Blackhawks try to trade up to fourth – NBC Sports Chicago

Blackhawks try to trade up to fourth - NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks’ front office discussed internally for weeks how to exercise the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. After some heated discussions, they decided to select defenseman Artyom Levshunov from Michigan State.

But after making that pick at The Sphere in Las Vegas, the Blackhawks reportedly tried to get back at the top pick in the draft, making the Columbus Blue Jackets a trade offer for their No. 4 pick.

According to TSN’s Pierre LeBorn, the Blackhawks offered their unprotected 2025 first-round pick, and another pick, in exchange for the No. 4 pick. LeBorn says the deal was close but the Blue Jackets couldn’t move past Kayden Lindstrom, who they selected with the fourth pick.

The Blackhawks are reportedly looking to grab juggernaut playmaker Ivan Demidov, who the Blackhawks discussed taking with the No. 2 pick over Levshunov. They tried to grab both players, but ultimately landed on Levshunov.

Levshunov was the Blackhawks’ pick at No. 2 and that was a decision made weeks ago.

“I think he has all the potential,” Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said of why Levshunov was selected. “He can lead the offense, he can skate, he has great mobility, he has good size, he is aggressive, he is a solid defender, and we think he has more.” of possibilities in the future.”

more: Why the Blackhawks felt Artyom Levshonov was the right pick at No. 2 overall

“The package as well as the potential growth that remained was very interesting and we really felt it would make us a much better organization.”

The Blackhawks were intrigued by Levshunov this season and regularly scouted him at Michigan State. Their love for him grew over time, and it’s not hard to see why.

Levshunov put up impressive numbers as a freshman with 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists) in 38 games. The previous year, he had 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) in 62 games for the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers.

“You see the way he skates and his size, for a big guy he gets around the ice really well, he’s very friendly to the puck players and he’s very competitive,” said Mike Donaghy, the Blackhawks’ director of amateur scouting. “He’s just kept making strides.

“Everyone thought he was going to go back to Green Bay, and then he ended up going to Michigan State and he was able to elevate his game against players 3, 4, 5 years older than him and not miss a beat on the team.” USHL.

“And once you meet him off the ice, he’s a charismatic personality. His personality, the way he treats people, that’s what we’re about.”

Physically, Levshonov looks ready to play in the NHL. He stands at 6-foot-1.75 and weighs 205 pounds. But the Blackhawks feel there is more room to grow.

“I think he’s way behind the curve, even though he’s a big guy,” Doneghy said. “You see him, he’s got long arms and long legs; he just hasn’t trained in North America. In August, he went to Michigan State, so he hasn’t even had a college practice like most kids do. I just think his ceiling is high.”

The big question now is where will Levshunov play next season? Will he return to Michigan State for his sophomore season or will he turn pro and play in the AHL?

Looks like the Blackhawks have already thought about that.

“I’ll probably talk to [his agent] “We’ll talk to Dan Milstein and give him our idea of ​​what we think is the best path, and we’ll let him hear that first,” Davidson said.

Thanks to this selection, Levshunov immediately became the most promising player in Chicago’s system and is expected to be one of the best defensemen in the NHL. He could be the star of the new team in the defense line, which includes Kevin Korcinski and Alex Vlasic.

“With Levshunov’s size, mobility and power that he plays with, he is a great complement to the group,” Davidson said. “But also his ability to handle the puck and ability to turn defense into offense, it’s something he does very well and is just an attractive addition to the group.”

Not only do the Blackhawks believe Levshunov can be a starting defender, they also believe he has all the tools to be a No. 1 defender, which is what every Stanley Cup contender needs.

“He definitely has that edge, yeah,” Davidson said. “It’s just the whole package. The ability to play on both sides of the puck, the edge, the physicality. I think there’s still physical growth happening in terms of filling in and getting stronger, which is pretty scary to think about.” “.

“But I think just being able to impact the game on both sides of the puck and getting big minutes, which I think he’ll do at the NHL level.”

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