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Levshunov vs Demidov At #2? Final Thoughts on the Final Day

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LAS VEGAS – What will the Chicago Blackhawks do when Kyle Davidson steps up to the podium to make his pick? Will it be Artyom Levshunov or Ivan Demidov with that all important second overall pick?

It still really depends on who you ask. Here’s a final look at them both, and how we think they’ll pick–and how we would pick.

At #2, Why The Blackhawks Should Take Artyom Levshunov

Vinnie: The Chicago Blackhawks seemingly have two good options for the second overall pick. Artyom Levshunov may be the better option for them with this pick though. He is a defenseman who prides himself on playing a strong two-way game.

The Blackhawks have a few promising your forwards in the organization and it is easier to find guys who impact the game offensively elsewhere. Building a good defense is much harder so taking a chance on a potential foundational defenseman is the right move. No matter what happens, the Blackhawks are adding a pillar to the organization that will help them become a contender again.

Nate: Championship organizations are built from the blue line out. There’s ample opportunity for the Blackhawks to cement a tremendous young core on defense for years to come if they take Artyom Levshunov. Averaging out the analysis, scouts and pundits have him ranked as high as #2 with a few having him at the bottom of the top ten. There’s no denying his talent and he could solidify the right side of the Hawks pairing for years–and be as TSN’s Craig Button has said multiple times, a comparable to Brent Seabrook.

At #2, Why the Blackhawks Should Take Ivan Demidov

Nate: Simply put, high end talent that would be fun to watch with Connor Bedard and would really help solve that goal scoring issue that plagued them this season. Unlike Levshunov, analysts and pundits have Demidov as close to a consensus #2 that can possibly be. With the concerns about the fact that he played in the MHL versus the KHL, Bedard was in the Western Hockey League and made the jump. One would expect the same with Demidov–albeit there are some differences there, too.

Regardless, there’s no denying Demidov’s talent and he would combine with Bedard for production at dizzying levels.

Vinnie: The Chicago Blackhawks should take Ivan Demidov because of his skill set up front. Connor Bedard could use a linemate like that at even strength and on the power play long term. If Demidov does live up to some of the praise he’s been given, the Hawks should have no problem competing for the playoffs year in and year out once there is a bit more depth.

So Levshunov vs Demidov, Who Should It Be?

Vinnie: Ultimately, the Chicago Blackhawks should go with Artyom Levshunov because of the fact that you can’t win the Stanley Cup without great defense. They have a chance at a franchise pillar for that position and wasting it may cause regret down the road.

But if I were Kyle Davidson, I would select Zeev Buium from the University of Denver. He seems to have more high end skill from the blue line than Levshunov despite needing more development. The kid wins everywhere he goes. He has won the National Championship with Denver and the Gold Medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championships. He might not be Cale Makar but this is giving similar vibes to that 2017 class.

Nate: Anyone who has read what I’ve written the last few months knows two things. One, I appreciate the approach that Kyle Davidson is taking with the rebuild. Two, I believe in starting with the back end and moving out from there.

With those thoughts in mind, there’s one final point that meshes along what Davidson and his front office has said from day one: they’ll take the best player available. Levshunov is going to likely slot out as a top pairing defenseman based on his skillset and also for the high hockey IQ he has. It’s certainly something that would create a young core of defensemen that would be a nightmare for offenses–and opposing defensemen–for years to come.

One question with Demidov was his injury status, which Davidson never seemed concerned about even back in May after the draft lottery. But the other? Will he come over play right away or will he stay.

From all intents and purposes, Demidov appears to be coming over in 2025–which let’s face it–is perfect timing for a team that won’t be pushing for the playoffs next season anyway.

Two other quick points: Demidov has been working hard to learn English and be proficient in it as quickly as possible. If he planned on staying in Russia longer, there wouldn’t be a push for such knowledge. But secondly, look at the remorse around the league right now with those who passed on Matvei Michkov. Now that the Philadelphia Flyers will have his services, how many of those teams are kicking themselves?

Sure, that’s hindsight. But Michkov’s numbers are not as good as Demidov’s either at the same level. Demidov’s real test comes next year at the KHL level. If indeed the Blackhawks have a best player available mentality, Demidov sure seems to be that guy.

So Levshunov vs Demidov? If I’m Kyle Davidson, I’m taking Ivan Demidov because imagine how much more ice Bedard and Demidov will get someday to showcase those next level skills–when they’re skating beside one another. I think ultimately passing on a talent like that–as many did with Michkov–is a risky venture. Furthermore, the Blackhawks can rest easy with a defenseman pipeline that oozing with talent.

The upside is there and so is the skill. But regardless of who they take, the Hawks will land a talent that can help them get to the next level they desire.

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