2024 mock draft top 3 split

Following the NHL Draft Lottery on Monday, NHL.com deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman and senior draft writer Mike G. Morreale make their predictions for how the first 16 selections of the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft could turn out.

The San Jose Sharks won the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday and the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NHL Draft.

NHL.com deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman and senior draft writer Mike G. Morreale agree the Sharks will use that pick on Boston University center Macklin Celebrini.

They also agree that the Chicago Blackhawks will select Michigan State defenseman Artyom Levshunov at No. 2, and the Anaheim Ducks will choose defenseman Anton Silayev from Nizhny Novgorod in the Kontinental Hockey League at No. 3.

Their opinions vary widely on what could happen after that.

The first round of the 2024 draft will be held at Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28. Rounds 2-7 will be June 29.

The 16 teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs took part in the lottery drawing for the first two selections. The remaining teams were ordered based on the NHL standings.

Picks 17-32 will be determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

1. San Jose Sharks

Kimelman -- Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University (NCAA): The unquestioned best player available in the draft, Celebrini (6-foot, 190 pounds) also is one of its hardest workers. Sharks general manager Mike Grier already has raved about Celebrini's work ethic in practice and games. The youngest player in NCAA hockey, the 17-year-old dominated the competition with 64 points (32 goals, 32 assists) in 38 games.

Morreale -- Macklin Celebrini: He was flawless in his draft-eligible season and is a franchise talent in the making. Celebrini is the youngest ever to win the Hobey Baker Award, presented annually to the top NCAA men's hockey player. He will be a major building block for a team in need of high-end, two-way talent, especially at the center position.

NHL Tonight on San Jose Sharks winning Draft Lottery

2. Chicago Blackhawks

Kimelman -- Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State (NCAA): After selecting a franchise-altering center in Connor Bedard with the No. 1 pick of the 2023 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks now can focus on finding a game-changer on defense. After Celebrini, Levshunov might be the most NHL-ready player in the 2024 draft with the size (6-2, 208) and skill set that helped him have 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists) in 38 games as a college freshman.

Morreale -- Artyom Levshunov: The Belarus-born right-handed shot was the third-youngest player in NCAA hockey and was second among freshmen defensemen and tied for 10th among all defensemen in scoring. The Blackhawks need a future pillar on defense and Levshunov fits that bill.

3. Anaheim Ducks

Kimelman -- Anton Silayev, D, Nizhny Novgorod (RUS): The left-shot defenseman is one of the most intriguing players in the draft because of his size (6-7, 211) and developing offensive side of his game. The Ducks have stockpiled young offensive-minded defensemen, among them Tristan Luneau, Olen Zellweger and Pavel Mintyukov. Silayev has the potential to be a tremendous complementary piece on a top defense pair.

Morreale -- Anton Silayev: He had 11 points (three goals, eight assists), 74 blocked shots and 98 hits in 63 regular-season games in the KHL. Silayev, who played this season as a 17-year-old (he turned 18 on April 11), had the most points by an under-18 player in KHL history; Florida Panthers forward Vladimir Tarasenko is second (10 points for Novosibirsk in 2008-09).

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

Kimelman -- Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat (WHL): It was a bit of a lost season for Lindstrom because of injuries, but he still scored 27 goals in 32 games. After the Blue Jackets took Adam Fantilli (6-2, 194) with the No. 3 pick in 2023, the addition of Lindstrom (6-3, 210) would create a dominating 1-2 punch at center in the near future.

Morreale -- Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA St. Petersburg Jr. (RUS-JR): The 18-year-old left-handed shot is one of the most naturally skilled players in the 2024 draft class. Demidov (5-11, 181) has a high hockey IQ and adapts well in stride. He had 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists) in 30 regular-season games and 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in 17 playoff games in Russia's junior league.

5. Montreal Canadiens

Kimelman -- Ivan Demidov: He dominated Russia's junior league, showcasing his dynamic offensive skill set and outstanding skating, and he'll likely get the chance next season to test those skills in the KHL. He's under contract with SKA St. Petersburg through the 2024-25 season, so a little patience could be met with a great reward for the Canadiens.

Morreale -- Cayden Lindstrom: He remains a top forward option in this draft despite missing 36 regular-season games. The 18-year-old returned March 29 after recovering from surgery to repair an upper-body injury. He had 46 points (27 goals, 19 assists) in 32 regular-season games and two points (one goal, one assist) and 17 shots on goal in four Western Hockey League playoff games.

6. Utah

Kimelman -- Sam Dickinson, D, London (OHL): His high hockey IQ helps him pick his spots for when to jump into the play in the offensive zone. His skating is good enough that he can lead the breakout or find teammates with a smart, on-target pass to spark the rush. Utah has done a good job building a plus-size defense corps with Dmitriy Simashev (6-4, 198), the No. 6 pick of the 2023 draft, and Maveric Lamoureux (6-6, 196), the No. 29 pick of the 2022 NHL Draft. Dickinson (6-2, 199) would fit nicely with that group.

Morreale -- Zeev Buium, D, University of Denver (NCAA): The second-youngest player in NCAA men's hockey led college defensemen and was fifth among all freshmen with 50 points (11 goals, 39 assists) in 42 games for the NCAA champions. The 18-year-old also had five points (three goals, two assists) and a tournament-best plus-11 rating in seven games to help the United States win the gold medal at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

7. Ottawa Senators

Kimelman -- Zeev Buium: With their first pick in the first round since 2021, the Senators choose Buium, who has a smooth, relaxed approach to go with his outstanding skill set. The left-handed shot is a fantastic skater who showed no panic in his game against older competition, on big stages in the NCAA Tournament or at the 2024 WJC.

Morreale -- Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw (OHL): He set Saginaw records for goals (33) and points (96) by a defenseman in 66 regular-season games. The 18-year-old right-handed shot also had 34 power-play points (10 goals, 24 assists) and two short-handed goals. Parekh (6-foot, 179) scored 21 goals as a rookie last season, the most ever by a 16-year-old Ontario Hockey League defenseman.

8. Seattle Kraken

Kimelman -- Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary (WHL): Yakemchuk led WHL defensemen with 30 goals this season and his poise with the puck and skating allows him to find holes to create plays in the offensive zone. And at 6-3, 201 pounds, the right-handed shot has NHL-ready size. The Kraken have done well finding young forward prospects who could be future building blocks. Adding Yakemchuk would give them a big one on the back end.

Morreale -- Sam Dickinson: A powerful and elusive skater capable of playing big minutes and producing offensively, Dickinson was the quarterback on London's OHL-best power play (32.6 percent) and had 28 power-play points (11 goals, 17 assists). He finished second in the on-ice testing at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 23, placing first in a 30-meter forward and 30-meter backwards skate with the puck, and second in transition ability.

9. Calgary Flames

Kimelman -- Berkly Catton, C, Spokane (WHL): Catton (5-10, 170) has pull-away speed with a top-end offensive skill set and was fourth in the WHL with 116 points (54 goals, 62 assists) in 68 games this season. The Flames have done well to get younger and more athletic with forwards Connor Zary and Matt Coronato taking larger roles, and Jakob Pelletier and Samuel Honzek, the No. 16 pick of the 2023 draft, not far behind them. Catton could be the best and most skilled of the bunch if he is the pick.

Morreale -- Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna (WHL): The 17-year-old son of Hockey Hall of Fame forward Jarome Iginla is a dynamic offensive talent with speed, quickness and natural instincts you can't teach. Iginla (6-foot, 182) led Kelowna with 47 goals and was second with 84 points and 11 power-play goals in 64 regular-season games. He had 12 points (six goals, six assists) in seven games for gold medal-winning Canada at the 2024 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

10. New Jersey Devils

Kimelman -- Konsta Helenius, C, Jukurit (FIN): Helenius adds to his high-end offensive skills with a strength on the puck that you might not expect from a player his size (5-11, 180). He profiles as a good mix of Jack Hughes' offensive ability with Nico Hischier's determination and competitiveness. And he's already shown he can make an impact playing with and against older competition, finishing with 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) in 51 games in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland.

Morreale -- Berkly Catton: He plays a hard-driving game, is relentless in puck pursuit and has a compete level too good to ignore. The 18-year-old was the third WHL player since 2000 with at least 115 points in his NHL draft season, joining Bedard (143 points, 2022-23) and Nic Petan (120 points, 2012-13). Catton also won 53.4 percent of his face-offs, led the WHL with seven short-handed goals, and was third on Spokane with 30 power-play points (13 goals, 17 assists).

11. Buffalo Sabres

Kimelman -- Cole Eiserman, LW, USA U-18 (NTDP): Eiserman has the best shot in the draft, scoring 58 goals in 57 games this season and his 127 goals are the most by any player in USA Hockey National Team Development Program history. But is he just a sensational shot? Scouts seem to be torn on that issue. Some believe he can round out his game, develop his offensive instincts and become more of a threat as a playmaker. He'll play at least one season at Boston University trying to expand his game. If he can, Eiserman (6-foot, 195) has the chance to be one of the top players in the 2024 draft class.

Morreale -- Konsta Helenius: He's skilled, quick and has a high compete level. The right-handed shot's 36 points were the fourth-most points in a Liiga season by an under-18 player. He also scored five power-play goals, went 50.2 percent on face-offs and averaged 16:57 of ice time in 51 games.

12. Philadelphia Flyers

Kimelman -- Tij Iginla: The Flyers need to find more skill, especially at center, after trading forward Cutter Gauthier, the No. 5 pick of the 2022 draft, to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Jamie Drysdale on Jan. 8. Iginla checks both boxes. He might not have the dynamic skill that pulls people out of their seats, but his playmaking ability, vision and hockey sense make him a special player.

Morreale -- Carter Yakemchuk: The 18-year-old is positionally sound, knows where to go to make himself available, has an advantageous reach and is good in battles along the boards. The right-handed shot was fifth among WHL defensemen with 71 points in 66 regular-season games.

13. Minnesota Wild

Kimelman -- Zayne Parekh: Parekh is an offensive force with a style of play that is comparable to Erik Karlsson of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He needs to get stronger to compete at the NHL level, but if he can get there, Parekh has the tools to be an elite play driver.

Morreale -- Adam Jiricek, D, Plzen (CZE): Jiricek (6-2, 182) sustained a season-ending injury to his right knee while playing for Czechia in the first game of the 2024 WJC on Dec. 26. The right-handed shot had one assist in 19 games in Czech Extraliga, the top professional league in the Czech Republic, and is the younger brother of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Jiricek.

14. San Jose Sharks (from Pittsburgh Penguins)

Kimelman -- Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa (OHL): After selecting a dynamic center in Celebrini, the Sharks find a big (6-2, 177), skilled option to play with him. Sennecke is a strong skater and knows how to pull pucks out of traffic and make plays in tight. It will take time for Sennecke to fill out his frame, but he can add to a growing group of high-skill Sharks forward prospects including Will Smith, William Eklund, Quentin Musty and Filip Bystedt.

Morreale -- Cole Eiserman: He doesn't shy from utilizing his shot, that big asset, every shift from anywhere in the offensive end. The 17-year-old, who played two seasons with Celebrini at Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep in Minnesota, led the NTDP Under-18 team in goals and power-play goals (25) this season.

15. Detroit Red Wings

Kimelman -- Michael Hage, C, Chicago (USHL): Hage (6-foot, 187) plays with a physical edge and impressed with his ability to take over games late in the season. He was fourth in the United States Hockey League with 75 points (34 goals, 42 assists) in 54 games, including 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in his final 14. The Red Wings would be able to keep a close eye on Hage's development when he starts at the University of Michigan in the fall.

Morreale -- Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora (SWE-2): Born in Norway, Brandsegg-Nygard (6-1, 198) plays in Allsvenskan, Sweden's second division, and is a hard-working two-way player with good first-step quickness, decision-making and vision. The 18-year-old had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 41 regular-season games, and 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 12 playoff games. He also tied for the Norway lead with five points (three goals, two assists), and averaged 17:22 of ice time in five games at the 2024 WJC.

16. St. Louis Blues

Kimelman -- Michael Brandsegg-Nygard: The Blues go back to Sweden after taking three first-round picks from the country at the 2023 draft. Brandsegg-Nygard is a very good skater who is strong on the forecheck and can produce offensive chances from between the dots low in the offensive zone. He would be the first player born in Norway to be selected in the first round of the NHL draft.

Morreale -- Michael Hage: He's considered a two-way player with a lot of creativity. After finishing fourth in the USHL in points and sixth in goals, he had four points (two goals, two assists) in two USHL playoff games. Hage is the type of player that drives a team into position when they need it with his ability to generate chances.