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2024 NHL Draft Prospects

Forget the Panthers: Ivan Demidov Generating the Buzz in Florida

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What Stanley Cup Final? Despite the potential for the Florida Panthers to clinch its first Stanley Cup in franchise history tonight, there was another buzz radiating in the state that concerned teams with picks two through five. Ivan Demidov would be that reason.

Perusing through social media picks was aflutter with anything Demidov releated–from how tall he is in person to English being far more fluent than expected. But then Elite Prospects’ Cam Robinson brought up the point that Blackhawks fans–and likely front office executives–have been asking since Chicago was slotted to pick second overall.

Will it be Ivan Demidov or Artyom Levshunov at #2?

Ivan Demidov or Artyom Levushunov? Depends on Who You Ask

It’s a fair question but ultimately boils down to how one goes about roster construction. Myself personally? It’s always best player available, regardless of position. The job of any front office executive is to build based on what is best for the team in both the short and long term picture. But there’s something to be said for paying attention to how championships are won–and a glance at the Stanley Cup Final shows that defense still indeed captures Cups. 

Advantage Levshunov. But then there’s the can’t miss offensive dynamo who can score goals and do things on the ice that goes viral for not only days, but weeks and months later. The Pittsburgh Penguins were built on that with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Demidov fits into that space. Furthermore, if what Robinson tweeted out is true, then you’re dealing with Connor Bedard territory of being a man among boys at the junior level. Demidov will get a full shot in the KHL next year, removing the fog of war from what his true level is right now.

It sure seems like a toss up. But it’s a calculated one based on who general manager Kyle Davidson and his front office feel best fit the plan. With a week left to go, it sure could go either way.

Blackhawks Will Do Their Due Diligence With the Second Pick

Look, the Blackhawks have done their due diligence and though they’re picking second, can maximize value by taking the guy they think fits their scheme. That scheme favors high IQ, skillset, and speed. But at the same time, Kyle Davidson’s first choice in an NHL Draft was Kevin Korchinski, who they view as a cornerstone defenseman. Ignore the rookie year–pair him Seth Jones or another steady defenseman. This means that Korchinski can follow his natural instincts of pushing play–instead of worrying about leaving his offensively–and defensively challenged team high and dry if he takes a chance.

Davidson started with the blue line. Why wouldn’t he bookend what will likely be his last top seven pick in Levshunov?

Demidov, according to reports, plans on finishing out his contract and then heading to the NHL next season. The Blackhawks aren’t likely making the playoffs this season and have a year to wait it out. Timelines don’t matter in that sense.

Sean Shapiro joined the guys at CHGO and had some insights as well. As Shapiro tells it, the momentum seems to have swung a bit back to Demidov camp–especially if he plans on following through with being in the NHL a year from now.

So Ivan Demidov adds some cognitive dissonance with his time in Florida today. Maybe the Blackhawks have already settled on things. Perhaps they’re going to discuss further after today.

Regardless, don’t be fooled into thinking the second overall pick is a tough spot to be in. If anything, it’s a good problem to have for the Blackhawks future.

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