NHL Draft grades 2024: Full results and analysis for every pick in Round 1

The 2024 NHL Draft class has to wait no longer. The first day of the draft day has come and gone. 

The Sphere in Las Vegas is the site for the 2024 NHL Draft, where dreams become reality for 224 prospects. The first 32 picks in this year’s selection show were picked tonight, and will be followed by the remaining six rounds on Saturday. 

This year’s class is not as deep as the 2023 group, but it is full of talent at the top, especially on the blue line. However, the headliner is projected franchise center Macklin Celebrini.

The No. 1 pick became just the fourth freshman ever to win the Hobey Baker award as the top player in college hockey, as Celebrini dominated with Boston University. As expected, he went to Sharks first overall. 

The big surprise of the first round was at No. 3, as the Ducks stunned the hockey world by taking Beckett Sennecke third overall. The Oshawa center was viewed as a fringe top-10 candidate, and was shocked himself when he heard his name called so early. 

NHL DRAFT 2024: BIG BOARD | MOCK DRAFT

Who landed where? The Sporting News handed out grades and analysis to every pick in the first round of the 2024 NHL Draft on Friday. 

NHL Mock Draft 2024

1. San Jose Sharks: Macklin Celebrini, F, Boston University (NCAA)

No surprise at No. 1. When the Sharks won the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery, they won the Macklin Celebrini sweepstakes, and the club made it official on Friday. San Jose lands a future No. 1 center who excels at both ends of the ice, and should be a key piece for the Sharks to turn around their rebuild. 

2. Chicago Blackhawks: Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State (NCAA)

At No. 2, it felt like it was between Artyom Levshunov or Ivan Demidov, and the Blackhawks elected to go with the defenseman out of Michigan State. The Belarussian has phenomenal skating for a player of his size, and is a threat to contribute on offense. Levshunov’s defense has vastly improved, especially due to his skating. He has all the makings of a top-line defender on the right side. 

3. Anaheim Ducks: Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa (OHL)

Ducks GM Pat Verbeek goes way off the board and takes Beckett Sennecke at No. 3. He is a prospect that was regarded as a potential top-10 candidate, so going this early is so surprising, even Sennecke himself was stunned. He’s a bigger winger who possesses a ton of skill, and brings a really smart game to the ice, differing from some of the other forward prospects Anaheim has. With that said, passing over the likes of Ivan Demidov, Zeev Buium and Cayden Lindstrom is a choice. 

4. Columbus Blue Jackets: Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)

The Blue Jackets keep the No. 4 pick and elect to go go with a center, taking Cayden Lindstrom. He is a big forward who can fly, and he plays with intensity. Lindstrom’s size allows him to muscle off defenders and he can cause havoc in the dirty offensive areas. Lindstrom, Adam Fantilli and Cole Sillinger is an excellent trio down the middle to build around. 

5. Montreal Canadiens: Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (MHL)

A crafty playmaker, Ivan Demidov carries a high motor and is a pain to play against in one-on-one battles due to his immense skill. The biggest knock on the Russian winger is that he isn’t the smoothest of skaters, but Demidov undoubtedly possesses elite offensive talent. He bills out to be a top-line winger that should give defenses nightmares. The Canadiens take the best player available at No. 5, adding another scoring forward to their deep prospect pool. 

6. Utah (formerly Arizona Coyotes): Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna, (WHL)

The first pick in Utah Hockey Club history is Tij Iginla, the son of former Flames captain Jarome Iginla. He is a superb skater with standout puck skills that make him dangerous in transition. Iginla never shies away from getting in on the forecheck, and his snap shot has developed into arguably his best weapon. Utah passed over on top defensive prospects, but now have a future top-six play driver on their hands. 

7. Ottawa Senators: Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary (WHL)

The Senators address defense at No. 7 … but it’s not one expected to go this high, as Ottawa selects Carter Yakemchuk. He showed this season the ability to do things better than most everyone else at his position, scoring goals aplenty as a defenseman. Yakemchuk’s shot is without a doubt his best weapon, using it to light the lamp more than 30 times this season for Calgary. He can dance around defenders with ease, making him a constant threat with the puck. With that said, passing over Zeev Buium, Zayne Parekh and Sam Dickinson — all defensemen that also possess offensive skill — for Yakemchuk is a bit puzzling. 

8. Seattle Kraken: Berkly Catton, Spokane (WHL)

Seattle had its pick of Buium, Parekh and Dickinson … and instead, address the need at forward rather than on defense, and go with Berkly Catton. The Kraken need offense, and the Spokane center should be able to help out in that category. When the puck is on his stick, Catton is a weapon. He can toy with defenders, baiting them to get in close before either using his edge work to cut around them or his playmaking ability to pass it off to a teammate. It’s clear the Kraken picked for need rather than taking the best prospect available. 

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9. Calgary Flames: Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw (OHL)

The Flames need to generate offense out of the back end. Enter Zayne Parekh. While there is still work to be done defensively at some point, what Parekh brings offensively outweighs his defensive deficiencies. The Saginaw defenseman lit up the OHL this year, showcasing an elite ability to create with the puck on his stick. He plays with aggression and confidence, and is exactly what Calgary needs. 

10. New Jersey Devils: Anton Silayev, D, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL) 

The Devils have an immense of amount of skill on the back end in their young prospects, so they decide to add size with the selection of the monster Anton Silayev. The 6-7 defender skates incredibly well for a defenseman his size and handles the puck well. He’s shaping up to be a top shutdown option in the pros — which is exactly what New Jersey needs for the future. 

11. San Jose Sharks (from Buffalo Sabres): Sam Dickinson, D, London (OHL)

The fact that Sam Dickinson fell out of the top 10 is insane, but the Sharks end his fall at No. 11. One of the best skaters in the draft, the defenseman uses his legs to be effective both offensively and defensively, and he also has a thunderous slap shot. His defensive work is levels above the rest of prospects at his age, as he’s positionally sound in his own zone and uses an active stick to break up plays. Dickinson is as well-rounded of a defenseman as you can ask for in a prospect. 

12. Minnesota Wild (from Philadelphia Flyers): Zeev Buium, D, Denver (NCAA)

The Wild move up one spot, trading the No. 13 pick and a 2025 third-round pick to the Flyers for the No. 12 pick — and Minnesota ends up what may be the steal of the draft, taking Zeev Buium. The fact that the Denver defensemen fell out of the top 10 is absurd, and all it cost Minnesota was a third-round pick to move up. He handles the puck with ease, he works a blue line better than most his age, and he is dangerous in 1-on-1 attacks. Buium’s skating is a big part of why he’s successful. Having Buium and Brock Faber on the blue line for the foreseeable future in Minnesota is excellent work. 

13. Philadelphia Flyers (from Minnesota Wild): Jett Luchanko, C, Guelph (OHL)

The Flyers move down a spot, and end up taking Jett Luchanko. The Guelph center is a smart player who always finds his way into good spots by reading plays and how they are expected to develop. He plays a solid, 200-foot game, and gives Philadelphia a top-line center that it desperately needs for the future. It’s a bit higher than expected for Luchanko, but it’s a safer selection. 

14. Buffalo Sabres (from Pittsburgh Penguins via San Jose Sharks): Konsta Helenius, C, Jukurit (Liiga)

Konsta Helenius is undoubtedly one of the smartest players in the 2024 draft class. The Finnish center creates a ton of offense for himself and his teammates thanks to his elite passing ability and awareness in all zones. He isn’t the most dynamic center, but he plays an intelligent two-way game. Helenius is a different kind of forward than what Buffalo has taken in recent drafts, so this is a smart choice by the Sabres. 

15. Detroit Red Wings: Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora (HockeyAllsvenskan)

Was there any easier of a projection than the Red Wings taking a prospect that plays in Sweden? Detroit loves its Europeans, and keep that trend going in 2024 with the selection of Michael Brandsegg-Nygard. The winger is incredibly well-rounded with few holes in his game. He does a lot of things well, including scoring from range and handling the puck. While he may not possess that one elite-level skill, there is so much to like about Brandsegg-Nygard’s all-around game.

16. St. Louis Blues: Adam Jiricek, D, Plzen (Czech Extraliga)

Adam Jiricek is a right-shot defenseman with strong skating that makes him effective on puck retrievals. Like his older brother, David Jiricek, did in his draft year, Jiricek suffered a major injury at the World Juniors, knocking him out of the rest of the season. There is certainly some concern with taking the defenseman given the injury history, but he has a lot of tools that scouts like, including his mobility and his aggressiveness on both ends of the ice. Jiricek’s talent is raw, but he can be unlocked in the right setting. The puck mover is a safe choice for the Blues. 

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17. Washington Capitals: Terik Parascak, RW, Prince George (WHL)

Terik Parascak showed immense intelligence on the ice, getting into open spaces for his linemates. That kind of hockey IQ is hard to teach. That’s not the only positive with Parascak, as he has a great wrist shot, reads plays well both on offense and defense, and just knows where to be at the right time. There’s a lot to like about where Parascak is at right now, but it’s about how he develops. This seems early to take him. 

18. Chicago Blackhawks (from New York Islanders): Sacha Boisvert, C, Muskegon (USHL)

Sacha Boisvert may be more of a project, but the tools are there with the Muskegon center. His shot stands out above all of his other skills, but he also has a strong touch with the puck and can get creative when needed. At 6-2, the North Dakota commit has the height NHL teams are looking for, but he needs to fill out a bit more if he’s going to find success in the pros. If any team can afford to give a prospect as much time to develop, it’s Chicago. 

19. Vegas Golden Knights: Trevor Connelly, LW, Tri-City (USHL)

Trevor Connelly is the most polarizing prospect in this draft class. On the ice, he’s a slam dunk pick. He excels in transition, as his nifty pair of mitts helps him weave through defenders with grace, and his superb skating gets him to accelerate around his opposition. His offensive ability is dynamic, but Connelly comes with multiple red flags about his character, including issues with teammates and an alleged incident with racist slurs. The Golden Knights take a bit of a gamble given his history, but Vegas has virtually no high-end prospects outside of Brendan Brisson, and take a big swing on Connelly. 

20. New York Islanders (from Tampa Bay Lightning via Chicago Blackhawks): Cole Eiserman, LW, USA U18 (NTDP)

Cole Eiserman’s free fall stops at No. 20. Eiserman is an elite scorer in every sense of the term. He’s capable of scoring from any angle, any distance, and in any situation, and his pair of silky mitts makes him even more dangerous. The biggest concern with Eiserman is … everything else. Outside of scoring, there is work to be done in all areas, including his skating, his defensive work, and his play away from the puck. The Islanders desperately need offense and get arguably the best goal scorer in the draft at No. 20. It’s well worth the risk at this point in the draft. 

21. Montreal Canadiens (from Los Angeles Kings): Michael Hage, C, Chicago (USHL)

After taking Demidov at No. 5, the Canadiens go with a center at No. 21, taking Michael Hage. The Chicago Steel forward is a true center who can make defenses pay with his shot and his passing ability. When Hage is on, he’s on, and it’s hard for the opposition to contain him thanks to his skating and hands. Injuries last season hurt Hage’s draft stock heading into this season, and an inconsistent 2023-24 with Chicago didn’t, however, the tools are there with Hage. It’s another quality addition to Montreal’s overflowing prospect pool at forward. 

22. Nashville Predators: Yegor Surin, C, Yaroslavl (MHL)

Preds GM Barry Trotz previously said he wanted his coaching staff to take big swings. Nashville takes one here at No. 22 with the selection of Yegor Surin. One of the youngest players in the draft class, Surin is a versatile forward that comes with plenty of skill. While he has played mostly on the wing with Yaroslavl, he has the tools to become a center at the pro level. There is a bit of concern with him given his lack of discipline at times that put his clubs in bad situations, but his finesse and scoring touch are enticing for any NHL team. It’s a bit of a reach, but it follows what Trotz wanted — a gamble on a potential top-six forward. 

23. Anaheim Ducks (from Toronto Maple Leafs): Stian Solberg, D, Valerenga (EliteHockey Ligaen)

Another prospect hailing from Norway, Solberg is a defenseman that shot up draft boards over the last couple of months of the season after injuries hurt his stock last season. If a team is in need of a wrecking ball along the blue line, Solberg is that guy. The blueliner is known for his physicality, but he also excels on the penalty kill and in his own zone. He is a pain for offenses due to how he plays along the boards. He offers a different toolset than what Anaheim has in the pipeline, who trade up to No. 23 to take Solberg. 

24. Utah (from Colorado Avalanche): Cole Beaudoin, C, Barrie (OHL)

Utah trades up to make a second pick in the first round, acquiring No. 24 from Colorado. It uses the pick to take Cole Beaudoin. The Barrie center is a competitor. He isn’t the greatest skater and may not flash immense skill, but the center gets in on the forecheck, constantly winning 1-on-1 battles for pucks. Beaudoin doesn’t shy away from physical play either, and he very likely is the strongest, most athletic kid in the 2024 draft class. He’s a gritty player — exactly what the Coyotes need to add. 

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25. Boston Bruins: Dean Letourneau, C, St. Andrew’s College (Prep Hockey Conference)

When you’re 6-6, 214 pounds at the age of 18, you’re going to get NHL attention — and is there any team that fits that mold more than the Bruins. Dean Letourneau’s size stands out, but he also plays with a ton of finesse and range, a rare talent for a player at his build. There are some scouts skeptical of the Boston College commit given his playing competition, but he most certainly will get attention simply because of his frame. The Boston College commit needs to play more physically, especially if he wants a role on the Bruins, but he has the size for it. 

26. Los Angeles Kings (from Winnipeg Jets via Montreal Canadiens): Liam Greentree, RW, Windsor, (OHL)

Liam Greentree really had no business falling this far, but the Kings are rewarded with the big winger. He may not be fleet of foot, but he’s a strong prospect who gets into the gritty areas. The Windsor forward is poised under pressure and makes the right decisions, finding his teammates and escaping tricky situations. He also carries an above-average shot that can finish from mid-range. Greentree’s makeup screams potential, and it’s a great value get at No. 26 for Los Angeles. 

27: Chicago Blackhawks (from Carolina Hurricanes): Marek Vanacker, LW Brantford (OHL)

Marek Vanacker is a name that worked his way late in the season up the draft boards after a strong season with Brantford. He’s a crafty forward who has quick hands, an accurate shot and is always a threat on the rush. The offensive upside is enticing, while the defense needs more work, but Vanacker also played all season injured. There is some risk to the pick, but Chicago can afford a gamble with their third pick in the first round. 

28. Calgary Flames (from Vancouver Canucks): Matvei Gridin, RW, Muskegon (USHL)

A shot-first forward, the Flames reach and take Matvei Gridin at No. 28. He’s someone who I didn’t think would go in the first round, but had the chance to, so it’s not an awful pick. The Russian is a bigger winger who is coming off an excellent season in the USHL, and there is a lot of traits to like about Gridin, especially what he brings offensively. He’s definitely more of a project. 

29. Dallas Stars: Emil Hemming, RW, TPS (Liiga)

The Stars sure like their Finns. Emil Hemming is viewed as one of the safer picks in the draft class, as he’s a strong, two-way winger with an above-average shot that he has proven he can use at a multitude of angles. His work in his defensive zone never slacks, and he is a threat to win puck battles every time he is in the corner. Hemming’s ceiling may not be high, but his floor isn’t low, either. There is a history of success between the Stars and Finnish prospects, so this is a good selection for Dallas.  

30. New York Rangers: E.J. Emery, D, USA U18 (NTDP)

E.J. Emery touts out as a future, shutdown defender. He’s incredibly efficient in his own zone, and he skates well, which helps when making gaps on the rush and retrieving pucks. There isn’t a ton of offense in his game, but he plays smart and is willing to join the rush from time to time. Emery knows where his strengths are, and he doesn’t shy away too often from those. This is a great pick by the Rangers, who can use that shutdown style on its blue line. 

31. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Edmonton Oilers via Anaheim Ducks): Ben Danford, Oshawa (OHL)

The Maple Leafs clearly were looking to add a defenseman in the first round. After Emery was taken off the board the pick before, Toronto selects Ben Danford. He’s a great reader of the play, and is reliable option that can be deployed in all situations Danford may not have been seen as a first-round talent, but he fits the mold that the Leafs were looking for. He is a safer pick at No. 31.

32. Edmonton Oilers (from Florida Panthers via Philadelphia Flyers): Sam O’Reilly, LW, London (OHL)

The Oilers trade up into the first round and end Friday night with the selection of Sam O’Reilly London was a loaded team this season with a plethora of big-name players in the junior world. That meant that O’Reilly’s rookie season flew under the radar, but he was a key player for the Knights. A versatile, 200-foot player, the winger is responsible with and without the work, and never shies away from the physical game. At this point in the draft, it’s a good get for Edmonton. 

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