The 2021 QMJHL Entry Draft is set to take place virtually this weekend beginning with round one on Friday night at 7:30pm. All 20 picks of the first round will be streamed live via the QMJHL’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Rounds two through 14 will begin Saturday morning at 10am, with the American Draft taking place later that same day.
The Saint John Sea Dogs hold a total of 10 picks this draft including the final pick of the first-round, 20th overall (CHA). The Sherbrooke Phoenix hold the first overall selection after winning the draft lottery earlier this year.
Historically the Sea Dogs have only selected 20th two times. The first occurred in their inaugural draft in 2005 selecting Ryan Sparling and the second in 2006 drafting Pascal Amyot. While in a typical year only the first 18 picks would be considered ‘first round’, Shawinigan and Victoriaville received additional first round picks in compensation for players who did not report last season.
Last year’s first round picks for the Sea Dogs, forward Leighton Carruthers (3rd overall) and defenseman Nathan Drapeau (15th overall), both spent their entire rookie season with Saint John logging 30 and 32 games, respectively.
“We are looking forward to adding some important pieces to our future and welcoming some great young men and their families to our family here in Saint John,” said Sea Dogs President & General Manager, Trevor Georgie. “We have a very healthy bank of assets over the next few drafts and quality players in all age groups. Accumulating assets and drafting well makes for long-term stability, and it also gives us the flexibility to add important pieces via trade as we did earlier this week. It has been a tough year, but our scouts have worked tirelessly, and these young players and their families have waited a long time, and with great anticipation, for this weekend. We hope that everyone is rewarded and recognized for the work and commitment they have put in.”
The draft is always speculative and this year the variables are cranked up to eleven. Players based in Quebec saw the entire 2020-21 Midget AAA season scrapped while Maritimes-based teams played a reduced schedule. Out of the QMJHL CSR’s final draft rankings, only one of the top five ranked players saw any game action this season. Scouts and General Managers will have the tough task of evaluating players based off games played in 2019-20.
“We’ve watched hundreds of hours of video for this draft,” explained Sea Dogs Head Scout and Assistant General Manager, Anthony Stella. “Luckily, we were able to see some players live who actually had seasons. It’s an unfortunate year because so many players didn’t get to showcase themselves, but that’s what also makes this draft so exciting. If you looked at each team’s top 10-20, they will be completely different. Talking with agents it seems 30 different players could be drafted in the top 10. I don’t anticipate Central Scouting’s list will be a good reflection of how the actual draft will go; I’d expect it to be all over the place.”
The QMJHL Central Scouting’s final draft list for 2021 can be found here.
The full draft order can be found here.
The annual CHL Import draft will take place on Wednesday, June 30th at noon. Saint John hold’s the 22nd and 82nd overall selections in that draft, while the QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau holds the first overall pick. With Vladislav Kotkov aging out of junior hockey, the Sea Dogs’ roster has room for two import players. Saint John’s picks in 2020, forward Fyodor Svechkov and defenseman Jan Hampl, have yet to suit up for the Sea Dogs but remain eligible.
The full CHL Import Draft order can be found here.