Blackhawks tried to commerce as much as No. 4 – NBC Sports activities Chicago TERMAN WEBSITE

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The Blackhawks entrance workplace debated internally for weeks about how they’d train the No. 2 choose within the 2024 NHL Draft. After some heated debates, they determined to draft defenseman Artyom Levshunov from Michigan State.

However after making that choice at The Sphere in Las Vegas, the Blackhawks reportedly tried to maneuver again into the highest picks within the draft, providing the Colombus Blue Jackets a commerce supply for his or her No. 4 choose.

Based on TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Blackhawks provided their first-round choose in 2025 unprotected, and one other choose, in return for No. 4. LeBrun says the commerce got here shut however the Blue Jackets could not move on Cayden Lindstrom, who they took with the fourth choose.

Presumably, the Blackhawks aimed to seize playmaking juggernaut Ivan Demidov, who the Blackhawks debated selecting with the No. 2 choose over Levshunov. They tried to seize each gamers, however ultimately, they landed on Levshunov.

Levshunov was the Blackhawks’ selection at No. 2 and it was a call that was made weeks in the past.

“I simply assume the whole bundle,” Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson mentioned of why Levshunov was the choice. “Offensively, he can drive offense, he can skate, he is tremendous cellular, he is acquired good measurement, he is aggressive, he is a bodily defender and we simply assume there’s extra upside to come back.

MORE: Why Blackhawks felt Artyom Levshunov was proper selection at No. 2 total

“The bundle in addition to the potential development left to come back, it was simply so intriguing and one thing we actually felt that may simply make us a significantly better group.”

The Blackhawks have been enamored by Levshunov this season and had scouted him repeatedly at Michigan State. Their love for him solely grew over time, and it isn’t arduous to see why.

Levshunov put up terrific numbers as a freshman with 35 factors (9 objectives, 26 assists) in 38 video games. The yr prior, he had 42 factors (13 objectives, 29 assists) in 62 video games for the USHL’s Inexperienced Bay Gamblers.

“You see the way in which he skates and the dimensions, for an enormous man to get across the ice that properly, and he is very puck pleasant and he is ultra-competitive,” Blackhawks director of beginner scouting Mike Doneghey mentioned. “He simply continued to take the steps.

“Everybody thought he was going to return to Inexperienced Bay, after which he finally ends up going to Michigan State and he was capable of elevate his recreation in opposition to gamers which are 3, 4 and 5 years older than him and never miss a beat from the USHL.

“After which when you meet him off the ice, he is an attractive persona, his character, the way in which he treats folks, it is simply what we’re about.”

Bodily, Levshunov appears to be like NHL-ready; he is listed at 6-foot-1.75 inches and 205 kilos. However the Blackhawks really feel there’s much more room to develop.

“I simply assume he is thus far behind the curve, despite the fact that he is an enormous man,” Doneghey mentioned. “You see him and he is acquired lengthy arms and lengthy legs; it is simply, he hasn’t skilled in North America. In August, he goes to Michigan State, so he did not actually have a school coaching session like most children do. I simply assume his ceiling is high-end.”

The large query now could be, the place will Levshunov play subsequent season? Will he return to Michigan State for a sophomore season or flip professional and play within the AHL?

The Blackhawks appear to have considered that already.

“I am going to in all probability discuss with [his agent] Dan Milstein and sort of give him our concept of what we predict and what we consider is the most effective path,” Davidson mentioned. “We’ll let him hear that first.”

With the choose, Levshunov immediately turns into the highest prospect in Chicago’s system and tasks to be a top-pairing defenseman within the NHL. He very properly may very well be the headliner of the brand new core on the again finish which incorporates Kevin Korchinski and Alex Vlasic.

“With the dimensions, mobility of Levshunov and the abrasiveness that he performs with, he is a terrific complement to the group,” Davidson mentioned. “But additionally his potential with the puck and the flexibility to show protection into offense, it is one thing that he does very properly and it is only a actually interesting add to the group.”

The Blackhawks not solely really feel Levshunov may very well be a top-pairing defenseman. They assume he has all of the instruments to be a bonafide No. 1 blue liner, which each and every Stanley Cup contender wants.

“He actually has that upside, sure,” Davidson mentioned. “It is simply the whole bundle. The flexibility to play either side of the puck, the upside, the bodily. I feel there’s nonetheless bodily development to occur by way of filling out and getting even stronger than he’s, which is fairly scary to consider.

“However I feel simply the flexibility to impression the sport on either side of the puck and to log massive minutes, which I consider he’ll do on the NHL stage.”

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