drummondville captain sets the example, going 110 percent, 100 percent of the time.
âThere is definitely no guarantee that Simoneau will be drafted this year since his size is a major concern for the teams and he obviously did not grow all at once. That said, his incredible leadership and skills were in full view this season, which should have caught the attention of many. Simoneau deserves to be drafted, as he has done for the past two years.
Josh doan, AD, Chicago (USHL)
FC Hockey Ranking: 72
Perhaps no surager has shown greater improvement from one season to the next than Doan.
Son of Shane, the former mainstay of the Coyotes franchise, the young Doan amassed 70 points (31 goals, 39 assists) in 70 games to help the Chicago Steel of the USHL win the Clark Cup. That’s a remarkable jump of just 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 45 games he played in 2019-20.
“Doan struggled to produce offense during his draft year, and was not very big, and due to his size, he was not very efficient,” FCHockey scout revealed. Dylan Krill. âIn the offseason, Doan grew and added more weight that he really took advantage of. Being able to win more puck battles and become a very reliable defensive forward who added more skills to his game has allowed Doan to contribute and produce points on a consistent basis. “
Height (6-1, 183 pounds), a drive to improve that has led to massive skill development, coupled with a natural understanding of the game, should have Doan on the radar of most NHL teams in the past. 2021 draft.
âDoan is a two-way winger who brings skill, competitiveness and responsible decision making to every change,â said Krill. “He’s already playing the game with a pro mentality, understanding what it takes to play a full 200-foot game.”
James hardie, LW, Mississauga (OHL)
FCHockey rank: 99
The now 19-year-old will be an interesting overager to watch on day two of the draft. He didn’t dress up during the 2020-21 season, making him a bit of a wild card on draft day.
âUnfortunately, Hardie hasn’t been able to play in any league this season,â said Galloway. âBut the variability of this draft and having an almost complete previous season of play to look back on could give NHL teams a little more confidence in Hardie over other first-time qualifiers.
“Hardie was probably worth picking in 2020, and I think taking a chance in 2021 makes a lot of sense.”
He was productive in his 18-year season with the Mississauga Steelheads, recording 63 points (34 goals, 29 assists) in 59 games. Known for his high level of competition and attacking abilities, Hardie looked like a prospect who just needed more time to develop and refine his game.
Other than a brief stint at the PBHH Invitational in Erie, Pa. In May, Hardie didn’t have much lead to show any improvement.
Still, all of the work is still here for according to Galloway.
âHardie is a hardworking winger who has shown above average but raw offensive skills in his draft season and, if he develops to his cap, he could fit in as an attacking winger in depth for an NHL team, âhe said. âHis free skate needs improvement, but I felt his ability and edge work in tight spaces was a much better asset for him on the offensive end of the puck.
âAs a smaller player, I think Hardie needed to improve his overall skating as well as his ability to anticipate his teammate’s movements in the offensive zone. His offensive skills really blossomed in the second half of last season and I think if he could have shown that it wasn’t just a hot streak he might have been picked up later in the draft. 2020. “
Sporting News readers can get 25% off FCHockey 2021 NHL Draft Guide with the promo code SPORTINGNEWS. Unlock your savings at the cash desk!
Aaron Vickers is the editor of FCHockey.