How the choice between Levshunov and Demidov will change the Chicago Blackhawks' future

I truly believe that the Blackhawks cannot go wrong with drafting either of these two players. That being said, it is also true that deciding between the two players may determine how the Hawks go forward with roster construction, salary cap management and hockey-philosophy.
SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action...
SKA Hockey Club player, Ivan Demidov (11) seen in action... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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If the Blackhawks Draft Levshunov...

This would indicate that the Blackhawks either A) see Kevin Korchinski more as an elite second defenseman and Vlasic as an elite third defenseman. Or B) That the Hawks are looking ahead to the next summer's free agent class and that they will attempt to land a truly elite forward there.

Drafting Levshunov would give the Hawks their number one defenseman, and a dynamic puck mover on the right side.

It is a coveted asset to have these days and I wouldn't blame Kyle Davidson for seeing Levshunov as the type of prospect you just can't pass up. I think however that this choice would be less about the Hawks loving Levshunov, and more about them loving the players that will be available in the next few free-agency classes.

Here are a few of the forwards who will hit unrestricted free agency in 2025...

Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Sam Bennett, Brad Marchand, Sidney Crosby, Jamie Benn, Mikko Rantanen, Leon Draisaitl, Brock Boeser, and Nikolaj Ehlers.

Those are truly elite targets for the Blackhawks to pursue in free agency as soon as next offseason.

The availability of players of that quality may decide to draft Levshunov the right one. If you pick Levshunov, you will only need to wait one more year with Bedard playing alongside a (hopefully) healthy Taylor Hall and Philip Kurahsev before the Hawks could feasibly land a player like Mikko Rantanen or Nikolaj Ehlers to be Bedard's long term running mate.

It also seems that the Blackhawks defensive prospects are a bit further along in their development than the forwards, as players like Korchinski and Vlasic are already full time NHLers while Frank Nazar is just beginning to see NHL games. Therefore, it may make more sense to add Levshunov now as the final piece to the young D-core, and then use free agency to add an elite veteran forward to truly accelerate the rebuild.

There is no wrong decision to be made between these two exceptional talents, but choosing one or the other will certainly change how the Blackhawks approach the next few seasons as they attempt to build a Stanley Cup champion.

If it were me, I think I would still lean slightly toward Demidov, as I just see him as a prospect who can be a cornerstone of the future offense alongside Bedard. However, based on the evidence available, it would seem that the Hawks may be leaning towards Levshunov.

As I theorized in this article that may mean that in July of 2025, when free agency opens, the Hawks will sign an elite forward to propel the team into the next phase of the rebuild. This coming draft will tell us a great deal about who the Hawks are today, and who they will want to be in the years ahead.