The Rink’s 2024 NHL Entry Draft first-round mock draft


The 2024 NHL Entry Draft is finally here! As The Rink has done in years past, we will try our hand at projecting the first round. We were successful with seven selections last year, so while it would be nice to improve on that number this year, this year’s draft is far more unpredictable than last year, so we may be very close or nowhere near the mark with many of these picks. Regardless of how the draft ultimately shakes out, it will be a night full of intrigue to see what teams ultimately opt for when on the clock. Without further ado, let’s get started. At least we know we will get the first one correct, right?

  1. San Jose Sharks — Andy’s Pick 

Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University (NCAA)

When the Sharks won the lottery, this was a done deal. Winning the Hobey Baker Award as a 17- year-old when college hockey has never been better is a heck of a feat. There is still a real possibility that he returns to BU for an additional year of development, but nevertheless, this is the consensus No. 1 overall pick and for good reason. The kid has all the tools.

The Rink's 2024 NHL Entry Draft first-round mock draft

The Sharks are expected to take the slam-dunk top prospect in Macklin Celebrini with the first overall pick. (Photo courtesy of Boston University)

  1. Chicago Blackhawks — Eric’s Pick 

Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State (NCAA)

The Hawks have another opportunity to add a franchise cornerstone and turn to the blue line this time to land their top-pair right-handed defenseman of the future. Levshunov boasts an impressive tool kit of skating, playmaking and physicality in an NHL-sized frame. As a true freshman at Michigan State, Levshunov was the No. 1 defenseman for a strong Sparty squad, playing huge minutes in all roles. While already having Kevin Korchinski and Alex Vlasic as top-four options for the future, Chicago lacks a projectable stud all-around defenseman in its rebuild and checks that box in a meaningful way with the Belarusian.

Side note: I had every intention of providing some draft analysis leading up to the draft about potential options for the Blackhawks, but frankly, with how thoroughly exhausting the endless vitriol among Blackhawks fans online has been regarding the pick, it ultimately was not worth my sanity to write pieces that would inevitably fall on deaf ears. The fact of the matter is, whether the Blackhawks select Levshunov or Ivan Demidov (or surprise and choose someone else), the draftee will be a foundational piece to the franchise moving forward, and that is undoubtedly something to celebrate, regardless of who it is. Be happy, Blackhawks fans. The front office knows far more than you do.

The Rink's 2024 NHL Entry Draft first-round mock draft

The Blackhawks opt for defenseman Artyom Levshunov with the second overall pick of our mock draft. (Photo courtesy of Michigan State University)

  1. Anaheim Ducks — Andy’s Pick 

Sam Dickinson, D, London (OHL)

This could be Ivan Demidov or Cayden Lindstrom as well, but with the talent-rich offensive prospect pool the Ducks have, so much so that they may be shopping Trever Zegras, they will go with a defenseman here. Dickinson has tremendous versatility, offensive output and a lunch-pail style, put your hard hat on and go to work that would blend in well with Mason McTavish and what the Ducks are trying to build culturally. Anton Silayev is a strong possibility here, too, but Dickinson could be the best fit.

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets — Eric’s Pick 

Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)

Columbus landed a huge building block in Adam Fantilli last summer and return to the well of big pivots again by selecting Lindstrom. Though Lindstrom battled injury concerns throughout the season, he boasts a tantalizing skill set and large frame. With Fantilli penciled in as the No. 1 center for the future, Lindstrom can slide in nicely as the No. 2 center to give the Blue Jackets a 1-2 punch down the middle sure to make many franchises jealous.

  1. Montreal Canadiens — Andy’s Pick 

Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA-1946 (Russia)

The Habs would be thrilled if Demidov slides to 5 and this would be a no-brainer. After taking David Reinbacher with the fifth overall pick in 2023, they will turn to offense, and who better than perhaps the highest rated pure offensive talent in the draft after Celebrini. Though, to be fair, it would be entertaining to see Habs fans’ reactions should Montreal look elsewhere.

  1. Utah Hockey Club — Eric’s Pick 

Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa (OHL)

One of this year’s biggest risers late in the season, Sennecke gives Utah a highly talented winger who can perform on the biggest stage. Though Utah could instead look to one of the high-end defensemen still available, the combination of size and skill Sennecke offers is too much to pass on, betting on his steep trajectory to continue.

  1. Ottawa Senators — Andy’s Pick 

Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna (WHL)

The Senators are at a crossroads, have so many needs and could pick a defenseman here, too, but Iginla’s stock continues to rise and it does not have to do with his last name. He is impactful in so many areas and plays a controlled game, something that Ottawa needs badly. 

  1. Seattle Kraken — Eric’s Pick 

Zeev Buium, D, Denver (NCAA)

With the center position comfortably addressed with Matty Beniers and Shane Wright, the Kraken can take advantage of a strong blue line class and opt for Buium, a talented offensive defenseman with plenty of moxy. Buium has been a winner at every level in his career, winning U18 and U20 world championships and the NCAA title with Denver this spring. Wherever he lands, Buium should become a fan favorite on and off the ice.

  1. Calgary Flames — Andy’s Pick 

Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw (OHL)

Perhaps the most offensively skilled defenseman in the draft, and if available, there is little chance Calgary can pass up on him at 9. They certainly need help on the blue line and this would be a great fit, especially if the “hometown kid” is already off the board.

  1. New Jersey Devils — Eric’s Pick 

Anton Silayev, D, Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)

The Devils opt for the massive Russian defenseman to firmly round out what should be an incredible top four for many years to come alongside Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec and Seamus Casey. Silayev can skate like the wind for a big guy and provides a strong shutdown game to go along with decent offensive upside. It is entirely possible Silayev is gone long before 10, but if he slips to this range, any team would be thrilled to land him.

  1. Buffalo Sabres — Andy’s Pick 

Berkly Catton, C, Spokane (WHL)

Corey Pronman has Catton rated as the second-best forward in the draft, and why not? With 54 goals and 116 points with Spokane in 2023–24, there is no doubting his talent. He is not heavy and perhaps that is why he will drop this low, but regardless, Buffalo gets a real potential game breaker here.

  1. Philadelphia Flyers — Eric’s Pick 

Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary (WHL)

The last of the top-end defensemen in the class, the Flyers add a high-end offensive defenseman in Yakemchuk, who hit the 30-goal plateau in the WHL. Add in a bit of bite in his game and he feels like a player Flyers fans will rally around for years to come.

  1. Minnesota Wild — Andy’s Pick 

Konsta Helenius, C, Tappara (Finland)

A well-disciplined hockey player, this feels like a Minnesota pick. The Wild still have decent talent and will not need to rush Helenius. He will have time to develop and could turn out to be a solid pivot for their future, something they could certainly use.

  1. San Jose Sharks (from PIT) — Eric’s Pick 

Stian Solberg, D, Oslo (Norway)

After choosing Celebrini to begin the night, the Sharks can turn their attention to the blue line, an area they desperately need help in. They opt for Solberg, one of the draft’s biggest late risers, who provides a menacing physical game on the blue line.

  1. Detroit Red Wings — Andy’s Pick 

Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora (Sweden)

All signs see Brendsegg-Nygard landing in Detroit if he is still available. He is gifted offensively and responsible in his own end of the ice; a vintage Red Wing trait that they would love to work with and develop. Playing in Sweden never hurts your cause as a Red Wings target, either.

  1. St. Louis Blues — Eric’s Pick 

Adam Jiricek, D, HC Plzen (Czechia)

The Blues choose to add another blueliner to the organization after selecting Theo Lindstein with one of their first-round picks last year. Jiricek missed significant time with injury this season, but the Blues bet on the upside that had him considered as a lock for the top 10 entering the season.

  1. Washington Capitals — Andy’s Pick 

Cole Eiserman, LW, U.S. NTDP (USHL)

At this point last year, many people thought Eiserman was a top-two pick in this year’s draft. Questions have arisen as to whether or not he can play in all areas of the ice. Still, he is a gifted offensive talent with an incredible shot. He will be a critical part of Boston University’s success next year and is still a talented prospect who filled the net with the NTDP unlike anyone has before.

  1. Chicago Blackhawks (from NYI) — Eric’s Pick 

Sacha Boisvert, C, Muskegon (USHL)

After picking Levshunov at 2, the Blackhawks turn their attention to the forwards available at 18 and opt for Boisvert, a well-rounded center who offers goal-scoring ability and a physical edge the Hawks are lacking in their prospect pool. Boisvert’s size also allows him to comfortably project as a center at the NHL level, something the Blackhawks could use given the uncertainty of Oliver Moore and Frank Nazar being long-term center options.

The Rink's 2024 NHL Entry Draft first-round mock draft

Chicago selects gritty forward Sacha Boisvert with the 18th overall pick of our mock draft. (Photo courtesy of the Muskegon Lumberjacks)

  1. Vegas Golden Knights — Andy’s Pick 

EJ Emery, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)

The Golden Knights’ defensive core is aging and Emery fits the mold of what they can use moving forward. The North Dakota commit plays a hard-nosed defensive game that is not fun to play against. As the Knights get older, he would be coming in at the right time and provide the yin to Shea Theodore and Noah Hanifin’s yang.

  1. New York Islanders (from CHI via TBL) — Eric’s Pick 

Michael Hage, C, Chicago (USHL)

The Islanders go with the talented Hage at 20, a player who can add offensive pop to an organization known for its defensive acumen. New York is probably thrilled to get Hage at 20 after trading down from 18, as he would have likely been in consideration for them had they stood pat.

  1. Los Angeles Kings — Andy’s Pick 

Igor Chernyshov, LW, Dynamo Moscow (KHL)

Chernyshov plays the length of the ice and is always around the puck. Big and strong and a decent skater, he found success in the KHL and ultimately could be a goal-scoring threat in the NHL in a power forward mold.

  1. Nashville Predators — Eric’s Pick

Trevor Connelly, LW, Tri-City (USHL)

Barry Trotz looks past Connelly’s troubling off-ice past and bets on the offensive upside that would have comfortably put Connelly in the 10–15 range if not for the character concerns. Good luck, Nashville. Hopefully it works out, or not.

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs — Andy’s Pick 

Cole Beaudoin, C, Barrie (OHL)

A strong, physical center who plays a power game is everything that is lacking down the middle for the Leafs. Most of the Leaf core will still be intact by the time Beaudoin will be ready and he can simplify his development with a lot of talent around him. This would be a solid pick for Leaf nation. 

  1. Colorado Avalanche — Eric’s Pick 

Jett Luchanko, C, Guelph (OHL)

The Avs are in the advantageous spot of being able to focus on taking the best player available, and Luchanko fits that bill at 24. A skilled pivot with good offensive instincts, Luchanko’s top-end speed game would mesh well with a Colorado team known for playing with pace.

The Rink's 2024 NHL Entry Draft first-round mock draft

The Avs take skilled forward Jett Luchanko with the 24th pick of our mock draft. (Photo courtesy of Luke Durga / OHL Images)

  1. Boston Bruins (from OTT via DET via BOS) — Andy’s Pick 

Cole Hutson, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL) 

The Bruins love their in-town talent and another Boston University product could be the take here. Like a Torey Krug or Matt Grzelcyk, the Bruins have a good history of developing defensemen who are not blessed with size. Hutson being right down the road is a plus, and let’s be honest, it would certainly make for an interesting storyline with older brother Lane already in Montreal.

  1. Montreal Canadiens (from WPG) — Eric’s Pick 

Liam Greentree, RW, Windsor (OHL)

Montreal giddily takes the stage to take Greentree, a player who very well may be gone multiple picks ahead of this spot. Greentree gives the Habs a big-bodied winger to add to their forward group, something they could certainly use to complement Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki and now Ivan Demidov.

  1. Carolina Hurricanes — Andy’s Pick 

Leo Sahlin-Wallenius, D, Vaxjo U20 (Sweden) 

One of the better skaters in the draft, Sahlin-Wallenius plays a safe and responsible game. He has good stamina, and while not overwhelmingly dynamic in any one area, he is a consistent hockey player who could eventually be in the 4–6 range on a defensive depth chart.

  1. Calgary Flames (from VAN) — Eric’s Pick 

Terik Parascak, RW, Prince George (WHL)

The Flames stay close to home for their second pick of the first round, taking Parascak out of the WHL. Parascak gives the Flames a scoring threat for their prospect pool, something Calgary could certainly use more of as it looks like the turning of the chapter in Cow Town.

  1. Dallas Stars — Andy’s Pick 

Alfons Freij, D, Vaxjo Jr. (Sweden)

Freij comes with an offensive game and puck-moving ability. He is yet another smooth-skating defenseman from Sweden who will need to refine his defensive habits, but with his offensive form and blue-line depth in Dallas, he could be very intriguing for the Stars’ brass.

  1. New York Rangers — Eric’s Pick 

Dean Letourneau, C, St. Andrew’s (PHC)

Letourneau just feels like the easy pick here. The Rangers love their massive forwards, and with a solid team already in place, New York can afford to be patient with Letourneau and hope he is able to develop into a valuable NHL piece.

  1. Anaheim Ducks (from EDM) — Andy’s Pick 

Emil Hemming, RW, TPS (Finland)

A large body with offensive upside who could be a good puck-winning player for the young Ducks core. He will need to work on his skating and creativity with the puck, but there is potential in his game. He will be a late first- or early second-round pick.

  1. Philadelphia Flyers (from FLA) — Eric’s Pick 

Nikita Artamonov, LW, Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)

Philly returns to the Russian well in selecting Artamonov, a player who some feel should be chosen much higher. By bringing over Matvei Michkov, the theoretical Russian factor should feel diminished for the Flyers, so they bet on Artamonov’s upside to close out the first round.

The first round of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft will begin at 7 p.m. EDT on Friday and will be broadcasted on ESPN and Sportsnet.

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