Blackhawks land SIX first and second-round talents in NHL Mock Draft 2.0

With the 18th pick at their disposal as well as the second pick, the Chicago Blackhawks put themselves in position to land two stars in NHL Mock Draft 2.0.
2024 Kubota CHL Top Prospects Game
2024 Kubota CHL Top Prospects Game / Dale Preston/GettyImages
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3A: Marek Vanacker, C/Brantford Bulldogs (62nd ranking)

Marek Vanacker was yet another player I was surprised to have seen fall so far after what was a breakout season for the Brantford Bulldog. He went from playing in just 55 regular season games in 2022-23 to 68 this season, and his overall regular season points total also increased from just 16 and four goals to 82 and 36 goals. Vanacker, like some prospects I snagged in the mid-to-late rounds, must put on more size, but the productivity, at least, is already there. 

3B: Will Zellers, LW/North Dakota (63rd ranking)

Another slightly built prospect at the moment with the potential to take advantage of four seasons in college to put on between 25 and 30 lbs of muscle, Will Zellers dominated at multiple levels last season. Now, it’s time to see how he fares against the top collegiate competition in the nation, and where he stands come the 2028-29 season. It may seem like a long time, but don’t worry - it’ll be here faster than you think. 

5: Noa Vali, G/TPS (No ranking)

My fifth and sixth-round picks didn’t have a true ranking attached to them, nor did I suspect that would be the case. But as in most of my mock draft simulations, I mandated myself to pick at least one goaltender, the agile Noah Vali was still on the board. He’s someone who will dominate at the lower levels, so I’m curious to see what he would bring this season if he manages to handle a full-time slate in Liiga. 

6: Erik Pahlsson, C/Minnesota (No ranking)

I ended this draft with an older prospect who, despite his age, will be heading to the University of Minnesota in 2024-25 to begin his collegiate career. One reason for his later arrival is that Erik Pahlsson spent most of the previous season playing in his native Sweden, where he starred at the J20 Nationell level before more than replicating his elite play in the USHL. 


(Statistics provided by Elite Prospects)