NHL Entry Draft set to go tonight; will there be any trades

sabres jack eichel
Mar 7, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) controls the puck against the New York Islanders during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the NHL Entry Draft will begin tonight at 8 PM ET. It will be broadcast on ESPN2 in the U.S. and Sportsnet in Canada. What’s interesting to note is that this is an NHL production, similar to the Expansion Draft even though it’s being broadcast on an ESPN channel.

In other words, ESPN’s production team has yet to produce a show, aside from lending its on air talent. This was indicated by ESPN’s John Buccigross on NHL Radio yesterday.

On Saturday, rounds 2-7 will begin at 11 AM ET, and be broadcast on NHLN and Sportsnet.

NHL Entry Draft: Top picks going back to school?

This has been a challenging 18 months for scouting staffs all over the league. A majority of the players in the draft have only been seen only on video tape. Thus it’s possible teams’ draft charts are all over the place.

One thing seems certain and that is there’s consensus on who many of the top prospects are. Michigan’s Owen Power is the clear cut favorite to go first overall, and his teammate center Matthew Beniers is likely to go second.

The big question for anyone selecting these players is if they will play make the jump to the NHL or stay in school. It’s a factor for the Buffalo Sabres who won the Draft Lottery.

“I wouldn’t say I’m committed to going back to school. I’m leaning towards it right now, but that’s obviously something I’ll have to talk to with whichever team drafts me,” Owen Power said. “I’ll be looking into it more after I get drafted.”

nhl entry draft
Owen Power (photo: Michigan Athletics)

The Seattle Kraken could be facing a similar situation as the Sabres. Projected number two pick overall, center Matthew Beniers is also considering a return to college.

“I’m definitely leaning towards coming back,” Beniers said. “We’re going to have a really good group, a lot of good players, and we’re going to get a real run at a national title. I definitely want to win a Big Ten championship and kind of do that whole college thing after getting closed down last year because of COVID.”

NHL.com

Same can be said for the fourth ranked prospect, Luke Hughes who is the younger brother of the Devils, Jack Hughes. Coincidentally, New Jersey currently holds the fourth pick in the draft. Hughes already committed to play for Michigan.

Will we see trades tonight?

There’s a lot of intrigue and expectations for trades to take place tonight. Sadly, when there is this much anticipation for fireworks we seem to be let down with maybe one team lighting a birthday candle at best.

The Sabres have said for months they want another top 10 pick for Jack Eichel. One team rumored to be in on the disgruntled superstar are the Rangers. They have been rumored to be looking to move up in the draft. Is that for an Eichel trade?

Anaheim holds pick three. Will they trade it with Trevor Zegras to land Eichel? Or what about Minnesota who are reportedly making an offer? For all we know, Eichel may still be a Sabre after this draft.

And what about the Blue Jackets? Are they going to trade Seth Jones tonight? Or what about the Blues who have a star in Vladimir Tarasenko that wants out.

This draft has the possibility to be one hell of a show tonight, unless Frank Seravalli spoils it again.