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2024 NHL Draft Prospects

Marek Vanacker Gets High Marks With Other Blackhawks Picks

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It was when Kyle Davidson traded back into the first-round that the aggressiveness was on full display. They used that 27th overall pick on Marek Vanacker, who Chicago worried wouldn’t be there at 34. Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson will not hold back to grab what he and the front office value. That was on display Friday night.

Chicago Hockey Now grades out the first-round in terms of who they took at that pick and how it projects for the long term build for the Blackhawks.

Artyom Levshunov

The only mystery of the Blackhawks draft was taking Artyom Levshunov over Ivan Demidov. But it’s hardly anything to really split hairs over.  He is a big guy who skates well and could become a franchise pillar if he reaches his potential.

Levshunov can shut down top players on the other team while also being a contributor offensively from time to time. There is nothing about his game that has a hole. His two-way presence will be felt right away.

With Michigan State, he had a lot of personal and team success. He was their Freshman of the Year on a team that made it to the tournament. He jumped off the screen every time you watched him play on TV. In person, you see first-hand the impact he can have on a game in multiple different ways.

With the Chicago Blackhawks, he comes into the organization hoping to be the number one guy. Young men like Kevin Korchinski and Alex Vlasic are already in the NHL lineup and more are coming. If Levshunov works out the way he is supposed to, they could have a top-flight defense which is a big key to postseason success that usually come with the Stanley Cup at the end.

Grade: A

Sacha Boisvert

The Chicago Blackhawks selected Sacha Boisvert 18th overall in the 2024 NHL Draft. They had this pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning as a result of the Brandon Hagel trade that they made a few years ago.

This is a smart pick for Kyle Davidson and his staff. They are getting a very talented forward who projects as a center. Whether he is on the wing or in the middle of the ice, he will be an impactful guy.

The cool thing about Boisvert is the fact that he is known for being a goal scorer but there is no denying his ability to make a perfect pass as well.

In 61 games played with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL in 2023-24, he scored 36 goals and 32 assists for 68 points. It was a great draft year for him.

Now, he will make his way to the University of North Dakota for college hockey. That is a great place to send a forward as they usually develop very well there. The list of amazing alumni to come from North Dakota is incredibly long. The Hawks had one of them in Jonathan Toews.

Now, they are hoping that he can one day fit in with Connor Bedard and the rest of the great young forwards they have. Based on everything we’ve seen so far, he should be able to.

Grade: A

Marek Vanacker

The Chicago Blackhawks traded back into the first round toward the end of the night. They decided that they wanted to make a third selection in the first round so they traded picks 34 and 50 to the Carolina Hurricanes for pick number 27.

With that selection, they took Marek Vanacker of the Brantford Bulldogs. He is a great player to take in the latter stages of the first round. When you think about future role players with the team down the line, a guy like Marak Vanacker fits that bill. Vanacker will be out until December due to a torn labrum in his left shoulder so that is certainly one aspect to keep an eye on as he progresses through the system. Vanacker is teammates with fellow Blackhawks prospect Nick Lardis, with the two playing on a line during the OHL playoffs. There’s a similar flavor to their game–speed, high hockey IQ, and scoring goals in bunches.

In 68 games played with Brantford, he scored 36 goals and had 46 assists for 82 points. It is great production and he could be a candidate to be the “third guy” on a Connor Bedard line. This could prove to be a great idea for Kyle Davidson and his scouts who loved the kid. The only real concern here, which is the minus, is the injury and how that impacts him later. But the Hawks got their guy at 27 and if it all goes well injury wise, it’s tremendous value.

Grade: A-

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