2024 NHL Draft

Top Five 2024 NHL Draft Prospects

At the end of June, the 2024 NHL Draft from the Sphere in Las Vegas will be underway. Round one will be held on the 28th while rounds 2-7 will be held on the 29th. There are a couple of things almost everyone knows about heading into this year’s draft. One, there’s a pretty good idea of who will go number one overall and two, there’s a good possibility that over half the players drafted in the top ten are defensemen, as opposed to last year when there were only two defensemen taken within the first ten selections. There are plenty of high-end blue-liners available at the top of the board.

Although not in the same order, the same five teams that picked in the top five of last year’s draft will do so again this year. This time, the San Jose Sharks earned the number one overall selection followed by the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Montreal Canadians. As we near the end of hockey season and the start of draft season, let’s take a look at come of the top prospects set to walk across the stage in Vegas.

Top Five 2024 NHL Draft Prospects


1. Macklin Celebrini (Center)

While not viewed as a generational talent like Connor Bedard, Macklin Celebrini‘s all-around skill is the reason why he’s the consensus number-one overall selection in the 2024 NHL Draft. What stands out about the 17-year-old future star is that he has all the tools to be a top-line center in the league. With his play-making ability, he can create offense for his team. Celebrini has the vision, stick-handling, and skating to open up passing lanes and can do so with quickness and soft hands. He also uses some of that ability to create shots for himself. The potential first-overall pick has an arsenal of shots that he can get off in the blink of an eye. He’s got a very accurate wrist and snap shot to go along with a hard one-timer that is also accurate.

Celebrini is a highly known two-way player, who not only can make plays on offense but can make plays on the defensive side as well. He’s got a great sense for the puck that works on defense too, enabling him to read the opponent’s plays and get his stick/body in lanes to create turnovers. Celebrini can also help teammates defend against the rush, engage in puck battles, and isn’t afraid to get a little physical if need be. His advanced overall game is beyond his age and with his skill and IQ, he could have an amazing NHL career and perform as one of the top centers in the league.

2. Ivan Demidov (Right Wing)

If you’re looking for the best overall offensive player in the draft, Ivan Demidov is the guy that fits that description. In fact, you could say he has elite offensive talent. Demidov has great playmaking skills and can puckhandle well because of his smooth hands. That allows him to stay patient and get creative with the puck. The most notable attribute this helps him with is his passing. Demidov finds a way to thread the needle through traffic and the most smallest of lanes. He mostly looks for that incredible pass instead of his shot but when he decides to throw it towards the net, look out. The winger has a deadly wrister that he can get off with his quick release and has some power behind it. On top of that, it can be a very accurate shot.

You would think with his level of offensive output that the defensive part of his game would be lacking but that’s not the case at all. Demidov uses his motor to battle hard for the puck and always is moving, making him a steady defender. If a team can work with him to clean up the little stuff and round out his game on both ends of the ice, Demidov will be a star forward in the making.

3. Artyom Levshunov (Right-handed Defenseman)

When you think of Artyom Levshunov, you think of his offensive ability as a defenseman. One of the things that stands out is his play at the blue line. He can create space for himself with the puck and control the game from the point with his playmaking. Artyom also knows how to create space and control the puck when under pressure at the blue line. That allows him to create shots and take plenty of them, as his willingness to shoot is what leads to many chances around the net for his team.

What might be the most impressive about Levshunov’s game is his skating. He uses his quickness and agility to jump up into a play and is always looking to join the rush. His sharp skating also allows him to get the puck out of the zone, something teams love to see in a defenseman. Defensively, he is a work in progress. His positioning and decision-making can get him in trouble and that often has him scrambling to recover. While this is the case, there have been signs of real improvement in that area of his game and while he needs to continue to get better in that aspect, with the right coaching and development, he can hit a high ceiling with his defense.

4. Zeev Buium (Left-handed Defenseman)

There’s a lot of debate about whether Zeev Buium should be the first defenseman picked in the 2024 NHL Draft over Levshunov. He has elite edgework and agility that will open up a lot of opportunities for him to shine in the offensive zone. Along with that, Buium uses his great lateral movement and puck control to walk the line, doing so with ease. Not only does that open up the shooting lanes for his deceptive wrist shot but it allows him to show off his amazing passing with his vision and ability to get the puck to teammates through tight areas.

What’s great about Buium is that his skating and puck handling enable him to be involved in the other two zones of the ice as well. In the defensive zone, his positioning forces the opponent off of their spot and to the outside, closing gaps and space to maneuver. Buium also uses his feet to escape the forecheck and get the puck away with his pass. He is assertive on defense and works with anticipation. While he has room to improve on that end of the ice, questions about that area of his game quieted even more when he displayed great poise against the top offensive talent in college. Buium has the chance to be something special in the league and that’s just on his offensive prowess alone.

5. Zayne Parekh (Right-handed Defenseman)

Yet another defenseman takes a spot among the top five prospects in the 2024 NHL Draft and this time it’s the right-handed Zayne Parekh. Like the two others at the position in this group, Parekh’s strength is his offense. He might have the most offensive upside of the three. He had a historic season in the OHL last season, setting the league’s all-time goals record by a U17 defenseman. Parekh won Defenseman of the Year and cemented himself as the most talented defenseman on that side of the puck in junior hockey.

He does it with his ability to create with the puck, making plays whether it’s with the shot or the pass. When he opens his own shooting lanes, he has an arsenal of shots in his repertoire. Parekh has an excellent wrist shot and snap shot that he can get off with his quick release. He also holds an effective slap shot and one-timer from the point. Along with the offense is the ability to be a top-end power play guy.

Parekh has a few things to work on defensively but what he does well is have an active stick that he uses effectively. That allows him to clog up passing lanes and create turnovers, which also he creates with a poke check. He reads plays quite well but a big knock is his lack of physicality and lack of engagement in battles for the puck. His offense outweighs his defensive problems but even then, he can play at a reasonable level in that area with improvement.

Main Image: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

5 1 vote
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!
5 1 vote
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x