3 Prospects the Blackhawks Can Draft if They Don't Land the No. 1 Overall Pick

Jun 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson makes the
Jun 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson makes the / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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With just four games to play in their season, the Blackhawks currently sit in 31st place in the NHL. If they can hold onto the second-to-last position in the standings, they will be guaranteed a top-four selection in this summer’s draft. The 31st slot in the league’s final standings will give the Hawks a 13.5% chance to land the top pick and the opportunity to draft Boston University phenom Macklin Celebrini. Chicago had the third-best odds to land a generational talent in Connor Bedard a year ago, so what are the odds that lightning strikes twice for the organization? 

Going off the assumption that the Hawks will be drafting in the two-four range, they’ll have to look around at the top talents in this class not named Celebrini. Either way, the club is getting a franchise cornerstone piece to pair with Bedard and other big-name youngsters who are highly touted in Chicago’s prospect pool. This includes college stars like Minnesota’s Sam Rinzel and Oliver Moore, along with Frank Nazar of Michigan. 

Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson has set this team’s future up quite nicely with the assets he has accrued over the past couple of seasons. Along with a potential guaranteed top-four pick in the first round, the Hawks also own Tampa Bay’s first-round pick this year. On top of the first-round choices this summer, Chicago has three second-round picks and a pair of thirds, which could add even more firepower to an already stacked prospect pool. 

If not Celebrini, who else do the Hawks have to choose from at the beginning of the first round this summer? 

1. Ivan Demidov

SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action...
SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

The forward hailing from Sergiyev Posad, Russia has already been tabbed as one of the most exciting players in this 2024 draft class. The comparisons he receives to his Russian counterpart Kirill Kaprisov are obvious and the scoring abilities between the two match up. 

His quickness and burst are second to none when he gets into open space on the ice. Demidov’s two-way play is a sneaky aspect of his game that does not always get recognized. He isn’t afraid to help on the back check while keeping his priorities straight in his game. The 18-year-old also possesses a rare ability in his offensive game. Many believe that Demidov is just as good of a passer as a scorer, which can only excite NHL organizations more about him as a prospect. 

Demidov has put up video-game-like numbers in the MHL this season with SKA-1946 St. Petersburg. In 30 regular season games, Demidov has put up 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists). Being a two-point-per-game player is ridiculous and puts the forward’s ability to impact the game in multiple ways on full display. In the playoffs, Demidov posted 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 13 games for St. Petersburg. 

The Hawks have Russian roots in their system right now after drafting Roman Kantserov in the second round of the 2023 draft. Despite being on the small side like Bedard, Demidov’s natural ability to score and set up his teammates for success would make for an intriguing pairing. Demidov does have an out in his contract overseas after next season, and the chance to play with a guy like Bedard is a strong selling point for him to come to the NHL sooner.