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MHN Pre-Lottery 2024 NHL Mock Draft

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Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft

The 2024 NHL Draft Lottery is just around the corner, so MHN decided to simulate the outcome to predict what the first 16 picks could look like come June 28.

NHL betting odds heavily favoured the San Jose Sharks to select first overall, and, after a simulation on Tankathon, that’s exactly what happens; ensuring the Sharks retain their top spot. Luck then smiled on the Columbus Blue Jackets, who won the second lottery and will be picking 2nd overall.

The following selections are then based on regular-season standings.

The 2024 NHL Draft class is one of the most volatile after the 1st-overall pick. Let us know what you think below:

 

1. San Jose Sharks – Macklin Celebrini (C)

The San Jose Sharks walk away with the consensus #1 pick in the 2024 NHL Draft by selecting Macklin Celebrini.

As a true freshman with the Boston University Terriers, Celebrini powered his team to the Frozen Four thanks to his 32 goals and 64 points in just 38 games. On top of his strong offensive ability, it was Celebrini’s polished defensive game that surprised scouts the most, combining dynamic skill with elite hockey sense to dominate the play over 200 feet.

His exceptional performances earned him the Hobey Baker trophy as the most exceptional player in the NCAA, and San Jose is hoping he can become their MVP for the next decade to come.

 

2. Columbus Blue Jackets – Ivan Demidov (RW)

Columbus wins the second lottery and jumps up to select the dynamic Ivan Demidov. The skilled winger was a menace in the Russian Junior League (MHL) posting 23 goals and 60 points in just 30 games.

With only one year left on his current contract and having indicated his desire to cross over to North America, the concerns over Demidov transitioning to the NHL are slim-to-none. The elite talent can take over a game on a dime with his excellent puck-handling and shooting ability. His shiftiness while on the rush will likely mesh well with franchise cornerstone Adam Fantilli, with the two likely forming one of the most formidable duos in the NHL for years to come.

3. Chicago Blackhawks – Artyom Levshunov (RD)

The Chicago Blackhawks may not have been as lucky this time around, but they still walk out of the NHL Draft with one of the most valuable players in the entire draft in Artyom Levshunov.

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound right-shot defenceman is exactly what the Blackhawks are missing in their prospect pool to ensure the proper replacement of Seth Jones and cement their defensive core moving forward. The Belarussian defenceman put up an impressive nine goals and 35 points in 38 games, which, if it wasn’t for Zeev Buium’s incredible freshman season, would be one of the best performances for a true freshman in recent memory.

But, Levhsunov isn’t just an offensive player; his sound two-way game is what has many scouts projecting the blueliner as a future top-pair type of defenceman that can help push you through the playoffs.

4. Anaheim Ducks – Konsta Helenius (C/RW)

Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek was adamant during his last press conference, the Ducks are looking to fill their needs for a right-shooting forward and a right-shot defencemen. With Verbeek looking to assemble a mature, gritty and dynamic offensive unit, the first surprise of this mock draft is the selection of Konsta Helenius at 4th overall.

Multiple sources have spoken to Anaheim’s strong appreciation for Helenius’ never-say-die playing style and his strong puck-carrying ability. The 17-year-old put up an impressive 14 goals and 36 points in 51 games in the Finnish Liiga for Jukurit, while playing a sound defensive game.

Talk at the most recent U-18s is that quite a few teams see Helenius as one of the few players in this draft that could be close to NHL-ready, and, the feeling is, that he would be able to slot in down the middle in Anaheim and grow with the emerging core as they look to pull themselves out of the basement of the NHL standings.

Given the draft board, Anaheim would also be a prime candidate to trade down if Helenius is indeed their guy, as he could be available a couple of picks later. But, as we often see in the top-10, teams just want to pick their guy and call it a day.

5. Montreal Canadiens – Cayden Lindstrom (C/LW)

The Montreal Canadiens are looking to add some skill and size to their forward ranks, and that’s exactly what they do in drafting Cayden Lindstrom.

The 6-foot-3, 210 lbs power forward burst onto the scene this year in the WHL, combining his rare package of size, speed and skill to terrorize his opponents along the boards and on the scoresheet. Lindstrom put up an impressive 27 goals and 46 points in just 32 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers this year, but had his season cut short by successive hand and back injuries.

Now on the mend and expected to make a full recovery, the 18-year-old looks primed to make a strong impact at the NHL level in the not-so-distant future.

6. Utah – Zayne Parekh (RD)

Utah starts off its new tenure in Salt Lake City with a bang by selecting one of the most dynamic defencemen left on the board in Zayne Parekh.

The 18-year-old defencemen put up one of the most impressive draft-eligible seasons in decades, posting 33 goals and 96 points in just 66 games. The shot-shot defenceman was one of the most dynamic players in all of Canadian Major Junior this year, displaying elite shooting and playmaking ability; something that’s sorely lacking in Utah beyond Sean Durzi.

It was worth noting that Utah had targeted David Reinbacher during the 2023 NHL Draft as they sought to acquire a top-flight right-shot defenceman in their organization; a position that was identified as a major need. By drafting Parekh, they not only fill that hole for the next decade, but a potential pairing for 2023 1st-rounder Dimitri Simashev could become one of the most intriguing in the West moving forward; giving the franchise its first true dominant defensive pairing since moving south of the border.

7. Ottawa Senators – Zeev Buium (LD) 

The Ottawa Senators are looking to overhaul their defensive core moving forward, and there isn’t a defenceman left in this draft with more of a winning pedigree than Zeev Buium.

The dynamic defenceman put up one of the best offensive performances of all time in the NCAA for a freshman, posting 11 goals and 50 points in just 42 games. He not only led all freshman defencemen in scoring, but the entire NCAA; a feat that hasn’t been seen in decades

But he isn’t simply just an offensive weapon, as Buium is known to raise his game in important situations, playing a a major factor in both Team USA’s World Junior Championship gold medal and Denver University’s NCAA title.

With uncertainty over the futures of Thomas Chabot and Jakob Chychrun, Buium could help the transition for the Senators as they look to remould their roster into a championship team.

8. Seattle Kraken – Anton Silayev (LD)

The Seattle Kraken have shied away from drafting defencemen with their top picks since coming into the league, but, with Anton Silayev still on the board, they simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to draft their potential #1 defenceman of the future.

The 6-foot-7, 207-pound defenceman was a force in the KHL this season for Torpedo. Playing mostly top-pairing minutes in the KHL as a draft-eligible defenceman is basically unheard of, and Silayev seamlessly transitioned into the role; playing an aggressive two-way game predicated on strong anticipation and physical dominance.

A home run pick for the Kraken.

9. Calgary Flames – Tij Iginla (C/LW)

Another Iginla in Calgary? I don’t think anyone would object to that.

Tij Iginla is perhaps the most complete player available at this rank and fits perfectly with the type of style the Calgary Flames would like to emulate moving forward: Skill and passion.

After being traded to the Kelowna Rocket in the WHL last year, Iginla’s offensive performances took a massive leap. A vast improvement in his speed and shooting ability allowed the 17-year-old to get his shots off on the rush; helping to register 47 goals this season.

However, what makes Iginla that much more impressive as a prospect is his ability to step up for the big games. Iginla was Kelowna’s best player this year in the WHL playoffs, scoring nine goals and 15 points in just 11 games. He then followed that up with a strong performance for Team Canada, especially in the medal rounds, posting six goals and 12 points in just seven games en route to a gold medal.

The Flames need not overthink this one, Iginla is the perfect fit.

10. New Jersey Devils – Berkly Catton (C/LW)

One of the most dynamic forwards available on the board, Berkly Catton, who models his game after Devils superstar Jack Hughes, is a slum dunk selection for New Jersey.

The former 1st overall pick in the WHL Bantam draft not only met his expectations this season, he blew right by them, putting up 54 goals and 116 points in just 68 games this season for a very mediocre Spokane Chiefs.

Possessing one of the most dynamic skill sets in the entire draft, Catton can burn you in many ways; on the rush, in traffic or on the power play. Put the puck on his stick at your own peril.

11. Buffalo Sabres – Carter Yakemchuk

The Buffalo Sabres are absolutely loaded at every position you can imagine, except for right-shooting defencemen. And then they see Carter Yakemchuk just sitting there on the board and snap him up.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-shot defenceman was nothing less than a destructive force this season for the Calgary Hitmen. Not only was he an offensive weapon, posting 30 goals and 71 points in 66 games, but he was also one of the meanest and most physical in a league known for rough stuff.

Yakemchuk would be exactly the kind of defenceman that could jolt Buffalo’s tempered backend to the next level and bring a level of balance that hasn’t been seen in Buffalo since 2007.

12. Philadelphia Flyers – Beckett Sennecke

A late riser among many draft boards across the NHL, Beckett Sennecke has taken over during the OHL playoffs and it’s gotten the attention of quite a few NHL teams.

The 6-foot-2, 181-pound power forward has been on an upward development curve since the season began, but has truly taken off over the last three months, posting nearly two points per game since March for the Oshawa Generals.

As one of the few top forwards with the rare combination of size and skill, Sennecke uses his physical gifts to make room for himself on transition by protecting the puck and pushing through traffic. He also possesses a very impressive shooting arsenal, with one of the harder wrist shots in the draft.

With the Philadelphia Flyers looking to get heavier and meaner in their top six, Sennecke would be just what the doctor ordered.

13. Minnesota Wild – Sam Dickinson (LD)

Sam Dickinson is perhaps one of the biggest steals in this mock draft and he falls right into Minnesota’s lap.

Possessing true top-pair potential, Dickinson was a key cog in the London Knights’ two consecutive runs to the OHL Finals; playing a safe and physical game in the defensive zone, while having underrated offensive tools.

Putting up 18 goals and 70 points in 68 games for the offensive machine that are the London Knights, it’s the efficacy of Dickinson’s two-way game that makes him such a sure bet for greatness down the road. In a normal circumstance, he’d be a sure bet to be a top-10 pick, but the wealth of top defencemen in this draft pushed him just out of that range, and Minnesota is not complaining.

14. San Jose Sharks (PIT) – Cole Eiserman (LW)

With their second pick in the first round, San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier continues to show his penchant for New England hockey, first selecting Macklin Celebrini out of Boston University, and now selecting BU-commit, Cole Eiserman.

Perhaps the most gifted goal-scorer in this draft, Eiserman is one of the best pure goal-scorers to come through the draft since Cole Caufield. Speaking of Caufield, Eiserman just recently broke Caufield’s goal-scoring record with the USNTD, posting 127 goals in just 118 games; showing just how dominant he can be in shooting situations.

San Jose gladly takes a flyer on the young sniper, hoping to have secure Celebrini’s running man for years to come.

15. Detroit Red Wings – Trevor Connelly (LW)

The Detroit Red Wings continue to build up their roster with skill and few meet that billing quite like Trevor Connelly.

The 6-foot-1, 160-pound winger was a dominant presence for the Tri-City Storm in the USHL this season, posting 31 goals and 78 points in just 52 games; leading his team in scoring by a difference of 29 points.

He may be raw physically at the moment, but, after a few years of development, the Red Wings could have a very impactful top-six winger on their hands.

 

For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel

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morrisk

Its all speculation and NOTHING matters until the lottery picks are decided. Mock draft are meaningless with a lottery in effect.

Plus this sems like a “wishful thinking” application herein. Everyone seems to be wishing for Lindstrom, so naturally this Mock shows him landing at the Habs. NO WAY any team in front of the Habs looking for a top winger would take Helenius over Lindstrom…that’s a 1% chance. The only slight possibility of him still being available at #5 is if 2 Dmen are taken before the Habs pick…this may be a 10-20% chance.

I still go with Lindstom being gone by the time the 5th pick comes up. And especially gone if they pick at #6 or #7. And, they can’t pick at either #3 or #4, so its #1 or #2 if they move up. And that’s either Mac or Dem with those picks.

So unless they pick at #5 AND two teams before them pick Dmen, there is no way they get Lindstrom.

Here are the most likely scenarios:

#1 = Mac
#2 = Dem
#5 = Catton or Iginla
#6 = Catton or Iginla
#7 = crapshoot

Of course, they could pick another Dman themselves, then make a trade to obtain a young winger (like Newhook). I think the closer to #7 the pick is, the greater the chance a Dman is taken and a trade for a winger comes to fruition.

Tyrone

We actually have a 0.3% chance of picking 3rd under some bizarre scenario.

Pierre B.

The scenario is Philadelphia wins first lottery and Montreal, the second one.
Because PHI finished 12th and there’s a rule that says that a team can only climb 10 spots, they get the 2nd pick. This is why the second lottery winner only get the 3rd pick.

Tyrone

Thanks, Pierre. 👍

Pierre B.

Mock drafts are fun, but one needs to analyze many before one can form an opinion on the possibilities.
My approach was to analyse publicly available rankings (42 as of now) and read the information that percolated from the Canadiens’ entourage. My conclusions are as follows as to whom the Canadiens could pick at which rank, and the probability that the player would be available according to these rankings in parentheses:

#1 Celebrini
#2 Demidov
#3 Demidov (40.5%); if not, Lindstrom
#4 –
#5 Demidov (19.0%); Lindstrom (52.4%); Catton (85.7%); Iginla (99.9%)
#6 Demidov (11.9%); Lindstrom (38.1%); Catton (85.7%); Iginla (99.9%)
#7 Demidov ( 7.1%); Lindstrom (33.3%); Catton (52.4%); Iginla (95.2%)

Only if these 5 forwards are taken would the Canadiens consider Levshunov, Helenius or Eiserman. These probabilities are likely to change when more recent versions of the rankings will be available. Among others, Iginla relative success in the playoff, especially compared to Catton, has not been taken into account in most rankings. I believe that younger players like Iginla and Eiserman are often underrated.

Last edited 19 days ago by Pierre B.
morrisk

This makes sense. The hierarchy of the Habs pick…

Completely agree with this order…

But would add that there should be at least 2 Dmen taken by pick #6. So even if the Habs pick #7, they still likely get either Catton or Iginla.

Pierre B.

At least 2 defensemen taken in the top 5 occurs in 62% of the rankings surveyed.
Note that Eiserman is preferred to Iginla in 71.4% of the rankings, and Helenius is preferred to Iginla in 61.9% of the rankings. Iginla’s highest ranking is currently #6 in the surveyed rankings; this is why he is expected to be available. Again, final rankings will likely offer a different picture. Playoffs and the U18 WC have not been taken into account by most rankings. Iginla did quite well in both: U18 WC 6 G, 12 P in 7 GP; WHL playoffs 9 G, 15 P in 11 GP.

Tyrone

Wow, with 1116pts in a single season, you’d think Catton would be going 1st overall. 😂

Marc Dumont

Yeah but he’s so smol! (fixed, thanks!)

Tyrone

👍

morrisk

Yeah, same for Cole Caufield…

Tyrone

🤦‍♂️That makes no sense.

frank

Bro all your picks make no sense you should give up writing for hockey not only your players you put on the teams selecting os off big time but the order itself is off big time why don’t you put montreal 10th while your at it lol what a joke of a writer