Thursday, May 9, 2024

Post-Lottery Predictions Suggest Experts Split 50/50 On Result Of No. 2 Pick


It’s only been one day since it was announced that the Blackhawks were able to hang on to the No. 2 overall pick, but mock drafts from several so-called “experts” have already flooded the media. They obviously all have Macklin Celebrini being taken first overall by the Sharks, but when it comes to Chicago’s selection, the answer is far from unanimous. With six of the most notable outlets split between two big-name prospects, the experts have simultaneously told us plenty and nothing at all.

Ivan Demidov

There are still nearly two months until the NHL Draft, but from what we’ve seen so far, Russian forward Ivan Demidov is the second-best overall player in this class. The biggest concern with Demidov is that he’s under contract in the KHL for one more year, but if he were taken second overall, this season in Russia would likely be his last.

Demidov has shown every sign of being the cornerstone piece the Blackhawks’ rebuild needs. He’s a skilled playmaker who averaged two points per game in an impressive MHL playoff run before a lower-body injury cut his season short. Likely slotting into the lineup as a right-winger, Demidov would be a perfect fit to complement Connor Bedard on Chicago’s top line.

Demidov was the Blackhawks’ projected pick in mock drafts from the Athletic, the Daily Faceoff, and FloHockey.

Artyom Levshunov

There’s no defenseman in this draft class quite like Artyom Levshunov, the LHD from Michigan State. In a tough Big 10 conference, he led the conference champions in plus-minus at +27 on the year while tallying 35 points in 38 games. Levshunov is an excellent two-way blueliner with solid shooting and a strong power-play presence.

While GM Kyle Davidson has been known to simply take the best player available in the draft, it’s hard to ignore team needs when a situation like this is presented. While the Blackhawks’ blue line is quickly improving with the rise of young, talented stars like Alex Vlasic and Kevin Korchinski, there’s still a gaping hole at RHD in Chicago. This draft class is overflowing with top-tier defensive talent, but none compare to Levshunov.

Levshunov was the Blackhawks’ projected pick in mock drafts from TSN, SportsNet, and The Score.


It’s far too early to reliably predict what the Blackhawks will do with the No. 2 pick, but in Davidson’s shoes, Levshunov seems too difficult to pass up. It isn’t often that an elite prospect at the position of greatest need falls into a team’s lap, and Levshunov is as close to a sure thing as a prospect can be. There’s also obviously a chance the blueliner could contribute to Chicago earlier than Demidov, which is far from the biggest reason to take him but is still a factor.

Still, the Blackhawks can’t go wrong with either option. Both Demidov and Levshunov boast elite traits and great past production and the game of each should translate well at the next level. Whether they choose Demidov, Levshunov, or even another elite prospect, Chicago will be getting one of the biggest pieces of their nearly-completed rebuild.

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