What position should the Chicago Blackhawks address with the 18th overall pick in the NHL Draft?

Whatever position group they draft from at No. 2 should dictate what they will do at No. 18
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The 2024 NHL Draft is one week away and there are still plenty of questions regarding where each player will get selected. The Chicago Blackhawks have arguably the toughest decision in the draft at second overall with the choices narrowing down between Michigan State (NCAA) defenseman Artyom Levshunov and SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL) forward Ivan Demidov.

Until just a couple of days ago, the consensus was that the Blackhawks were leaning toward taking Levshunov after his impressive media showcase. His playful and genuine off-ice personality made him stand out during interviews as someone an NHL team would love to add to their organization.

However, the decision became less wide open after Ivan Demidov made his way to Florida for a showcase hosted by his agent Dan Milstein of Gold Star.

The showcase allowed teams to meet with Demidov for the first time, and he was nothing short of impressive. He did not skate due to the forward still recovering from an ankle injury, the reason why he did not participate in the NHL Draft Combine.

Many had their doubts about Demidov before the showcase such as his height, and most noteably his expected arrival in the NHL. Demidov is signed for another season in Russia, leading to teams being worried that he would extend his deal overseas.

Initially, Demidov was projected to be around 5-feet 10-inces tall. But, the mini-combine showed that the forward is listed just above 6-feet tall and weighing in at 192 pounds, showing that he has more pro-ready size than what was believed.

Demidov also showed strong English speaking, rarely needing to use a translator for his interviews. It also became much more known that he fully intends on playing in the NHL, and could make the jump to North America as early as next season when his KHL contract expires.

This makes the Blackhawks decision even tougher for their second-overall pick. But, the Blackhawks also have the 18th selection which will all depend on who they inevitably select second.

The school of thought is that if the Blackhawks take Demidov, they'll take a defenseman at 18, and visa-versa if they choose Levshunov. Which ever position they prioritize with their first pick will ultimately give them the chance to select the other with their 18th pick.

Let's look at two possible round-one scenarios for the Chicago Blackhawks heading into the 2024 Draft.