By Austin Broad
FCHockey Contributor
There will be more misses than hits at the 2021 NHL Draft. History has shown this.
It’s a law of diminishing returns, too.
The later in the draft you get, the longer the odds that your pick-turned-prospect will blossom into an NHL player, much less an NHL star.
And whether you feel the 2021 NHL Draft class is lacking in punch, power, or prestige, it isn’t without its intrigue.
Undoubtedly, most prospects will fizzle. It’s the nature of the game. But some will hit, blossoming into an NHL player that’ll leave fans and organizations alike wondering what one team saw that 31 others didn’t. Many of those will come beyond the first round.
With that, here are five targets from the class that could hit, and your team should consider selecting in the sixth round of the 2021 NHL Draft:

Joona Korhonen, LW, KooVee (Mestis)
FCHockey Rank: 170

Joona Korhonen is a speedy winger who possesses high-end skating ability, using his footwork and quick crossovers to accelerate quickly. Already a high-end skater, he has room to refine his skating and add even more speed to his game. Korhonen can produce in multiple ways, too. He can find open teammates in high-danger areas or he can work off the puck to get open in the slot to create his own scoring chances. He put up 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in U20 action, as well as appearing in 13 games in Finland’s second-tier pro league.
At this point in the draft, you’re just hoping your team grabs a prospect with any sort of NHL upside. With Korhonen’s motor and skillset, he projects as a potential NHLer and you want worth a shot at this stage of the draft.
“Korhonen has a lot of speed and a high compete level that make him look like a great project,” FCHockey scout Curtis Schwartzkopf said. “He never takes a shift off and is one of those players who doesn’t lose speed when carrying the puck. While he’s a bit raw, Korhonen has the base skills and size to be an NHL player provided he’s allowed to develop properly.”

Francesco Arcuri, C, Kingston (OHL)
FCHockey Rank: 171

Despite the OHL losing its season because of the pandemic, Francesco Arcuri was able to get a loan to Linz of the Alps Hockey League in Austria. The speedy forward shows flashes of offensive talent, using his skating and awareness to create separation from the opposing defense. Arcuri, who recorded nine goals and six assists in 18 games, projects more as a complimentary piece than a play driver but has the skillset that warrants a late round pick.
His stock may have been a little higher had the OHL season went on as planned, as the Kingston Frontenacs are a team on the rise. For now, Arcuri seems to have enough upside to be a sixth-round pick worth getting excited over.
“Arcuri is decent at keeping up with plays and is able to set teammates up really well for scoring opportunities,” FCHockey scout Olivia McArter said. “He is able to see where his teammates will end up, and make smart passing plays.”

Arvid Sundin, LW, Brynas J20 (J20 Nationell)
FCHockey Rank: 179

Arvid Sundin brings a highly energetic, frenzied pace to the game using his skating to make an impact. When he’s on the ice, he’s rarely standing still. Sundin always keeps his feet moving so he can create an opportunity for himself to open up a lane for a teammate. He didn’t have the best production, scoring seven points (six goal, one assist) in 15 games for Brynas J20.
He’s a hard worker, but his decision making needs some work if he wants to be a consistent performer at the next level.
“He is a player with good speed, on both short and long distances, and when he doesn’t succeed offensively you can always count on him by working hard, finishing hits and making it difficult for opponents out there,” FCHockey scout Fredrik Haak said.

Noah Meier, D, GC Kusnacht (SL)
FCHockey Rank: 187

Noah Meier is a solid prospect who really put himself on the map with his showing at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. He’s an offensive-minded blueliner who plays on his toes and loves to start his team’s attack in the transition game. Meier has great straight-line speed and can accelerate quickly even with the puck on his stick, playing in Switzerland’s second tier pro league he scored 20 points (one goal, 19 assists) in 35 games.
His playing style fits perfectly for the new-aged offensive defender. If you’re team takes Meier they’re getting a player who can potentially turn into a contributor at the NHL level, and at worst will bring some depth into the minor levels of the organization.
“Meier will take some time to pan out if he’s selected on draft day, but if an NHL team can build up his strengths on offense, he could be a solid depth contributor at the next level,” FCHockey scout Dylan Galloway said. “His skating allows him to join the rush often and be an effective transition player.”

Marcus Almquist, C/W, HV71 J20 (J20 Nationell)
FCHockey Rank: 193

If nothing else, Marcus Almquist is a fun player to watch. He’s quick on his feet and has great agility allowing him to quickly move in any direction on the ice. When he has the puck on his stick, he attacks the high-danger areas and has high-end puck skills to create in multiple ways.
Playing in the J20 league in Sweden, Almquist had great production in his draft year. He scored 10 goals and added 13 assists in 19 games. Like any player this late in the draft, there’s a lot of areas that need to improve before projecting him to the NHL. The significantly undersized forward needs to get stronger in order to help him battle through bigger opponents, but his skill alone should get him picked.
“Almquist is quite an exciting player to watch at times, FCHockey scout Derek Neumeier said. “He plays with a ton of quickness and puck skill, and loves to take charge and try getting into dangerous ice. He’s worth drafting at some point because of the pure talent, but you also have to acknowledge the risks.”
here are five targets from the class that could hit, and your team should consider selecting in the seventh round of the 2021 NHL Draft:

Ilya Fedotov, RW, Nizhny Novgorod (MHL)
FCHockey Rank: 198

Ilya Fedotov is a highly talented offensive player who excels when the puck is on his stick. Every time he touches the ice, he has the potential to make something spectacular happen because of his elite-level puck skills and high confidence. He has the upside you want in a potential final round selection. In 54 MHL games, Fedotov scored 18 goals and added 20 assists in his draft year.
The biggest knock against Fedotov, who had 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) in 54 games in the MHL this season, lies in his physical traits. If he can improve on his strength and conditioning he has an high ceiling as a late round pick. Still though, Fedotov is a boom-or-bust type prospect.
“Fedotov shows some interesting flashes at times with his puck skill, playmaking and shooting,” FCHockey scout Derek Neumeier said. “He definitely does his best work on the power play, because if you give him room, he can beat you in different ways.”

Kalle Vaisanen, LW, TPS U20 (U20 SM-Sarja)
FCHockey Rank: 213

Kalle Vaisanen‘s physical stature makes him effective in the offensive zone, especially at the net-front. With his 6-foot-4 frame, Vaisanen can easily camp his body in front of the opposing goalies and create havoc in the slot. He has the potential to turn into an effective two-way player if he works on his skating and adds a little bit of weight to his 178-pound body.
Vaisanen, who scored 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in 30 games at the U20 level, has the offensive upside and physical traits that NHL teams covet in a late-round pick, and though you’re getting a project, he could turn into a very valuable depth piece in a few years.
“Vaisanen has good forechecking ability and applies pressure when appropriate at both ends of the ice,” FCHockey scout Curtis Schwartzkopf said. “Overall, with his size, compete level, and general strength for his positional awareness, Vaisanen certainly is a nice project an NHL team can let develop a few years.”

Ryan St. Louis, LW, USNDP
FCHockey Rank: 222

Ryan St. Louis is a speedy winger who brings a lot of pace and energy to the ice. With above-average skating ability, he’s capable of helping out in the transition game and putting pressure on opposing team’s defensive players when the puck is in deep. Playing for the US National Development Program, St. Louis scored 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in 50 games.
St. Louis, committed to the NCAA’s Northeastern University for next season, is the son of longtime NHLer Martin St. Louis, and being the offspring of an NHL legend adds some extra intrigue to the draft eligible. Lineage aside, though, St. Louis’ game on the ice is enough to warrant a final round selection.
“St. Louis is a dual-threat forward with great vision and a very effective shot, he is able to handle off-target passes and still get a quality chance on net,” FCHockey scout Dylan Krill said. “His one-timer will make him an attractive target for team’s needing help on their power play, but he will need to continue to improve his game away from the puck.”

Hugo Gabrielsson, D, Halmstead Hammers (HockeyEttan)
FCHockey Rank: 224

Hugo Gabrielsson is a very smart defender who has the skills to play both an offensive or defensive style. He can adapt his game to fit with the partner he’s playing with that night, though he does look more comfortable and effective when playing the offensive role with his above-average skating and capable transition game.
Playing in Sweden’s third tier pro league Gabrielsson had seven points (three goals, four assists) in 24 games. The production doesn’t jump off the page, but for a kid playing against men in a pro league it is nothing to scoff at.
“He’s smart and crafty and confident with the puck, and he has the skill to pull off some of the risky stuff he tries,” Neumeier said. “He also has trouble fighting off checks, both of which hurt his ability to exit his zone with possession, which would need to be an important part of his game at the NHL level because his off-puck play is not a strength. There’s a lot of boom-or-bust to him, but you could do a lot worse with a late-round pick.”

Xavier Simoneau, C, Charlottetwon (QMJHL)
FCHockey Rank : 237

Xavier Simoneau is a very gifted offensive player; he works hard every time he’s on the ice and possesses high-end playmaking abilities allowing him to be an effective offensive facilitator. With his speed and agility he’s dangerous in transition and can create offensive pressure off the rush. Playing for Drummondville last season, Simoneau scored 37 points (10 goals, 27 assists) in 27 games.
As a 2001-birthyear, Simoneau is an overager for the 2021 draft but with his high level offensive upside and production in the QMJHL, the undersized forward could garner some attention for himself.
“An energized, competitive and talented playmaker who is willing to do anything that puts his team in a favourable position to win, Drummondville’s captain leads by example,” FCHockey scout Andy Lehoux said. “His tremendous creativity, rapid decision-making and superb quickness allowed him to execute ingenious in traffic and evade pressure smoothly.”
Austin Broad is a scout and contributor at FCHockey
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