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A Week Out, What Will The Blackhawks Do At #2?

What to do at #2? The CHN Staff weighs in and draw a similar conclusion

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The mock drafts are dropping quickly and often. Add in Ivan Demidov being in Florida, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz being there to see first hand, and now what looked like Artyom Levshunov being the pick is clouded with cognitive dissonance.

The staff at Chicago Hockey Now certainly has their opinions. Fans and analysts have their thoughts, too. We’ll start with our staff and as the next week unfolds really unfurl the rest.

A look at what we think the Blackhawks will ultimately do with the second overall pick.

Vinnie Thinks Artyom Levshunov With A Caveat

If the Chicago Blackhawks had to select between only Ivan Demidov or Artyom Levshunov, the defenseman is the right choice. In most cases, championships are built from the back out. Levshunov was incredible at Michigan State and looks like he might be able to go pro right away. However, the ceiling of Denver defenseman Zeev Buium might be even higher.

His ability to play shut down defense while contributing offense is as good as any prospect in the draft. It may be more of a home run type of swing for Chicago but getting a hit there could be franchise altering. It should be on the table for them. Based on everything out there, it seems Levshunov will be their guy. But some due diligence on Buium wouldn’t hurt, either.

Nate Thinks In the End Levshunov Wins Out

I keep going back to everything that Davidson has said on the record about building a team. It’s remained even from when he took the job to a month ago when answering about the second overall pick and how they’ll choose. But look at how he’s picked going back to taking Kevin Korchinski first. Of the five first-round picks he’s made, it’s always been the best player available–as he always proclaims is the team’s strategy. 2022 saw two defenseman (Korchinski and Sam Rinzel) and Frank Nazar. 2023 was Connor Bedard and Oliver Moore.

2024 then will follow a similar script. If you mine deeper into what’s been said since Davidson knew he was choosing second, it’s been Demidov one day and then Levshunov another. But I go back to how Davidson framed his answer when asked about how they grade out the second overall pick.

“I think we just rank them as hockey players and who fits the best,” Davidson told the media following the draft lottery.  “That’s the fun part of the job — you get to talk hockey players, you get to talk hockey, and everyone loves doing that. We’re going to look at it through a specific lens as it pertains to our team and the way we’re going to build the team. That’ll be interesting.

Those will be interesting discussions to have and to really dig in and take different players and put them into our system and our future roster so to speak and kind of look at what makes the most sense to us and where the best player on our board ends when that discussion is over.”

Reading across the board, especially the piece by the Athletic’s Scott Powers on Levshunov, he seems the best player available for the Blackhawks. Davidson has made it clear they’re looking at the whole picture after ranking the hockey player. Levshunov checks it all off–from how he talks to what he did at Michigan State to how he fits into the long term. I also think there’s less guesswork with his intentions as opposed to Demidov.

That’s not to say the latter is pulling a fast one on anybody. I just think that there’s more knowns with Levshunov and still quite a bit of mystery with Demidov. If there’s one thing about Davidson and how he’s operated, it’s that he’ll take that best available player where it’s been fully vetted.

A week out, Levshunov sure seems like the guy. But if there’s another thing about Davidson, he’s proven to surprise people, too.

Now we wait to see what the next week brings.

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