First off, I hope you and yours are all doing well. This year has been really strange, really frustrating, and above all, just really hard. The COVID-19 Pandemic has been an extremely difficult adjustment for many, and to all our medical professionals out there, you're all just a bunch of heroes. I honestly don't know what day it is most days anymore, but regardless of what's going on in the world, hockey seems to be stumbling along around the world adapting as things shift and change just like the rest of us. It's been unique so far, but luckily there's been enough to watch and track where I feel somewhat confident about at least the first 3 tiers of players for the 2021 Draft. As of time of writing (November 18, 2020), I've gathered data on 43 skaters across 54 games played, which granted is a small sample, but all of these players are players I've laid eyes on over the last two seasons, and many of these are players I've tracked data on so far this season.
If you're a Patron of the project, you can view my rankings as they change over the year, with the full rankings at the $25 tier along with my full data sheet of >700 skaters and goaltenders' data. A demo version of the rankings and full data sheet is available at the $5 tier and above.
If you're new here, I generally tend to think of my rankings in "Tiers", which attempts to group players into a pool from which I feel the order could be interchangeable, with the numbers ordering the players as how I might push for them in a draft discussion. I find that it creates much more balanced and nuanced discussion, especially considering these players are so young and may have wildly different potential trajectories that may differ reasonably depending on which NHL organization picks them up.
Before we get started with a list, I'd just like to put a calm reminder out there to please be selfless and look out for yourself, your family, and your community by wearing a mask, washing/sanitizing your hands, staying distant, staying within your household as much as possible, and when the time is right, receiving whatever vaccine is available. This virus is horrible and has taken far, far too many lives. Protecting yourself, yours, and those who you many never encounter starts with you.
Alright, behold. Scouching's Top-31+ preliminary rankings for the 2021 NHL Draft. Please keep in mind that Pick224 doesn't seem to be updated for this season, so the metrics derived from Dave's data mining is not available. Also, data streams and sample sizes are all over the place, so take the metrics with a salt mine's worth of salt.
Tier 1 - ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This could very easily be ordered very, very differently come the 2021 NHL Draft. It might honestly come down to what style of play you just... like.
Tier 2 - ...More Like Tier 1B
Tier 3 - One Small Step Down
It's a weird group. I don't really see the drop in talent levels that we've seen in recent years, and the talent seems to be coming from all over the world more than before. It feels as if instead of a certain team or country having "their guy" to compete with Canada's best, many countries are developing better and better talent more and more as time goes on, which is clouding this year's draft. Let me also just say that 2022 looks to be similar. There are a lot of "Glitter Players" that have caught my eye in tracking this year that are eligibles next year, and they're everywhere. The interconnectivity and globalism provided in modern society seems to be leveling the playing field significantly. I mean, the oldest players on this list would've been around 4 years old when I got a Facebook account. They likely don't remember a time before YouTube and high speed internet connections where anyone can share tips and information as they please to the whole world. Judging by the breadth of interesting talent for the 2021 Draft, I don't really mind.
Thank you very much for perusing this, I hope you enjoyed, and please remember to look out for yourself and everyone else by taking the proper COVID precautions and being careful with your risk management. It might save a life you may never meet, and it may save the life of someone you love.