NHL mock draft roundup: Who will San Jose, Chicago draft with the first two picks of 2024

Boston U forward Macklin Celebrini (71) carries the puck in the semifinals of the 2024 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament during the second period against Denver at Xcel Energy Center.
Boston U forward Macklin Celebrini (71) carries the puck in the semifinals of the 2024 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament during the second period against Denver at Xcel Energy Center.

The NHL Draft lottery is nearly a week removed at this point, and somehow we got the exact inverse of the standings. Many fans call that boring, but it's sort of a miracle, and it gives the San Jose Sharks the first overall pick in the draft for the first time in their franchise's history.

While this year's draft may not have that one standout, generational prospect like Connor McDavid or Connor Bedard that will give their team an instant high-impact player, there is still a myriad of potential superstars like Macklin Celebrini, Ivan Demidov, and Artyom Levshunov available.

Here are what experts from around the internet are predicting as we approach the 2024 NHL Draft.

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2024 NHL mock draft predictions:

1) San Jose Sharks

Tristin McKinstry, ClutchPoints: Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University

McKinstry writes, "Macklin Celebrini had a historic season in college, which culminated with him winning the Hobey Baker Award. He doesn't exactly have an elite trait, but there are few weaknesses in his game. The Sharks need a legitimate cornerstone to build around. They get just that in this NHL Mock Draft."

Lyle Richardson, Bleacher Report: Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University

Richardson writes, "The consensus top prospect among all evaluators, Celebrini led the Terriers with 64 points in 38 games, finishing third among all NCAA scorers. He is a skillful two-way center projected to be a future NHL All-Star. The Sharks already have a promising center in Will Smith but it won't stop them from selecting Celebrini."

Adam Kimelman, Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University

Kimelman writes, "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."

2) Chicago Blackhawks

Tristin McKinstry, ClutchPoints: Ivan Demidov, RW/C, SKA St. Petersburg

"Ivan Demidov is one of the best Russian junior players going right now. This year, he averaged two points per game in the Russian junior league. And in the playoffs, he scored nearly 30 points in 17 games. He can take over games with his skill and his competitiveness. There are concerns over his skating, and that has seen his stock slip a little bit. The Blackhawks could go in a few directions with this selection. But Demidov's skill paired with Connor Bedard's playmaking is a frightening prospect for the rest of the league."

Lyle Richardson, Bleacher Report: Ivan Demidov, RW/C, SKA St. Petersburg

"Ranked No. 2 among International skaters by NHL Central Scouting, Demidov missed 24 games earlier this season due to an injury. However, he returned to finish second in Russia's Junior League (MHL) with 60 points in 30 games. The young Russian could fill Chicago's need for a scoring right winger among their top prospects."

Adam Kimelman, Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State

"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."

3) Anaheim Ducks

Tristin McKinstry, ClutchPoints: Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State

"[Levshunov] emerged as one of the best rearguards in the Big Ten even as a freshman. The Michigan State product is a creative offensive force from the blueline. His hockey sense, in particular, stands out. On the defensive end, there is work to be done. But the Ducks traded Jamie Drysdale to the Philadelphia Flyers during the season. So they have room to add an offensive blueliner to their prospect pipeline."

Lyle Richardson, Bleacher Report: Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State

"A talented puck-moving defenseman with a right-hand shot, the 6'2", 209-pound Belarussian has the size and skills to be an impactful NHL blueliner. Levshunov finished third among Spartan scorers with 35 points. He could address the Ducks' requirement to add another right-shot defenseman to their prospect pipeline."

Adam Kimelman, Anton Silayev, D, Nizhny Novgorod

"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."

4) Columbus Blue Jackets

Tristin McKinstry, ClutchPoints: Anton Silayev, D, Nizhny Novgorod

"The Columbus Blue Jackets, similar to the Ducks, can go best player available. Whoever the new general manager is in Columbus can go in a few directions. However, in this NHL Mock Draft, the best player left is Anton Silayev. Silayev is a massive human being, standing 6'7″. He skates incredibly well for his size and has impressed as a defender against grown men in the KHL."

Lyle Richardson, Bleacher Report: Cole Eiserman, Left Wing, US National Team Development Program

"The Blue Jackets lack a natural scoring winger among their top propsects. Eiserman could fill the bill as a future linemate with promising center Adam Fantilli. His defensive game still needs work but his scoring prowess is undeniable. He led the U.S. National U-18 squad this season with 58 goals and could be the best scorer in this draft class."

Adam Kimelman, Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat Tigers

"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."

5) Montreal Canadiens

Tristin McKinstry, ClutchPoints: Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat Tigers

"Cayden Lindstrom has seen his stock drop a bit in the second half of the season. He struggled with injuries and wasn't as impressive as he was in the first half. When he's healthy, though, there is a lot to like. Lindstrom uses his size and power to play with an edge. The Tigers star is also quick on his feet, allowing him to evade defenders with ease. Some question his playmaking ability, but he does have an intriguing offensive upside."

Lyle Richardson, Bleacher Report: Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat Tigers

"It's the third straight draft that the Canadiens have a pick among the top five. Lindstrom could give them additional depth at center among their leading prospects. The 6'4", 216-pounder missed part of the season with injuries but finished with 46 points in 32 games."

Adam Kimelman, Ivan Demidov, RW/C, SKA St. Petersburg

"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."

When is the 2024 NHL Draft?

The 2024 NHL Draft is scheduled for Friday, June 28, 2024 in Las Vegas. The draft will air on ESPN and will be available to stream on ESPN+.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL mock draft roundup: Projecting Sharks, Blackhawks, more top picks