8 top prospects to know for the 2024 NHL Entry Draft
Photo credit:@kiviharju.a on IG
By Faber30 days ago
My bosses are always telling me to try and create unique content instead of just projecting how many goals Andrei Kuzmenko is going to score next season.
So, let’s just explore some names from the 2024 draft that we should have on our minds as the 2023-24 season commences.
Let’s dive into some names to know from the upcoming draft class.
Macklin Celebrini, C, 5’11”, 181 lbs
Currently projected as the number one prospect in the 2024 draft, local kid Macklin Celebrini is a left-shot centre who has a wicked release on his shot and skates with some of the best in the class. He’s not at the Connor Bedard level of prospect but this kid is just a tier or two down.
Macklin is the brother of Canucks draft pick Aiden Celebrini and son of former Canucks and current Golden State Warriors employee Dr. Rick Celebrini.
Celebrini is off to Boston University this season, where he will join his brother Aiden and Canucks prospect Tom Willander. Last year, Celebrini scored 46 goals and added 40 assists in 50 games with the Chicago Steel of the USHL. Celebrini was far and away the best player in the USHL last year and he is expected to score at a high rate during his freshman NCAA season.
Cole Eiserman, LW, 5’11”, 192 lbs
Eiserman is pronounced the same way as Hall of Fame centre Steve Yzerman, unless you’re Bill Clinton.
Cole Eiserman is another uber-talented young prospect with a rocket of a shot. Last year, Eiserman scored 28 goals in 32 games with the USNTDP Juniors team and was dominant on the power play. He makes it look like his team will score with the man advantage every time he has the puck on his stick.
At current date, Eiserman is a lock to be a top-five pick in the 2024 draft and he is off to the University of Minnesota this season to try and chase down Celebrini for the 2024 NHL Draft scoring title of the NCAA.
Michael Brandsegg-Nygård, RW, 6’1″, 194 lbs
Coming out of Oslo, Norway, Michael Brandsegg-Nygård is a big, strong winger with great power behind his shot. He’s a guy who came up over the past six months when we were watching Allsvenskan and J20 Nationell games.
He’s demonstrating some real beast potential with how strong he already looks at just 17 years old.
This is a kid who is very strong for his age. His shot looks heavy and consistently beats set goaltenders in the J20 league. This will obviously be tougher to do at the next level, but he should be playing a full season in the Allsvenskan next year.
In 11 Allsvenskan games last season, Brandsegg-Nygård had a 60.3% Corsi and in his 35 J20 games, he held a 57.4% Corsi. Basically, his lines were dominant in both leagues — they spent a lot of time in the offensive zone when Brandsegg-Nygård was on the ice.
He’s heading back to the Allsvenskan next season and is currently projected as a 10-25 pick in the 2024 draft. We have just seen this kid a few times and really like the raw talent and grit there.
Berkly Catton, C, 5’11”, 163 lbs
The former number-one pick in the WHL draft, Berkly Catton is another one of these super-skilled prospects that has top-five talent. He captained Canada at the U17 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and scored three goals while adding nine assists at the tournament.
Last season, Catton played in 63 games with the Spokane Chiefs, who were the second-worst team in the WHL and had a -119 goal differential. Even on such a bad WHL team, Catton was nearly a point-per-game player as a 16/17-year-old with 23 goals and 32 assists.
He’s a local kid to follow over the 2023-24 season to see if he can put himself in a position to be a top-five pick. He’s probably in the 7-20 range right now.
Artyom Levshunov, RD, 6’2″, 198 lbs
The highest-ranked right-shot defenceman in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft is currently USHL defenceman Artyom Levshunov.
He’s a big body that can provide a lot of offence from the backend. Last year, Levshunov scored 13 goals and added 29 assists in 62 USHL games. Levshunov is heading to Michigan State in the NCAA next season and the step up in competition will either make or break him as a top-three talent in this draft.
Levshunov was born in Zhlobin, Belarus, and the 2022-23 season was his first in North America.
His shot is very powerful and from some reports we’ve read, he’s still growing. He came into the 2022-23 season at 6’1″ but is closing in on 6’3″ or 6’4″ territory as he heads to the NCAA.
This is a heck of a prospect to watch, and his play at Michigan State will determine if he is a top-three prospect in this upcoming draft.
Cole Hutson, LD, 5’8″, 143 lbs
Basically, the Hutson family is just trying to copy what the Hughes family did over the past few years.
Cole Hutson is the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens draft pick and hopefully Tom Willander’s BU defence partner, Lane Hutson.
There’s a lot to like from Cole in the offensive zone and though he’s at a physical disadvantage, he competes hard in the defensive zone against players in his age group.
He plays a lot like Quinn Hughes but will need to prove the doubters wrong in a similar way that Hughes has had to over his young career. Hutson will be tested next season as he joins a powerhouse Boston University squad and will have to fit into a lineup that already features his brother as another undersized left-shot defenceman.
If he can drive a pairing in the NCAA as a 17-year-old, Hutson could easily be a top-10 pick. If he struggles with the bigger and stronger players in the NCAA, he likely slides down and is a late first round pick.
The kid is great on his edges and is constantly scanning the ice looking for passing lanes. He is a great playmaker and as we said earlier, there are a lot of Quinn Hughes comparables to be made here.
Aron Kiviharju, LD, 5’10”, 165 lbs
After playing in Finland’s top league for most of last season, Aron Kiviharju left you wanting more this season as he heads into his draft year. He will likely spend the entire season in Liiga instead of splitting time between Liiga and the J20 league like he did this past season.
When it comes to being a powerful skater, Kiviharju looks like the best defenceman in the class.
Depending on how Kiviharju’s 2023-24 season goes, he could be in the conversation to go first overall. You’d like to see him add some weight but that will surely come as he approaches 20 years old. Right now, there’s a lot to like and if he can begin to turn chances into goals, he will make a strong push to surpass Celebrini as first overall.
Ivan Demidov, W, 5’11”, 168 lbs
With some of the silkiest hands in the 2024 draft class, Ivan Demidov is another player who will try to surpass Celebrini as the number-one prospect.
Believe it or not, we are already in the preseason for the KHL and Demidov has been off to a hell of a start with SKA. We’re hoping that he sees a lot of ice time even though that’s not been the SKA way with their top NHL draft prospects over the years.
There’s an extremely high level of confidence showcased on a shift-by-shift basis from Demidov. He does a great job of using his teammates to extend possessions and get the puck toward the high-danger areas on the ice. We’ve also been impressed with his aggressiveness on the forecheck and how he does a great job forcing turnovers in the neutral zone.
This kid and Matvei Michkov are going to make SKA a fun team to follow as the 2023-24 season goes along.
Well, there are eight names to know for the 2024 NHL draft. Now go out and sound smarter than everyone in the lunchroom by saying these names.
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