What the Blackhawks Trade with the Islanders Could Mean for the Draft

The Chicago Blackhawks made a surprising trade with the Islanders. What does it mean for the organization as the 2024 NHL Draft approaches?
Chicago Blackhawks Morning Skate
Chicago Blackhawks Morning Skate / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Chicago Blackhawks made a rare pick swap just over a month before the draft early on Friday with the Islanders.

It’s interesting to see Kyle Davidson and company make a jump in both the first and second rounds while sacrificing an extra second at this point in the draft process. There are a couple of different explanations for why the front office felt the need to pull the trigger on a move like this now. 

One possible reason behind the Hawks swapping these picks could be based on Davidson’s big board. A tough decision looms at the second overall pick between the likes of Ivan Demidov and Artyom Levshunov. 

Moving above the 20s could make for one less stressful choice from management. There is solid depth at the right defense spot in this class and a handful of skilled forwards that are projected in the teens via many mock drafts. 

Names like Henry Mews and Adam Jiricek are a pair of blue-liners the Hawks could target in the late teens. A plethora of forwards could be available for the organization in that range. Liam Greentree, Beckett Sennecke, Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, and Igor Chernyshov could all be clumped into that third tier for Chicago to follow up their top pick in the draft. 

Henry Mews
Henry Mews - Ottawa 67s v Oshawa Generals / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

Another potential explanation for this transaction could hint at even more movement in the first round on draft day. The Hawks have some good depth in their system to accommodate their top-end talent and there is no denying that. 

However, this could be a time in the rebuild when Davidson and his crew begin prioritizing quality over quantity. After the Hawks decide which route they want to go at number two, they can pivot to the other need by moving up further in the teens or even higher. The organization has done a fantastic job stockpiling picks throughout this rebuild and it’s more than ok for them to splurge by trading up yet again if they find an interested party. 

The level of projects between the top seven and teens is another intriguing tier in this class that can serve a need in Chicago. Zayne Parekh and Carter Yakemchuk are two more right defenders who might not be as highly ranked as Levshunov but still have strong potential for long careers in the NHL. Konsta Helenius and a faller in this class Cole Eiserman are the forwards the Hawks could look to in this situation if they take Levshunov at two and then move up. 

The Blackhawks front office certainly has a plan following this interesting move with New York. It will be exciting to see where this move leads the organization in a draft which could be massive for the franchises’ future.