May 11, 2024

Post-lottery mock for the 2024 NHL Draft

Some fanbases have been firmly fixed on the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Others, understandably, took a little bit more interest in the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery and how the 2024 NHL Draft could mock up.

Makes sense.

While the playoffs are well underway and have been fantastic, the biggest post regular-season date for 16 teams was May 7 and the draft lottery. The San Jose Sharks, who entered with the best odds, exit with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft and the right to select Macklin Celebrini.

Those remaining general managers and scouts are facing a bit more uncertainty as to whom will be left on the board when they take to the stage at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

Here’s how the first half of that first round could unfold in FCHockey’s latest mock draft:

1. San Jose Sharks – Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University (NCAA)

The San Jose Sharks add to the future of their forward core which is starting to look like it has the potential to be incredible. With names like Will Smith, Quentin Musty, Kasper Haltunnen, William Eklund, and Thomas Bordeleau, the Sharks’ future down the middle is set up nicely. Celebrini, who won’t turn 18 until mid-June, truly has the complete offensive package. The Boston University forward is fast and light on his feet carrying the puck. He has a bomb of a shot coupled with a lightning-quick release and exudes confidence and creativity.

“Though Celebrini owns an excellent shot, he’s far more than just a goal-scorer. He’s a gifted playmaker who can find teammates with soft area passes or send crisp passes into high-danger areas to set up scoring chances. Celebrini is a smooth and skilled puckhandler, able to carry the puck through traffic, stick handle in tight spaces, and beat checks on the rush with his hands to open up space.”  – FCHockey crossover scout Brandon Holmes

2. Chicago Blackhawks – Artyom Levshunov, RHD, Michigan State (NCAA)

After going heavy on the forwards in last year’s draft, the Chicago Blackhawks are going to jump at the opportunity to draft the right-shot, two-way monster that is Artyom Levshunov. The Belarusian defender is an intelligent hockey player at both ends of the ice, showing professional habits, good defensive awareness, and a willingness to take opportunities to jump in the rush offensively. He’s likely the perfect defenseman to play alongside Kevin Korchinski in a couple of years.

“He is an elite passer with a well-above-average shot. He does everything at a super high level and very few mistakes. He possesses a high-level hockey IQ that allows him the ability to play as described. Levshunov is one of the top defensemen in the 2024 draft and is a blueliner to build a team around. He can be the anchor of a defensive corps for many years to come.” – FCHockey regional scout Chad Carlson

3. Anaheim Ducks – Anton Silayev, LHD, Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)

The Anaheim Ducks add to their ever-growing list of elite, high-potential defenders with Anton Silayev at third overall. One of the most intriguing prospects in this draft, the 6-foot-7 Russian defender shows promise at both ends of the ice. His 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 63 KHL games is a seemingly unimpressive stat line that turns into some solid offensive potential once you learn that those points make Silayev the highest-scoring 17-year-old in KHL history.

“There is a ton of potential to grow into as he gets further in the development. He is going to take some time before he is ready, but he is going to be one heck of a shutdown defender.” – FCHockey crossover scout Samuel Tirpák

4. Columbus Blue Jackets – Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)

For the second year in a row the Columbus Blue Jackets make off like bandits, selecting the player with debatably the second-highest potential in the draft outside of the top two picks. Ivan Demidov is an endlessly skilled, creative, dynamic, smooth, shifty, and fun winger. His offensive toolset knows no limits and he doubles as an elite playmaker and shooter. The superstar first line already forms itself with this pick, as he will be nuts alongside Adam Fantilli.

“I believe Demidov should be drafted within first six or seven picks of the 2024 draft, and his skillset suggests a lengthy, very successful career as a top-six playmaker that would be really productive and really reliable in transition and in terms of generating chances on a shift-by-shift basis.” – Tirpák

5. Montreal Canadiens – Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

The Montreal Canadiens add towering playmaking center, Cayden Lindstrom. He’s the perfect modern power forward, effortlessly blending his physical and technical prowess to be a danger in almost any offensive situation. The forward missed 36 regular season games but left quite the impression on scouts to remain a top-10 prospect all year long.

“Lindstrom is a well-rounded power center who blends his size, skill, and smarts to play a very projectable, pro-style game. What stands out with Lindstrom is the consistency in his reads in the offensive zone.” – Holmes

6. Utah Hockey Club – Zeev Buium, LHD, University of Denver (NCAA)

The Utah Hockey Club makes a splash with their first pick after relocation by drafting electrifying offensive defenseman Zeev Buium. Buium tore the NCAA apart this season as a freshman, racking up 50 points (11 goals, 39 assists) in 42 games, and securing a National title with Denver. He took the scouting world by storm in the Frozen Four, where he dominated the game at both ends of the ice by showcasing hard-hitting defensive hockey and elite skill and skating ability. There is a world where Buium becomes one of the top defensemen in the NHL down the road.

“Buium is an offensive-minded defender that thrives with the puck on his stick. He is a dominant transitional player, constantly being tasked with getting the puck up ice for Denver and doing so with regularity. His hands and skating allow him to evade attackers effortlessly at times. Once in the offensive zone, he has a heavy shot that can be a threat from anywhere in the zone.” – FCHockey crossover scout Kyle Pereira

7. Ottawa Senators – Zayne Parekh, RHD, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

The Ottawa Senators, criticized of late for not having hit at the draft since 2020, swing big with one of the highest offensive upside defensemen in 2024 in Zayne Parekh. The Canadian defender just got better and better as the season went on, producing new and even more impressive statlines every month, ending the season with a whopping 96 points (33 goals, 63 assists) in 66 games.

“Parekh is an offensive defenseman who is blessed with a lot of tools but doesn’t cheat the game on the defensive side of the puck. He is able to evade the forecheck with relative ease by using his edgework and tight turns, and he generates lots of speed with his crossovers” – FCHockey crossover scout Aaron Vickers

8. Seattle Kraken – Sam Dickinson, LHD, London Knights (OHL)

There is an incredibly dangerous forward corps brewing with the Seattle Kraken with the likes of Matty Beniers, Shane Wright, David Goyette, Jagger Firkus, and Eduard Sale, without even mentioning the depth already on their NHL roster. This year they take the responsible route and pre-order a ready-made top-four minute-muncher in Sam Dickinson, who is a jack-of-all-trades type who some consider to be the best all-round blueliner in the class.

“Dickinson, a two-way defenseman, is as steady as they come. He is a workhorse that can log major ice time in all situations and scenarios. His ability to make positive contributions in all important aspects of the game make him stand out on a nightly basis.” – FCHockey regional scout Mike Kennedy

9. Calgary Flames – Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Oh, the story is beautiful with this one. Son of NHL Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla, Tij Iginla gets to craft his own legacy with the Calgary Flames — the club where his father created a name for himself. Iginla is the most creative player in this draft class, pulling off jaw-dropping moves nearly every shift. The kid is confidence personified. He’s going to sell tickets and get fans on their feet wherever he goes.

“He is so naturally gifted at finding grey areas in coverage creating confusion and hesitation for the opponent as they try to figure out who is truly responsible for him. He has that goal scorer’s knack of being in the right place at the right time. Despite his lopsided goal to assist ratio this season he is far from a one-dimensional offensive threat, and I think he’s an underrated asset as a playmaker.” – FCHockey Chief Western scout Donesh Mazloum

10. New Jersey Devils – Cole Eiserman, LW, USNTDP U18 (NTDP)

The New Jersey Devils have elite depth down the middle and are slowly building an incredible defensive corps, so they can look to the wings and go with the best pure goal scorer in the draft in left-winger Cole Eiserman. Eiserman just broke Cole Caufield’s career goal record for the USNTDP program and it makes sense why. The passionate American winger has a lightning-quick and powerful release. He chooses opportunities to shoot intelligently and is a threat to score from anywhere in the offensive zone at any angle. If he hits his ceiling, Eiserman and Jack Hughes are going to terrorize the NHL for decades.

“Eiserman is the best goal scorer in this draft class. He isn’t just one-trick pony, and can score in many ways — off the rush, rebounds, one-timers, snap shots, in the slot, on the wing, and so on. He’s not dependent on his teammate’s passes, either. Eiserman is able to create a scoring chance by himself by carrying the puck and breaking into the middle. You don’t want to give him any space and time to shoot, otherwise you can find the puck in the back of your net.” – FCHockey regional scout Arttu Myllymaki

11. Buffalo Sabres – Berkly Catton, C, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

With a prospect pool and roster of flourishing youngsters, the Buffalo Sabres can ignore any positional needs and snap up the best player available. That happens to be Berkly Catton. Catton’s offensive awareness and vision are debatably second to none in this draft class and he possesses an underrated release and quick feet. His productive season led him to become just the third WHL player since 2000 with at least 115 points in his NHL DY season, netting 116 points (54 goals, 62 assists).

“Catton is an elite two-way forward with high IQ on both ends of the ice. He stood out from the rest with an incredibly smooth stride that he utilized very well to navigate through traffic up ice. He is great on his edges and he does a great job using his body to protect the puck, making it almost impossible to stick check him.” – FCHockey regional scout Kohen Willis Dengler

12. Philadelphia Flyers – Konsta Helenius, C, Jukurit (Liiga)

The Philadelphia Flyers could be so fortunate to select Konsta Helenius at this stage. The Finnish forward followed up an already productive Liiga regular season with six points (two goals, four assists) in six games in the playoffs. An intelligent two-way forward with a ton of intriguing skills, Helenius maybe doesn’t have the offensive ceiling of someone like Catton, but in a perfect world he could become what Nico Hischier has blossomed into for their division rival.

“Helenius is a highly-intelligent, dynamic two-way center who plays an impressively mature game for his age. In my eyes, he is one of the most complete players in this class, which is an asset that’s gonna help him be extremely important player for his future NHL team.”  – Tirpák

13. Minnesota Wild – Carter Yakemchuk, RHD, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

There are plenty of high-potential forwards coming through the system for the Minnesota Wild and even a high-potential goalie coming through in Jesper Wallstedt. That enables them to opt for a 30-goal blueliner from the WHL in Carter Yakemchuk. Yakemchuk is a bit of a boom-or-bust prospect for some, but the upside as a 15-plus-goal defenseman in the NHL is very real.

“Yakemchuk is an extremely interesting right-shot defenseman who boasts plenty of offensive intuition and skills to back it up. His willingness to jump up into the play in the offensive zone is second to none, as there wasn’t an offensive-zone shift he doesn’t work himself below the hashes — with or without the puck.” – Vickers

14. San Jose Sharks (From PIT) – Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

The Sharks, making their second pick of the first round, could opt for the fast-skating, hard-working, super-talented Beckett Sennecke. Perhaps it is optimistic thinking, but it is hard to ignore the possibility of a top-line consisting of Smith, Celebrini, and Sennecke. The big winger boosted his draft stock recently with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 16 playoff games in the OHL.

“Sennecke is a talented offensive winger with a strong skillset in multiple facets of the game. He is a multi-dimensional offensive threat with above-average shooting, puck control, and playmaking ability. He can get the puck into prime areas for his teammates or get open in the slot to use his shot to create high-quality chances.” – FCHockey regional scout Austin Broad

15. Detroit Red Wings – Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora IK (Allsvenskan)

The Detroit Red Wings snag power forward Michael Brandsegg-Nygard with the 15th overall pick, making him the highest-selected Norwegian-born player of all time. Brandsegg-Nygård posted an impressive DY Allsvenskan campaign, capping it off with a stunning 12 points (X goals, X assists) in 10 playoff games and a likely trip to the 2024 IIHF World Championship.

“Brandsegg-Nygard tempts me to move him closer and closer to my top-five every single time I watch him. He is everything I love about hockey. He is fast, agile, and absolutely tenacious on the forecheck. He plays the body hard and often, creating a turnover or two seemingly every shift. He plays with a mean streak, bullying defenders to create space and possession for him and his linemates. I am very impressed by how much his vision and playmaking ability has improved throughout this season.” – FCHockey crossover scout Greysen Goudy

16. St. Louis Blues – Trevor Connelly, LW, Tri-City Storm (USHL)

Trevor Connelly just seems to fit the St. Louis Blues scouting criteria. He’s a great skater, extremely skilled and creative, and he’s got an unbreakable swagger to his game. Connelly has some off-ice questions to answer, but continues to impress scouts, finishing second in USHL scoring with 78 points (31 goals, 47 assists) in 52 games.

“The amount of time it took him to get going at full speed was amazing; one second he’s flat-footed and the next he’s blowing past the defender with the puck. Because of that, along with his shifty skating and silky hands, he excelled in transition play, creating a ton of chances himself off the rush …this is a kid you want to have the puck on his stick at all times, an absolute threat to do damage every shift.” – FCHockey

17. Washington Capitals – Liam Greentree, RW, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

The Washington Capitals go for the powerful Canadian right-winger Liam Greentree. The Spitfires captain racked up 90 points (36 goals, 54 assists) in 64 OHL games. Greentree can stickhandle around an elephant in a phone booth and beautifully blends together his skills with his strength and size of frame.

“Greentree is a smart power forward that displays surprising soft skill and dominates the middle ice. He’s very dangerous in transition as he understands timing and routes, in addition to having quick hands in-tight to get past defenders with ease. He’s a savvy distributor with superb vision that sends nifty feeds.” – FCHockey regional scout Joey Fortin Boulay

18. New York Islanders – Adam Jiricek, RHD, HC Plzeň (Czechia)

The younger brother of the Blue Jackets prospect David Jiricek, Adam Jiricek was one of the most anticipated defenders of this draft class going into this season. He’s seen his draft stock take a hit after an injury took him out of action for several months. Regardless, the Czechia defender is a talented two-way defender with lots of promise as a mobile puck-moving blueliner for the New York Islanders.

“Jiricek is a smooth-skating defender who shows great awareness on both sides of the puck and has the confidence and skill with the puck to run a power play as well as get quick, accurate shots on target. Jiricek has great balance and power in his strides, showing the speed to carry the puck in transition.” – FCHockey regional scout Joseph Aleong

19. Vegas Golden Knights – Michael Hage, Chicago Steel (USHL)

The Vegas Golden Knights snap up the incredibly talented Steel center in Michael Hage. He is exactly what you look for in a late first-round skilled forward. He has elite puck skills, confidently attacks the middle of the ice, and can pick corners just as well as he can distribute the puck. There’s potential, clear as day, for Hage to be a top-six NHL center.

“Hage is a creative dual-threat center who is able to generate offense with his blend of high-end skill and smarts. What stands out most with Hage is his puckhandling ability, and specifically how he’s able to leverage his stick and body positioning to weave through tight spaces.” – Holmes

20. Chicago Blackhawks (Via TB) – Igor Chernyshov, LW, Dynamo Moskva (KHL)

The Blackhawks add another high-potential piece to their rebuild with their second pick of the first round, picking up physical winger Igor Chernyshov. While the point production didn’t stand out, Chernyshov posted an impressive KHL season showcasing his intelligence, patience, playmaking, and physical prowess.

“Even in the KHL, Chernyshov does not look out of place. You can still see that athletic combination at work and, even though he may be a step behind at times, he looks competitive. As he matures, I fully expect Chernyshov to become a true powerhouse of a forward who’s capable of playing difficult minutes and producing.” – FCHockey crossover scout Jake Janso

21. Los Angeles Kings – Sacha Boisvert, C, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)

The Los Angeles Kings add potentially their future second-line center behind Quinten Byfield with Sacha Boisvert. The University of North Dakota commit finished 11th in USHL scoring with 68 points (36 goals, 32 assists) in 61 games, showcasing an impressive two-way grinder style of gameplay whilst possessing the goal-scoring acuity to be an offensive producer at the NHL level.

“Boisvert is a talented goal-scorer. He loves attacking with his shot and he does a good job doing just that. His shot is dangerous, making it his best trait by far. In tight, he has the accuracy and power to place it top shelf. From a distance, he utilizes a quick release and power to be a threat for the goalie. But perhaps the most impressive aspect is how he can shoot off-platform or draped in coverage — or both.” – Pereira

22. Nashville Predators – Ryder Ritchie, RW, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

The Nashville Predators select a player that fits their archetype of player perfectly, Ryder Ritchie. Ritchie at his ceiling could play anywhere in an NHL lineup, from a skilled complementary piece in the top-six to a hard-working, 200-foot grinder in the bottom-six. The versatile Canadian forward scored 44 points (19 goals, 25 assists) in 47 games in the WHL this season.

“He is a talented and high-IQ potential scorer who could use quicker and bigger linemates to cause more havoc on the forecheck or to be a more consistent carrier. His play at the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament is a good example of a positive line setup. The more Ryder can disappear off the puck, the more dangerous his quick possession touches can be.” – FCHockey regional scout Joel Henderson

23. Toronto Maple Leafs – Henry Mews, RHD, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

The Toronto Maple Leafs like their slightly off-board OHL prospects, and they go with another one this year in Henry Mews. Mews is a Canadian offensive defenseman who excels at making plays through his vision and playmaking.

“Mews is a player that loves the puck on his stick, and has the talents to back it up. His standout skill is far and away his playmaking, and it was on full display in this viewing as he would connect on seemingly unavailable passes constantly. Short pass, stretch pass and saucer pass — it doesn’t seem to matter as Mews can put the puck right onto the tape of his teammates consistently.” – FCHockey regional scout Ty Brooks

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