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Pronman: Too early ranking of the best odds in the 2024 NHL Draft

Pronman: Too early ranking of the best odds in the 2024 NHL Draft

I recently attended the U-17 World Challenge in Langley and Delta, BC, where the 2006 age group was shown. It’s still way, too early for many of these prospects in terms of debating where they might fit into the draft. But that hasn’t stopped us before.

Today I’m going to focus on the obvious top group of players you’ve selected for the 2024 NHL Draft. These are just the players I’ve seen so far this season, so this is not a complete look at the upcoming renewal seasons – I don’t know very well the Russian 06 games, for example, and some of the top players have been injured. or not available. To challenge the U-17 world so I haven’t seen them yet. One early theme is that after the 2005 age group looked at the defensemen, the 2006 group seemed to have a lot more to do in this position.

1. Maclean Celebreni, CI, Chicago- USHL
Celebrini is likely the favorite to be the number one pick in the 2024 NHL Draft as now. He is an electric offensive player who is highly skilled and creative with the puck and can do many challenging plays at a good pace. He has a great scoring ability, but given his average frame, I like how hard Celebrini worked on the ice to match his attacking talent. He’s like the guy who broke off the packaging for next year’s draft as it is now.

2. Artyom Levshunov, RHD, Green Bay-USHL
Levshunov has looked very influential in the USHL to start this season. He’s a player with all the attributes you would want in a top-tier defense prospect. He is very skilled, can perform plays, is mobile and has a good height. I don’t consider him an elite defensive man at the end of the ring. The attack is very good but not spectacular, his defense needs some honing, but he has a lot of professional potential to be a defender in the Premier League.

3. Cole Isserman, LW, USNTDP-USHL
Eiserman was scoring incredible to start his first USNTDP season. His pure skill level is elite, he shows one-on-one game superhero abilities to go along with a great shot. This combo allows him to be very dangerous even though he is not the biggest winger. He is a strong skater, but his skill is what drives his game.

4. Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA-MHL
Demidov has been setting up huge numbers in the Russian Junior League this season. He is a player with a special skill who can at any moment beat the defenders one-on-one to create a scoring opportunity. He combines this with a high-end engine, brings out the kind of ruggedness you love from a 5-foot-11 wing, and isn’t shy about playing in traffic. He has all the offensive touch you could want, but Demidov lacks NHL pace and has an odd-looking skate move that will be tested at higher levels.

5. Berkeley Catton, C, Spokane-WHL
Catton is a notch or two below Celebrini in purely offensive talent, but there are a lot of similarities between them in terms of size, skating and level of competition. Caton can be an offensive dynamic playmaker in his own right and he can be a sophisticated driver even in strength although not that physically strong.

6. Sam Dickinson, LHD, London-OHL
Dickinson had a strong start in London. He has a lot of NHL attributes due to his 6-3 structure, strong skating ability and some offensive touches. Dickinson is very skilled at a puck, but I wouldn’t call him a normal puck drive. Defensively, he’s very strong because of his reach, his feet and the competition. He has a lot of NHL potential.

7. Charlie Elek RHD, Brandon-WHL
Elick’s physical gadgets jump at you as a 6-3 defenseman with professional mobility. It’s not an advanced puck drive, but it does have a good hockey feel. He competes aggressively, isn’t afraid to use his big chassis and stops defensively a lot. It’s easy to think of Braden Schneider while watching Elek because of his similarity to the starter team and hands, but I’d argue he’s ahead of Schneider by the same age.

8. Aron Kiviharju, LHD, TPS-Finland
Kiviharju was an excellent player at Finnish youth level and was brilliant at international under-18s (he was a standout player for Finland’s U18 team when he was 15 years old). Kiviharju has a great sense of hockey and can deliver a lot of challenging offensive plays. He’s a solid skater, although for a 5-9 defense guy I wouldn’t call him an elite little skate. This, and especially his frame, will be the biggest debate about him, as there aren’t many 5-9 defenders in the NHL, but he has a very good chance of being next.

9. Henry Mews, RHD, Ottawa-OHL
Muse is a strong all-round defensive man. He is a good skater and competes aggressively, which allows him to be a good defender despite his average size. He’s not the flashy offensive type, but he’s very smart with the disc and can play from the point.

10. Will Scahan, Ph.D., USNTDP-USHL
Scahan is an intriguing defensive man. He skates well for a 6-4 blueliner. His offensive touches aren’t top-notch, but he can create powerful niches and projects to have him a minor humiliation as a professional. Height, footwork, and body combined with this minor offense give him a lot to work with.

11. Igor Chernyshov, LW, Dynamo Moscow-MHL
Chernyshov is a tool suite. He skates well, has a good sized body and excellent hands. He plays a straight north-south style, which will translate well to the pros even though he has some playmaking in his game.

2025 Draft NHL Qualifying List

What follows is a look at the best late 2006 birthdays I’ve seen so far this season and Michael Mesa, who plays the rookie in 2007. I haven’t seen any 2007 other than Mesa.

1. James Huggins, C, USNTDP-USHL
Very early on, Huggins is looking higher off the field for the 2025 NHL Draft. He is a dynamic striker. He’s an excellent skater with serious speed and extreme action. He has a great individual skill and game making ability and all of these qualities make him capable of breaking transformation at any given point. His only flaw is his 5-foot-10 frame, but everything else about him points to stardom in the National Hockey League.

2. Michael Mesa, LW, Saginaw-OHL
Mesa was given an exceptional status to play in OHL when he was 15 years old and had a great start with Saginaw. He is an excellent skater with a lot of skill and offensive creativity. He has the ability to do many challenging plays at a fast pace, which makes him a great pro despite being only 5-11.

3. Roger McQueen, C, Brandon, WHL
McQueen hasn’t been overly productive yet in the WHL, but there’s no doubting that he’s a top-tier professional. He’s 6-5, he shoots on the right, he skates well and he has very good offensive skills. I would like to see him more consistent and he will be something to watch over the next couple of years, but he is a player full of potential.

4. Logan Hensler, LHD, USNTDP-USHL
Hensler still has a long way to go in his development, but there are rarely 6-5 backs who can skate and move the disc. Over time, he had the potential to be a true top-tier professional.

5. Porter Marton, RW, Sarnia-OHL
Martone is an easy player to imagine would make a good NHL player. He’s a great winger who skates well, has very good puck skills and good enough vision to play at higher levels. He has a straightforward gameplay that translates well to the pros.

6. Gabriel Diggle, J., Victoriaville-QMJHL
D’Aigle looked very impressive for a 15-year-old at QMJHL. From the same county area as Marc-André Fleury, D’Aigle has the sportsmanship, sense and scale to be one of the interesting professionals and will be on the radar for years to come.

(Macklin Celebrini photo: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images)



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