COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Six Americans were selected in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft tonight, and for the second time in the last three years, two Americans were taken in the top five as the Seattle Kraken selected Matty Beniers (Hingham, Mass.) second overall, while Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) was chosen by the New Jersey Devils with the fourth pick.
For the fourth-straight year, an American was taken among the top five picks and for just the fifth time ever, two Americans were chosen among the first four picks in the Draft.
Beniers, who played for the University of Michigan in 2020-21, totaled 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points in 24 games played. On the international stage, he skated for the 2021 gold medal-winning U.S National Junior Team and also helped Team USA win bronze at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
Hughes, who played for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in 2020-21, joined his brother Jack, who was taken with the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft by the Devils. In addition, with brother Quinn chosen seventh by Vancouver in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Hughes brothers became the first trio of brothers in NHL history to all be drafted in the top 10.
After Hughes, the Ottawa Senators selected Tyler Boucher (Haddonfield, N.J.), who spent the 2020-21 season with the NTDP, as the 10th overall pick, while Matt Coronato (Huntington, N.Y.), the USHL’s leading goal scorer in 2020-21 as a member of the Chicago Steel, was selected by the Calgary Flames with the 13th pick.
The fifth American selected in the first round was Chaz Lucius (Grant, Minn.), who was selected 18th overall by the Winnipeg Jets and spent the 2020-21 campaign with the NTDP. The Florida Panthers followed up six picks later with Chicago Steel and future University of Michigan forward Mackie Samoskevich (Newton, Conn.).
The NHL Draft continues tomorrow (July 23) at 11 a.m. ET with rounds 2-7 and coverage will air live in the U.S. on NHL Network.
NOTES: The six players drafted represent six different states, including Connecticut (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1), New York (1), ... Four of the six American players drafted tonight have spent time with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program ... Four of the top five picks in tonight’s first round play or are committed to an NCAA program ... All six American players drafted have played in the USHL ... Five American players drafted tonight have participated in USA Hockey's annual BioSteel All-American Game ... Five players drafted skated in a USA Hockey Player Development Camp.