Silayev kneel

The 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held June 28-29 at Sphere in Las Vegas. The first round will be June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 are June 29 (11:30 a.m. ET; ESPN+, NHLN, SN, SN1). is counting down to the draft with in-depth profiles on top prospects, podcasts and other features.'s full draft coverage can be found here.

Anton Silayev "had a really exceptional year in the Kontinental Hockey League" and as a result the defenseman was ranked ahead of Ivan Demidov, NHL Central Scouting chief European scout Janne Vuorinen said on the "NHL Draft Class" podcast.

Silayev (6-foot-7, 211 pounds), No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters, had 11 points (three goals, eight assists), 103 shots on goal, 74 blocked shots and led Torpedo with 98 hits in 63 regular-season games. The 18-year-old scored the most points by an under-18 player in KHL history; Vladimir Tarasenko is second (10 points for Novosibirsk in 2008-09).

"Silayev is the kind of player that is very rare to find," Vuorinen said. "He's 6-foot-7, skates really well, and has all the tools to become a great player. He reminds me a lot of when Victor Hedman was at the same age, and I was scouting him. He had the record for the most points ever by a 17-year-old player in the KHL, so I think that tells you a lot about how good a talent Silayev is."

Demidov (5-11, 181), a right wing with SKA St. Petersburg in Russia's junior league, is the No. 2 ranked skater. The 18-year-old left-handed shot had 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists) in 30 games and 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 13 MHL playoff games. He was No. 3 in the midterm ranking.

"[Demidov] is a really good talent, offensively, and strong with the puck," Vuorinen said. "He has a lot of skills and patience and creativity offensively."

Vuorinen also discussed the two Norway-born players who could be chosen in the first round, right wing Michael Brandsegg-Nygard of Mora in Sweden's second division and defenseman Stian Solberg of Valerenga in Norway's top professional men's league.

"I think Solberg was the biggest riser during the season for us," Vuorinen said. "He's a tough kid, plays physical, and is a strong skater. I think [Brandsegg-Nygard] will be drafted before Solberg. He's a really hard-working guy who can score. He had a great season in Mora; was at his best at playoff time."

Co-hosts Adam Kimelman and Mike G. Morreale also opined on which Russia-born player could be chosen first in the opening round at Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28.

The podcast is free, and listeners can subscribe on all podcast platforms, including iTunes and Spotify. It also is available on and the NHL app.

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