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2024 NHL Draft Prospects

Five Mid-Round Prospects The Blackhawks Could Consider

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The Chicago Blackhawks are going to make the seconder overall pick tonight. The debate is between St. Petersburg forward Ivan Demidov and Michigan State defenseman Artyom Levshunov. Zeev Buium of Denver (defense) deserves to be in the conversation as well but that is a discussion for another day.

Chicago also has the 18th overall pick in the first round from a couple of trades that they made. There is a lot of great first-round talent that they will consider for that selection. It is a little less cut-and-dry than second overall because a lot will depend on how things go in front of them there.

The Hawks will then make two picks in the second round, two in the third, one in the fifth, and one in the sixth. Building winners sometimes comes down to finding diamonds in the rough which is exactly what Kyle Davidson and his scouting staff will try to do at this ever-important event.

For the middle rounds, there are a lot of good prospects to consider. Here are five that fans should be watching as we enter that “middle-round territory):

Will Zellers, F, Shattuck St. Mary’s

We know that Shattuck St. Mary’s has pumped out NHL talent for years. A lot of those kids go on to play college hockey and then have a chance to become NHL players. Will Zellers is hoping to do that.

He is committed to being with the University of North Dakota next season which is where he will try to develop into a player worthy of being in the NHL.

Colin Ralph, D, Shattuck St. Mary’s

Speaking of Shattuck, Zellers is far from the only alumni who hopes to be drafted in the middle rounds (or sooner) of the 2024 NHL Draft. Colin Ralph is one as well. He is a defenseman who is committed to playing college hockey at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

It will take some time for a defenseman like him to develop but playing at Duluth should help his game grow into that of an NHL player. College hockey is good for getting the best out of young defensemen who just need a little bit of a push.

Mac Swanson, LW, Fargo

Mac Swanson played two seasons with the Fargo Force of the USHL. He is an undersized forward who has a ton of skill when the puck is on his stick. His ability to make plays is worth taking a chance on despite his size.

Like Zellers, he is committed to playing for the University of North Dakota next season. He’d love to know going into it that he’ll have a chance at the Chicago Blackhawks one day. Going from North Dakota to the Blackhawks is the same path that Jonathan Toews took so we’ll see if Swanson can have the same path.

Jakub Fibigr, D, Mississauga

If the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to draft more defensemen later in the draft, Jakub Fibigr is someone to consider. A Chechia-born player, Fibigr is not an overly huge defenseman but he is not small either.

He plays for the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL. He put up some good offensive numbers while playing there in his draft year while doing a good job of playing defense well. The Hawks could use some depth at every position in their organization and every team needs more defensemen.

Ollie Josephson, C, Red Deer

It is always smart to have defense-first forwards on your list as well as offensive players. Sure, drafting a guy like Connor Bedard or Macklin Celebrini is a lot more entertaining but the Florida Panthers showed us why defensive forwards can be so important.

The Blackhawks may want to consider one like Ollie Josephson. He is a shutdown center that currently plays for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL.

He put up some decent offensive numbers (12-35-47) in 2023-24 but the WHL leans offense. It is his work as a defensive center that makes him worthy of a mid-round pick.

Think of a player like Marcus Kruger back in the day. The Hawks probably don’t win as much without depth players like that helping shut things down in the defensive zone.

All of these guys would help Chicago differently. The depth of a draft class can be the difference in a rebuild taking 3 years or 5. The Hawks already have a good foundation and will be making some quality selections early in the draft. It would be awesome to see them supplement it later on Day Two.

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