Prospects Ramblings: Future NHL Drafts, CHL USA Prospects Challenge, Vegas Chatter, and More

Peter Harling

2024-06-28

Happy draft day everyone, and greetings from Las Vegas. I have been in Vegas a few days now and have been enjoying spending time with some friends from the community. Some cold drinks have been enjoyed here in the blistering heat and some good hockey conversations as well. Here is a summary of some of the thoughts and conversations I have had.

What will the 2025 NHL Draft look like? This has been a question since the end of the 2023 Draft when the chatter about decentralizing the Draft began. What is driving this seems to be two points.

  • NHL teams want more privacy than they get on the draft floor
  • NHL teams want to stay home as the turnaround time for free agency is tight.

With that in mind, what we see next year could look similar to how the NBA draft works.

The NHL teams will remain in their won cities and likely host their own draft parties for their fans. The local beat writers likely stay home and interview the General Manager after the draft.

The NHL could still have a host city draft where all the prospects attend and go on stage to be greeted by Gary Bettman and then run the media gauntlet with national media.

With no NHL team tables on the draft floor the top prospects and families could be seated there, opening up more stadium seats for public ticket sales (more revenue).

This would be a best-case scenario for people like me wo love attending the Draft each year and having the opportunity to network with other media members.

The CHL announced that the Top Prospect Game has been replaced with the CHL USA Prospects Challenge. It will begin in November 2024 and will continue for three years. It will be a two-game series between the top first-year NHL Draft-eligible prospects from the CHL’s three-member leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) playing against the USA’s National Team Development Program (NTDP).

This announcement sparked the conversation about the NCAA potentially allowing CHL players to join the NCAA in the future. It looks like this revamped CHL top prospects game could be a precursor of bigger things to come.

Currently USHL players are allowed into the NCAA and when the CHL can send its players to the NCAA we could see the USHL joining the CHL as a fourth league.

It is interesting how the league announcement of the CHL USA Prospects Challenge is for the “next three years”. It begs the question what happens in three years?

Another point this announcement brought up is the Memorial Cup, and how if the USHL joins the CHL the host team will no longer be involved in the tournament. There will still be a host city of course, but that can now be any city in North America. The NCAA hosts the Frozen Four in big markets and the Memorial Cup could follow suit.

More CHL talk, the CHL Import Draft will be July 3rd and the CHL has lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian players. The CHL will not be bringing back the Canada-Russia series unfortunately.

Draft talk and rumors. Word on the street is still after Macklin Celebrini still confidently going first overall, there is no confidence in who is going where.

Chicago Blackhawks – A lot of folks believe the Hawks are going to start the run-on defense at second overall and the guy they like appears to be Artyom Levshunov.

Anaheim Ducks – picking third overall the Ducks love their defence and I have heard they like Zeev Buium, or Anton Silayev. Also heard Beckett Sennecke, but if he is truly their guy I believe they could trade down and get him inside the top ten.

There is a lot of speculation surrounding Ivan Demidov. His play upside has been compared to Matvei Michkov and the “Russian Factor” with Demidov is far less concerning as he could be in the NHL as soon as the end of this season following the completion of his KHL contract. However, he could still fall at the draft and the Montreal Canadiens could possibly get him with their first pick at fifth overall.

Some of the more interesting players to talk about are the polarizing players with a wide rang of opinion and no consensus in the rankings.

Trevor Connelly has tremendous talent on the ice, but what keeps him down the rankings are off-ice issues and questions surrounding his character. I have heard a wide range of concerning opinion about the young man on one hand. On the other I have heard his interviews at the Combine were very satisfying. Is this a player NHL teams will want in their organization and the locker room? I am confident he is on several NHL teams DND (Do Not Draft) list. But it only takes one team to say he made mistakes, learned from them and we have no worries about the young man and select him in the first round.

Terik Parascak is another risk/reward gamble. He came from nowhere and had a 105-point rookie season in the WHL. He is a very smart player with a high hockey sense and can think the game at a high pace. The problem is his skating is well below average. A favorite comparable for Parascak is Tyler Toffoli, but one scout told me at the same age, Parascak is well behind where Toffoli was. The other concern with Parascak is the physical game, he is 6-0, 179 pounds and does not play a very physical game. His skating and strength are two very significant, but correctable components of his game. If he can bulk up and get his skating to an acceptable level, he could be worth an early pick.

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Jérémy Davies 4.0 7.0
Brandon Biro 6.5 7.0
Maxime Lajoie 4.5 8.0
Mac Hollowell 5.5 7.0
Benoit-Olivier Groulx 4.5 8.5
Carson Meyer 5.0 3.5
Jiri Patera 6.0 7.0
Ben Jones 6.5 7.0
Joseph Cecconi 4.5 6.0
Adam Raska 5.0 5.0

LATEST RADIO & DRAFTCASTS

[gs-fb-comments]

FIND US ON FACEBOOK