Blackhawks try to trade No. 4 – NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks’ front office has discussed internally for weeks how to exercise the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. After some heated discussions, they have 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 LeBourne, the Blackhawks offered their unprotected 2025 first-round pick, and another pick, in exchange for the No. 4 pick. LeBourne says the deal was close but the Blue Jackets couldn’t get past Cayden Lindstrom, whom they selected with the fourth pick.

The Blackhawks were reportedly looking to acquire big-time playmaker Ivan Demidov, who the Blackhawks discussed taking with the No. 2 pick instead of Levshunov. The team tried to get both players, but ultimately settled 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 Levshonov’s selection. “He can lead the offense, he’s a good skater, he’s very mobile, he’s got good size, he’s aggressive, he’s a tough defender, and we think he has more potential in the future.”

more: Why the Blackhawks felt Artyom Levshunov 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 have been a fan of Levshonov this season and have been watching him regularly at Michigan State. Their love for him has only grown 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 well, he’s very friendly to the puck players and he’s very competitive,” Blackhawks director of amateur scouting Mike Doneghy said. “He continued to take steps.

“Everyone thought he was going to go back to Green Bay, and then he ended up going to Michigan State and was able to elevate his game against guys three, four, five years older than him and didn’t miss a single USHL snap.

“And then once you meet him off the ice, he’s charismatic, his personality, the way he deals with people, that’s what we strive for.”

Physically, Levshunov looks ready to play in the NHL, standing at 6 feet 1.75 inches tall and weighing 205 pounds. But the Blackhawks feel there is more room for growth.

“I think he’s very behind the times, 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’s going to Michigan State, so he hasn’t even had a college training session like most kids do. I think his ceiling is very high.”

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

It seems the Blackhawks have already thought about this.

“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 Levshonov’s size and his mobility and the power he plays with, he’s a great complement to the group,” Davidson said. “But also his ability to handle the puck and his ability to turn defense into offense, it’s something he does very well and it’s 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 upside, yeah,” Davidson said. “It’s just the whole package. Being able to play on both sides, the upside, and the physicality. I think there’s still physical growth that’s going to happen in terms of filling the field and getting stronger than he is, which is pretty scary to think about.” on.

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

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