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McKenzie's Draft Ranking: An 'unpredictable ride' after Celebrini


So much for the “consensus” in TSN’s (normally) so-called consensus-based 2024 draft rankings, NHL Draft Lottery edition.

Oh, Macklin Celebrini is still unchallenged as the top prospect in the 2024 draft. Of that there is no doubt.

Ten out of 10 NHL club team scouts surveyed in the past week by TSN have the precocious Boston University centre as the undisputed No. 1, just as he was on TSN’s Mid-Season Rankings in late January. No surprise there.

Beyond Celebrini, though?

Buckle up because it looks like it’s going to be an unpredictable ride.

As one scout put it, “Celebrini is going No. 1, but the next five or six teams [picking after No. 1] might all get the No. 2 prospect on their [respective] lists. There’s that much varied opinion [on the top prospects after Celebrini].”

The lack of clear consensus beyond Celebrini — from No. 2 through to No. 10 and beyond — would be unprecedented. I’ve been doing draft rankings like this one for more than 35 years, and I don’t recall a year where the Top 10 is such a hodgepodge of opinion.

Will that change between now and TSN’s final draft rankings, which will be compiled in early June and released the week prior to the NHL draft in Las Vegas, June 28-29?

Perhaps, but this draft may simply have a lot of really good prospects with maybe not that much separating them, which may well put an even greater premium than usual on each club’s individual likes, dislikes, preferences and/or needs — big vs. small; offensive vs. defensive; forward vs. defenceman; skilled vs. physical.

Before delving into some revealing numbers on that front, here are TSN’s Top 15 Rankings, NHL Draft Lottery Edition:


1. Macklin Celebrini

To no one’s surprise, it’s the freshman centre from BU who not only starred for Canada at the 2024 World Junior Championship but will be playing for the Team Canada at the senior men’s 2024 World Championship in Prague.


2. Ivan Demidov

Ivan Demidov

The skilled centre has been incredibly dynamic and productive in the Russian MHL and has bolted up the ranks from his No. 6 spot on TSN’s mid-season list.


3. Anton Silayev

Anton Silayev

The towering 6-foot-7 Russian blueliner was No. 2 at mid-season and his dip now to No. 3 probably says more about Demidov’s ascension than Silayev’s slippage.


4. Artyom Levshunov

The freshman Belarussian defenceman from Michigan State, like Silayev, also slid down one slot from mid-season but the strong-skating, two-way defender is still viewed a blue-chip top five prospect.


5. Cayden Lindstrom

Cayden Lindstrom

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Medicine Hat Tiger scoring centre remains in the same slot he occupied at mid-season, but his draft day status will be heavily influenced by NHL team doctors and medical reports at the NHL Combine, June 2-8 in Buffalo. Lindstrom suffered a hand injury in December that required surgery and also was reportedly rehabbing a back ailment. He didn’t play any games for more than three months and came back to play in only four playoff games for the Tigers, tallying a goal and an assist and 14 penalty minutes. If he’s deemed healthy, that size and offensive potential make him an attractive Top 5 pick but if there are any concerns about the medical reports, well, teams are very interested to do that due diligence.


6. Sam Dickinson

Sam Dickinson London Knights

The big London Knight smooth-skating, puck-moving, two-way defenceman moved up one slot from the mid-season rankings.


7. Zayne Parekh

Zayne Parekh Saginaw Spirit

The Saginaw Spirit dynamic defenceman jumped up two spots on the strength of a 33-goal, 96-point regular season and having an offensive skill set that separates him from virtually all the other talented blueliners in this draft.


8. Zeev Buium

Zeev Buium

A member of the NCAA champion Denver Pioneers, the American blueliner has rocketed up five spots from the mid-season rankings.


9. Konsta Helenius


The sub-six foot, 17-year-old Finnish forward had a productive season with Jukurit in Finland’s top pro league, dropping just one slot from the mid-season rankings.


10. Tij Iginla

The son of former NHL star Jarome Iginla has had a meteoric rise from No. 16 at mid-season to No. 10 now and is coming off a particularly strong performance for gold-medal winning Canada at the U-18 World Championship.


11. Berkly Catton

Berkly Catton Spokane Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs sub-6 foot but prolific centre - 57 goals and 116 points - slipped just a single spot from TSN’s mid-season list.


12. Carter Yakemchuk

Carter Yakemchuk Calgary Hitmen

The big, rangy Calgary Hitmen defenceman posted 30 goals, 71 points and 120 penalty minutes to maintain the same spot he had on the mid-season list.


13. Cole Eiserman

USA Hockey

The U.S. U-18 national team development program forward has seen his stock plummet throughout the season — he dropped 10 spots from the mid-season ranking — but he’s still viewed as perhaps the best pure shooter/scorer in the draft.


14. Beckett Sennecke

Beckett Sennecke Oshawa Generals

The flashy 6-foot-2 skilled offensive Oshawa General forward continued to elevate his play as the season wore on, moving up from No. 19 on TSN’s mid-season rankings.


15. Trevor Connelly

Trevor Connelly

The skilled American forward scored 31 goals and 78 points with Tri-City in the USHL, but saw his ranking slip from No. 11 at mid-season.


It would be a misnomer to say there’s no consensus to be found in these rankings.

Demidov, for example, had nine scouts place him firmly amongst the top five prospects in the draft; Silayev, Levshunov and Lindstrom each had eight votes in the top five.

But as you drill down on the numbers, there appears to be a wider divergence of opinion than we usually see within the top five, and the bandwidth between Nos. 6 to 15 appears to be a lot tighter than we’ve seen before.

To wit: Five scouts had Demidov as the No. 2 prospect behind Celebrini but five others — three for Levshunov and two for Silayev — saw it differently.

Six prospects got votes at No. 3 — Silayev (three); Demidov and Lindstrom (two each) and one apiece for Levshunov, Parekh and Helenius.

There were eight  — eight! — prospects who got votes in the No. 4 slot — two each for Silayev and Lindstrom and one apiece for Demidov, Levshunov, Parekh, Dickinson, Buium and Yakemchuk.

And seven prospects garnered No. 5 votes — Levshunov (three); Lindstrom (two) and one apiece for Demidov, Dickinson, Sennecke and Yakemchuk.

It was like that all the way through the rest of the top 10 slots — six prospects split the No. 6 votes; seven prospects divvied up the No. 7 votes; six prospects at No. 8; seven at No. 9; and eight at No. 10.

The five prospects ranked from Nos. 11 to 15 “earned” those spots, relative to the 10 ahead of them, but there were some notable asterisks amongst them.

Yakemchuk, for example, is a consensus No. 12 but had two top-five votes; Eiserman slots in at No. 13 but three scouts had him firmly in their top 10; Sennecke is No. 14 but had one top-five vote and two more in the top 10.

There’s obviously more hockey to still be played for some of these prospects and, of course, there is the Central Scouting Bureau Combine in June and countless interviews with clubs that could still influence the final rankings.

But as you get set to watch the NHL draft lottery on Tuesday night, and find out where your favourite team ends up slotting in, it’s useful to get a real-time look at how TSN’s panel of scouts are feeling about the Class of 2024 top prospects.


McKenzie's Lottery Edition Draft Ranking

RK Player Team Pos HT WT GP G P
1 Macklin Celebrini  Boston U (NCAA) C 6'0 190 38 32 64
2 Ivan Demidov St. Petersburg (MHL) RW/C 5'11 181 30 23 60
3 Anton Silayev Nizhny Novgorod (KHL) D 6'7 211 63 3 11
4 Artyom Levshunov Michigan State (NCAA) D 6'2 209 38 9 35
5 Cayden Lindstrom Medicine Hat (WHL) C 6'3 210 32 27 46
6 Sam Dickinson London (OHL) D 6'3 194 68 18 70
7 Zayne Parekh Saginaw (OHL) D 6'0 181 66 33 96
8 Zeev Buium Denver (NCAA) D 6'0 183 42 11 50
9 Konsta Helenius Jukurit (SM Liiga) C 5'11 181 51 14 36
10 Tij Iginla Kelowna (WHL) LW 6'0 185 64 47 84
11 Berkly Catton Spokane (WHL) C 5'11 163 68 54 116
12 Carter Yakemchuk Calgary (WHL) D 6'3 194 66 30 71
13 Cole Eiserman USA NTDP (USHL) LW 6'0 196 56 57 88
14 Beckett Sennecke Oshawa (OHL) RW 6'2 181 63 27 68
15 Trevor Connelly Tri-City (USHL) LW 6'1 161 52 31 78