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MHN 2024 NHL Mock Draft: First-Round Picks (No.1-No.32)

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Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft

The 2024 NHL Entry Draft is expected to be a wild weekend filled with unpredictable decisions. With NHL betting odds pegging Macklin Celebrini as the uncontested 1st-overall pick, the draft can seemingly go in any direction as of the 2nd overall pick.

Writers Marco D’Amico and Franck Bernard decided to get in on the fun and give their takes on how the 2024 NHL Draft will unfold.

1. San Jose Sharks: Macklin Celebrini, C

Without any surprise, the projected consensus first overall centerman Macklin Celebrini goes as soon as the NHL Entry Draft opens.

Celebrini is a responsible, two-way forward with high-end scoring skills, who can elevate his game when the going gets tough. He’s a complete player who will expedite the Sharks’ reconstruction. He and other high-profile Shark center prospect Will Smith will be a combo the Pacific Division will have to reckon with for years to come.

2. Chicago Blackhawks: Artyom Levshunov, RD

The Blackhawks have a big decision to make at second overall, and ultimately select the most complete defenceman in the draft in Artyom Levshunov. There was some strong consideration for other players like Cayden Lindstrom or Ivan Demidov, but being able to find a successor to Seth Jones as the future top-pair, right-shot D of the future was simply too tantalizing to resist.

In Levshunov, the Blackhawks have a future top pairing with Kevin Korchinski on the right side and would be able to focus their next pick of the draft on a forward, as well as future selections in 2025. Think of it as their shot at drafting a new-age Brent Seabrook.

3. Anaheim Ducks: Anton Silayev, LD/RD

With a few offensive-minded defencemen in the pipeline in Owen Zellweger, Pavel Mintyukov and Tristan Luneau, the Ducks won’t need the gigantic Russian defender to be a point-getter – which he doesn’t project to be. The 6-foot-7 defender can focus on the shutdown part of his game and contribute modestly to the offense, without feeling much pressure to.

While he’s a left-handed shot (and the Ducks could use a right-handed guy), he currently plays on the right side in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) – which offers GM Pat Verbeek some much appreciated flexibility.

By drafting him, they gain a unique blend of size, skating-ability, grit and skill that has very few comparables. If Noah Warren also pans out to round out the Anaheim defensive squad, they will have quite the physical defensive corps.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets: Cayden Lindstrom, C/LW

The Columbus Blue Jackets are perhaps the most difficult team to predict in this slot, mainly because they are pretty well stacked in every position in their prospect pool. That being said, one thing the Blue Jackets will look to do is get bigger, and there’s no better combination of size, speed and skill in this draft than Cayden Lindstrom.

After calming doubts about his back injury at the combine and having been taken out for supper by Columbus to boot, it’s easy to see why the staff like the idea of a one-two puch of Lindstrom with top-prospect, Adam Fantilli. The Blue Jackets would be set down the middle for years to come and could focus on filling out the rest of their lineup.

5. Montreal Canadiens: Ivan Demidov, RW

Kent Hughes acknowledged his team could use an influx of high-end skill. By selecting Demidov, they immediately address that need, which is one of the hardest to fill.

While it will remain to be seen whether the flashiness and dominance he’s displayed in the MHL will eventually translate to the NHL, the signs are encouraging: Demidov’s edgework, silky mitts and precise, heavy wrister are all NHL-worthy. There are some questions about his north-south skating speed, which could be improved, but it’s definitely something the Habs brass will want him to address before donning the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge.

MUST READ: Pre-Draft Nerves Improve Odds Demidov Could Be Available To The Canadiens

He’s expected to play next season in Russia, so it’s likely that when he comes over in 2025-26 he will need a full season to adjust to North American hockey. In other words, expectations must be tempered. That being said, he immediately becomes the best prospect in the Montreal Canadiens ranks, all positions included – something to be absolutely thrilled about.

6. Utah “Hockey Club”: Beckett Sennecke, RW

The biggest riser in the 2024 NHL Draft, Beckett Sennecke is the surprise pick at this stage of the draft, which isn’t shocking if you follow the way the former Arizona Coyotes have drafted over the years. After selecting the likes of Dimitri Simashev and Danil But, Utah adds another big piece to their core in Sennecke, who is now listed at 6-foot-3 and 182 pounds, to better insulate the smaller core players like Logan Cooley and Mattias Macelli.

As he continues to fill out his frame, after a wild growth spurt saw him gain 5 inches in 18 months, Sennecke could become that prolific power forward that teams pay dearly to acquire.

7. Ottawa Senators: Zayne Parekh, RD

The defenceman with the highest offensive production in junior makes his way to Ottawa, where they will be looking at him to fill the role of powerplay quarterback and first-pairing partner for Jake Sanderson.

Routinely compared to Erik Karlsson due to his offensive creativity from the back end,  it’s only fitting that the young right-handed shooter gets his named called by the Sens.

Parekh was elected Defenceman of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), on top of leading his team to a Memorial Cup victory against a well-oiled London Knights team. Parekh also led the OHL in points for a defenceman with 96, a whopping 23 more than his closest pursuant.

8. Seattle Kraken: Zeev Buium, LD

After three years of selecting forwards with their top picks, the Seattle Kraken draft their top-pair general of the future in Zeev Buium. There’s a player in this draft that has had a more successful season than Buium, winning World Junior gold and an NCAA Title, and this at the tender age of 17.

As a true freshman, meaning he played int he NCAA a year earlier than usual, Buium not only showed he was a force on the defensive side of the puck, he also led the entire NCAA in scoring for a defenceman; tied with Lane Hutson. As the Kraken look to funnel in some much-needed talent on their back-end, they have a piece they can build around for the next decade in Buium.

9. Calgary Flames: Sam Dickinson, LD

While the temptation to select team special advisor and legendary former player Jarome Iginla’s son must be unbearably high, the appeal of Sam Dickinson, touted as the draft’s most well-rounded and projectable defenceman, should prevail.

After a strong Memorial Cup showing further cemented him as one of the top defencemen of his class, there is little doubt he will be gone in the top 10, in June. The 6’3 left-hand shot plays with poise, pace, intent and has all the intangibles of a good leader that puts the team on his back, when all chips are down.

There will be heartbreak for some of the Flames faithfuls, but he will quickly become a fan-favourite.

10. New Jersey Devils: Tij Iginla, LW/C

With Tij Iginla, the Devils add a prolific goal-scorer with a rare combination of skill and fiestiness that will help them get tougher to play against – one of the knock on their current team make up.

A pure goal-scorer with an impeccable work ethic, Iginla is a surefire top-six winger in the making that could play in all situations and will come up big in the crucial moments; a perfect piece to finalize their transformation into a top team in the East, for years to come.

11. Buffalo Sabres: Carter Yakemchuk, RD

The Sabres drafted a few forwards with their recent first-round selections and have one of the best defensive left side of the league, so it makes sense for them to address the right side with Yakemchuk.

The 6-foot-3 right-handed defender loves to take flight and dangle his way accross the ice to set up plays in the opposing zone. He often makes defenders foolish in the process, as he possesses high-end deking abilities. He brings an interesting mix of grit, skill and skating that should complement Owen Power’s play perfectly and he could be a staple atop the second powerplay unit.

Yakemchuk is still raw, and will need to polish the defensive side of his game, but should be an effective NHLer before long.

12. Philadelphia Flyers: Berkly Catton, C

The Philadelphia Flyers run up to the podium and fill their biggest organizational need by selecting Berkly Catton. A destructive force in the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, Catton’s skill-level is comparable to many that were picked ahead of him, but his scoring ability is perhaps his most underrated quality.

Potting 54 goals in just 68 games for the Spokane Chiefs, Catton was THE guy for his club this season. So much so, that he was routinely played over 25 minutes a night, all while playing the opposition’s best. Some concerns have emerged as to his ability to translate that game at the next level, but given his talent, he’s well worth the risk.

13. Minnesota Wild: Konsta Helenius, C

The Minnesotta Wild are in a spot where they simply need to pick the best player available at this rank, and Konsta Helenius becomes the clear target.

The two-way centerman is already playing against men in the Finnish Liiga and possesses a very mature game for his young age; meaning he could likely make the jump to the NHL sooner than later.

As the Wild are reportedly shopping Marco Rossi for help elsewhere in their lineup, scooping up Helenius would be a great way to fill that potential void.

14. San Jose Sharks (via PIT): Adam Jiricek, RD

After getting future star centermen in Macklin Celebrini to play shotgun with 2023 first-rounder, Will Smith, the Sharks use their second first-round selection to bolster a pretty bare blue line with a bit of a gamble.

Adam Jiricek – who missed all games in 2024 due to a knee injury – was a highly-touted prospect before the start of the season. While his stock has dropped, San Jose can afford to roll the dice here, as they bank on earlier viewings of his abilities. David Jiricek’s (Columbus sixth overall pick in 2022) younger brother also has family pedigree.

Thes mobile, 6-foot-2 defenceman will likely be the first of many building blocks for San Jose’s defensive corps, as there’s a long way to go for GM Mike Grier’s scorched earth rebuild.

15. Detroit Red Wings: Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW

Perhaps the most effective and hardworking player in this draft, “MBN” burst onto the scene with his never-say-die attitude and his blue-collar style of play.

His steady improvement throughout the season, including an impressive conclusion to the year in HockeyAllsvenskan, has helped him keep pace witht he rest of this class and position himself as one of the more interesting packages in the draft.

He possesses a rare blend of skill, tenacity and hockey sense that make him the perfect two-way top-six winger moving forward, a type of forward that is currently lacking within the Red Wings’ depth chart.

16. St. Louis Blues: Cole Eiserman, LW

The slide finally ends for Cole Eiserman, as the St. Louis Blues pounce on the most dynamic goal-scorer in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Once seen as a lock to go second overall, Eiserman took a tumble down the standings to the the lack of development in the other aspects of his game, such as playmaking, defence and newutral-zone decision-making.

However, with Eiserman set to join Boston University in the fall, the Blues are banking on the young sniper being able to work on the finer aspects of his game and hit the NHL running in a couple of years.

17. Washington Capitals: Trevor Connelly, C

The Washington Capitals are never shy about picking players with some risk in the first round, be it for health reasons (Hendrix Lapierre & Iavn Miroshnichenko) or otherwise, and they do the same again here by picking Trevor Connelly.

There may be some concerns in regards to some off-ice issues that have come up in the past, as Connelly posted a swastika to social media when he was 16. He has since apologized and has taken steps to ensure he won’t go down the same road again.

The Capitals ultimately pounce on the best pure talent left on the board at this junction.Connelly’s hockey IQ and versatility on both ends of the ice make him a valuable asset for Washington’s future plans. With his blend of size, speed, and skill, Connelly has the tools to make a significant impact in the NHL, fulfilling the Capitals’ expectations as they continue to build for sustained success.

18. Chicago Blackhawks (via NYI): Liam Greentree, RW

The Chicago Blackhawks add some much-needed size up front by selecting Liam Greentree. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound winger was an absolute force in the OHL for the abysmal Windsor Spitfires, leading them in scoring with 36 goals and 90 points in just 64 games.

Greentree was not only able to lead his team in scoring (by a 24-point margin), but was able to deverisify his offence by tapping into his playmaking abilities with more regularity, helping to prop up his teammates in the process.

Although Greentree does have some mobility concerns, the Blackhawks have a plathora of small forwards with speed capable of compensating in that department.

19. Vegas Golden Knights: Stian Solberg, LD

The Vegas Golden Knights select rising defenceman Stian Solberg with a high pick in the NHL draft, marking a departure from their usual focus on forwards. Solberg, a highly touted defenseman, brings a blend of size, skill, and defensive acumen that aligns perfectly with Vegas’ aspirations to bolster their blue line. Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 205 pounds, Solberg possesses the physical attributes coveted in a modern defenseman, allowing him to excel in both defensive shutdown roles and offensive contributions.

Solberg’s development trajectory has been closely monitored, with his performance steadily improving across various junior levels in Norway. Known for his strong skating ability and smooth puck-moving skills, Solberg has garnered attention for his ability to transition the play effectively and contribute offensively when the opportunity arises. His defensive awareness and willingness to engage physically make him a well-rounded defenseman capable of handling the rigors of NHL competition.

20. New York Islanders (via CHI): Ryder Ritchie, RW

The New York Islanders make a strategic choice in selecting Ryder Ritchie, a highly skilled winger known for his playmaking abilities and elusive style on the ice.

Throughout the season, Ritchie demonstrated resilience and growth, overcoming a mid-season slowdown and injury setback to finish strongly, showcasing his ability to perform under pressure. His late-season resurgence and impactful playoff performance with the Raiders exemplify his determination and adaptability on the ice.

Ryder Ritchie’s addition to the New York Islanders’ organization gives them a nice boost of talent, without sacrificing the smaller details of the game.

21. Los Angeles Kings: Michael Hage, C

LA’s decision to draft Michael Hage underscores their commitment to adding versatile skill sets to their roster. Hage brings not only speed and agility but also a keen hockey sense that allows him to read plays effectively and capitalize on scoring opportunities. His ability to navigate through traffic and maintain control under pressure highlights his maturity and poise beyond his years.

With a knack for creating scoring chances both for himself and his teammates, Hage has the potential to become a key contributor to the King’s offensive strategies in the seasons to come.

22. Nashville Predators: Alfons Freij, LD

The Predators take a chance on Alfons Freij, a Swedish 6’1 mobile defenceman that loves to join rushes and support the transition into the offensive zone with his impressive skating ability.

Freij is a project with raw offensive skills that will need to improve his defensive habits and consistency. However, he’s one of the smoothest skaters of this draft, and has lots of upside – something GM Barry Trotz likes to prioritize over safer bets, when it comes to prospects.

23. Toronto Maple Leafs: Sacha Boisvert, C

Toronto wastes no time jumping on Sacha Boisvert, locking up their future third-line center and injecting some much-needed talent and toughness down the middle in their prospect pool. Boisvert plays a hard-nosed type of hockey that the Leafs currently lack in their prospect pool, while flashing some impressing shooting abilities on the rush with open space.

As he heads to the NCAA, Boisvert will be looked to take his offensive contributions up a notch, further tapping into the goal-scoring ability ability that made him one of the best plasyers in the USHL this season.

24. Colorado Avalanche: Igor Chernyshov, LW

Igor Chernyshov brings a dynamic presence to the Colorado Avalanche as a forward, showcasing a blend of size, skill, and versatility. Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 185 pounds, Chernyshov possesses the physical tools necessary to excel in the NHL. Known for his strong skating ability and puck handling skills, he has the capability to navigate through traffic and create scoring opportunities.

Chernyshov has impressed scouts with his offensive instincts and ability to contribute in various situations on the ice. He has shown promising development in his offensive game, demonstrating a knack for both setting up plays and finishing scoring chances. By selecting Chernyshov, the Avalanche aim to bolster their forward depth with a player who brings both scoring touch and some size on the wings, positioning him as a valuable asset for their future campaigns in the NHL.

25. Ottawa Senators (via BOS): Jett Luchanko, C/RW

Ottawa’s selection of Jett Luchanko brings an exciting prospect to their roster, particularly noted for his impressive speed, agility, and quick acceleration. His ability to swiftly create separation from opponents in high-pressure situations speaks volumes about his on-ice awareness and skating prowess. What sets Luchanko apart is his composed demeanor under pressure, showing remarkable calmness and poise even in tight spots, which is crucial for maintaining control and making smart decisions on the ice.

Luchanko’s deceptive playmaking skills add another dimension to his game. Being able to mislead defenders and effectively distribute the puck can significantly enhance offensive opportunities for his team. This skill set not only demonstrates his technical abilities but also his understanding of the game flow and strategic positioning.

For Ottawa, selecting a player like Luchanko who combines speed, agility, calmness under pressure, and adept puck distribution promises to bolster their lineup with versatility and playmaking ability.

26. Montreal Canadiens (via WPG): Emil Hemming, RW

After selecting Ivan Demidov, the Habs now add another winger, this time with a more north-south approach to his game, and select Finnish power forward, Emil Hemming. Listed at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Hemming plays with good speed, making him a lot to handle during rushes. He also has a knack for finding soft spots on the ice from where to releases a heavy, precise one-timer, particularly potent when given powerplay duties.

The Canadiens’ don’t have many skilled, big-bodied prospects who project like NHLer in their ranks, as players like Luke Tuch, Florian Xhekaj and Emil Heineman are seemingly long shots to break into the league at this stage of their career. He’s a welcomed addition.

27. Carolina Hurricanes: Andrew Basha, LW

Andrew Basha is a crafty and shifty playmaking winger that has a knack for finding the right angles of pursuit when forechecking the opposition, creating lots of turnovers and havoc in the offensive zone.

Basha, who has a somewhat slight build at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, uses his smarts to avoid and evade pressure and is effective at winning 50/50 puck battles. But the elusive winger can still fill the net, as his 30 goals in 63 games show. Do the Hurricanes – who have a fantastic track record for finding gems outside of the top-15 – unearth another one with this underrated winger?

28. Calgary Flames (via VAN): Cole Beaudoin, C

The Flames grabbed defenceman Sam Dickinson earlier in this draft and now elect to add a forward prospect who is cut from a similar cloth: an easily projectable, coach’s pet.

Beaudoin is a relentless forechecker that uses his big 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame to win board battles and establish net-front presence. His work ethic is flawless and he projects as a very serviceable third (or fourth) line center that can help zone breakouts and shut down the opposition when games are close. He may never be a prolific goal-scorer, but his contribution can help teams win games in areas that don’t show up on the scoresheet. With an aging Mikael Backlund and the loss of Elias Lindholm, GM Craig Conroy will be glad to inject some center depth in the Flames’ pipeline.

29. Dallas Stars: Marek Vanacker, LW

The Dallas Stars make a bold move in the 2024 NHL Draft by selecting Marek Vanacker, a highly touted prospect known for his combination of size, speed and skill. This pick addresses the Stars’ ongoing need to add skill and creativity to their roster, particularly among their forward group. Vanacker, known for his speed and hockey sense, brings a level of excitement and potential that aligns perfectly with Anaheim’s vision for the future.

Standing at 6-foot-1 and possessing a strong skating ability, Vanacker is not only quick on his feet but also adept at finding open spaces on the ice. His playmaking skills are a standout feature, with a knack for setting up scoring chances and making quick, accurate passes. These attributes make him a valuable asset in today’s NHL, where speed and skill are increasingly crucial. What makes Vanacker’s selection even more promising for the Stars is his versatility. He can play both center and wing effectively, giving Anaheim flexibility in lineup decisions and depth across different forward positions.

30. New York Rangers: Terik Parascak, RW

Parascak’s ability to magically appear at the right moment for a juicy rebound or in a soft spot of the ice left unchallenged for a high-danger scoring chance gives the illusion he has a sixth sense for positioning. It’s no wonder he’s had the continued offensive success he’s enjoyed this season with 105 points (including 43 goals) in the WHL, as a rookie.

With a late selection, taking a flyer on high hockey IQ and top notch finishing ability over skating deficiencies is a good bet that could look tremendous down the road.

31. (TBD) Anaheim Ducks (via EDM): E.J. Emery, RD

The Anaheim Ducks made a savvy move in the 2024 NHL Draft by selecting EJ Emery, a promising defenseman from the USNDTP. It’s a smart fit for them as they look to bolster their defensive corps on the right side. Standing at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Emery brings the size and strength needed to handle the rigors of NHL play and fit into GM Pat Verbeek’s preferred style of play.

His ability to read plays and position himself effectively on the ice makes him a reliable presence in shutting down opposing offenses and supporting his team defensively. The Ducks’ selection of Emery not only addresses their immediate need for defensive depth but also secures a player with the skills and potential to develop into a significant contributor for years to come.

32. (TBD) Philadelphia Flyers (via FLA): Dean Letourneau, C

GM Danny Brière adds another brick to build his team’s center line with 6-foot-7 Dean Letourneau, one of the most intriguing prospect of this draft. The appeal of a giant pivot that can play with a mean edge and rip the puck is enticing.

While he likely won’t be the next Tage Thompson, his upside is unknown, as the uncoordinated forward will need to put a lot of components of his game together. He could become a very serviceable bottom-six contributor if he stagnates, but could also shock the hockey world and grow into an unstoppable power forward if he is successful. A fun gamble to close the first round of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

 

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