Evaluating Every Blackhawks First-Round Pick of the 2024 Draft

Friday night marked another big day in the Blackhawks rebuild.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Friday night marked another big day in the Blackhawks rebuild. Kyle Davidson and company made three selections at The Sphere in Las Vegas that join an already solid pool of prospects. Davidson’s third draft at the helm of this front office looks significantly different than the others he has conducted thus far. 

Physicality and size were on the agenda in Vegas on the first night of the draft for Chicago. This class won’t win many beauty pageants, but all three prospects serve vital roles in the future outlook of this organization. 

Pick 2: Artyom Levshunov - RD - Michigan State 

Artyom Levshunov
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Candice Ward/GettyImages

It was between Levshunov and Ivan Demidov for quite a while for who Chicago would go with at number two. The Michigan State product was the clear-cut choice, with many trusted sources saying this was where the front office leaned heavily at the beginning of the week. 

The sturdy blue liner spent the 2022-23 campaign in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers. In his lone season playing under Michael Leone, Levshunov posted 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) in 63 games. The Belarussian had a rough plus/minus of -15, but that saw much improvement once he made the leap to the collegiate ranks. 

Levshunov played 38 games throughout his first season in East Lansing. He put up 35 points (9 goals, 26 assists) and had a plus/minus of +27, the best mark amongst defensemen in the Big Ten. Levshunov brought home plenty of accolades this past season. He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and was also on the All-Big Ten First Team and All-Freshman Team. Levshunov did all of this while being the third youngest player in college hockey this past season. 

His fit on the Blackhawks' blue line now and in the future is seamless. He is already over 200 lbs at such a young age and has a physical touch to his game that will benefit the back end of the organization for years to come. He shows plenty of offensive promise and his improvement as a shutdown defender this past winter cannot be stressed enough. There are still areas to be developed in his defensive efforts, but he is one of just a few NHL-ready prospects in this class. 

Levshunov, Alex Vlasic, and Kevin Korchinski will be the youth movement on the blue line paired with Seth Jones to solidify the core for years.