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Winners and losers from the 2021 NHL Draft

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

July 25th, 2021

Winners

Cale Makar

Saturday was a terrific day for Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar. First, he signed a six-year contract extension for $54 million, making him the fourth-richest defenseman in the NHL by AAV. The 22-year-old Calder Trophy winner and Norris Trophy finalist will be free to pursue another big payday at age 28 too.

Then, with the 220th pick in the NHL Draft, the Avs selected Cale’s younger brother, Taylor Makar. That was just one of the many feel-good picks in the draft, as the New Jersey Devils united the brothers Hughes, while the Arizona Coyotes selected Shane Doan’s son, Josh.

Steve Yzerman

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman seemingly nailed the draft, and found an improvement in goal for cheap.

The Red Wings had two first-round selections, and took defenseman Simon Edvinsson at No. 6 and goaltender Sebastian Cossa at No. 15. Their later-round selections of Shai Buium, Carter Mazur, and Red Savage were well-received.

Finally, Yzerman acquired Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic from the Carolina Hurricanes for the rights to UFA Jonathan Bernier and a third-round pick. Detroit is still some time away from becoming a Stanley Cup contender again, but they took significant strides toward that goal over the weekend.

Losers

Columbus Blue Jackets

Seth Jones joined a long list of stars who wanted out of Columbus and got their way in recent years, as he was sent to the Chicago Blackhawks over the weekend.

The Blue Jackets were able to move up in the draft and select coveted center Cole Sillinger, but it has to be discouraging to Columbus fans to see yet another big name skip town in the aftermath of the Pierre-Luc Dubois deal. The team seems to once again be in rebuilding mode.

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres shed two of their better players over the weekend, sending center Sam Reinhart to the Florida Panthers and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The return for Reinhart was discouraging, as Buffalo got back former sixth-round draft pick Devon Levi and a 2022 first-round pick. The Flyers may have overpaid for Ristolainen by sending over a first-round and second-round selection, but it’s clear that the Sabres are (if possible) worse off than they were going into the draft.

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