Blackhawks get second overall pick in next month’s NHL draft

The Blackhawks will have the second overall selection in the 2024 NHL draft.

The San Jose Sharks won the draft lottery on Tuesday and earned the right to have the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft for the first time in franchise history.

The Sharks finished last in the overall standings and retained their position in the lottery. Now San Jose has the opportunity to select Boston University center Macklin Celebrini, who is ranked first among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

Celebrini is from North Vancouver, British Columbia, but has previous ties to the Bay Area as he spent a season playing for the Sharks' junior team. His father, Rick Celebrini, is vice president of player health and performance for the NBA's Golden State Warriors.

San Jose had an 18.5% chance to win the lottery, and a 25.5% chance to pick first.

The lottery proved anti-climactic with no changes to the draft order. The Blackhawks, who selected Connor Bedard with the No. 1 pick last year, retained the No. 2 selection, followed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The Blackhawks are projected to take Russian winger Ivan Demidov with the No. 2 pick, according to The Sporting News and Bleacher Report. He is 5-foot-11, 181 pounds.

It marked the first time since the 2010 draft lottery that the order of selection went unchanged. The NHL’s newest market, Utah, stayed put at No. 6. Salt Lake City landed an NHL franchise with the relocation of the Arizona Coyotes last month.

The league on Tuesday also announced what has been in the works for some time: the draft will be held at the Sphere in Las Vegas June 28 and 29. It’ll be the first event televised at the venue.

This marked just the second time in franchise history — and first since San Jose’s inaugural season in 1991-92 — the Sharks finished last overall in the NHL standings. In missing the playoffs for a fifth straight season, the Sharks are in a total rebuild mode entering their third offseason under general manager Mike Grier. San Jose is coming off a season in which its 19 wins were the third-fewest in team history in a full NHL season.

Grier fired coach David Quinn last month, and previously began overhauling his roster by trading high-priced stars such as Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Timo Meier.

The lottery results also led to the Sharks securing a second first-round pick, No. 14 overall and held by Pittsburgh. San Jose acquired the selection in a trade that sent Karlsson to the Penguins, who had the right to retain the selection only if it landed in the top 10 of the draft order

The 17-year-old Celebrini completed a season in which he finished third among Division I skaters with 64 points (32 goals, 32 assists) in 68 games, and becoming just the fourth freshman to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s top player.

Michigan freshman defenseman Artyom Levshunov, who is from Belarus, is ranked second among North American prospects, followed by Medicine Hat Tigers center Cayden Lindstrom.

Central Scouting’s top European skater is 6-foot-7 defenseman Anton Silayev, from Sarov, Russia.

The 2024 NHL draft will mark the second time in franchise history that the Blackhawks have picked second overall, having previously selected Andy Culligan in 1965 at No. 2. The club has nine total picks in the 2024 NHL draft, including two in the first round, three in the second, two in the third, one in the fifth and one in the sixth.

The Blackhawks are picking in the top 5 for just the 12th time in franchise history.

Chicago’s seven picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft share first among any team (Anaheim and Utah). Additionally, with two selections in the first round, the 2024 NHL draft will mark the ninth time in franchise history that the Blackhawks have had multiple first-round picks.

The 2024 NHL draft will be held from June 28-29 at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

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