2024 NHL Entry Draft Betting Preview

The Florida Panthers did it. Instead of making horrible history by blowing a 3-0 game lead to lose the Stanley Cup Finals, they have now removed themselves from the list of teams that have never won the Cup. On Monday night, they won a thrilling 2-1 Game 7, ending the longest NHL season in history at 259 days.

However, there is no rest for the weary. This week, the league turns to the two-day NHL Entry Draft, which begins on Friday, June 28.

Macklin Celebrini is a Star

Last year’s top pick was obvious. Connor Bedard going to the Chicago Blackhawks was a guarantee. He’s also been everything Chicago wanted in a franchise foundational center.

Macklin Celebrini is a similar obvious choice. He just turned 18, played for a year with Boston University, and became the youngest player in history to win the Hobey Baker Award. He also scored the bronze medal-winning goal against Slovakia at the IIHF World U18 Championships in 2023 for Team Canada.

He is the best player available, hands down, and he is going to the San Jose Sharks with the first overall pick. His father, Rick, is a former soccer player, and is the director of sports medicine and performance with the Golden State Warriors, making San Jose a perfect landing spot for Celebrini.

Second Overall Pick

Celebrini isn’t on the betting board, being the obvious No. 1 overall pick. But there are betting lines on which player will be second. Choices include Belarusian defenseman Artyom Levshunov, who played last year at Michigan State, or Russian winger Ivan Demidov, who has been playing professionally in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Levshunov is the favorite at -270, coming off a season in which he was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the conference’s Freshman of the Year, and he was First Team All-Big Ten. Demidov is +190, scoring 23 goals and 37 assists in 30 games with SKA-1946 last season.

The Blackhawks have the second pick on Friday.

Third Overall Pick

Even though there are really only two options with the second pick for the Blackhawks, the man who is not selected by Chicago is not the favorite to go at No. 3 overall to the Anaheim Ducks. Instead, that player is Anton Silayev at +125. He is a towering 6-foot-7 Russian defenseman playing in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Following Silayev is Levshunov at +260 and Demidov at +450. There is also Canadian forward Cayden Lindstrom at +1000. He’s played three seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League and scored 46 goals and 42 assists in 99 games.

At +1400 is Beckett Sennecke, a winger who played last season with Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League. At +1800, there is Sam Dickinson, a defenseman who played for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

First Round Prop Bets

The 2023 NHL Draft was light on impactful defenseman, but this draft is filled with talent at the position. The current over/under on defenseman to be drafted in the first round is 11.5. The over is paying +140.

You can get +1000 if a goalie is drafted in the first round. The top-ranked goalie is Mikhail Yegorov, who played this past season with the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League.

The top American prospects for this weekend’s draft include defenseman Zeev Buium from the University of Denver, Trevor Connelly, a winger with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, and winger Cole Eiserman, who won a gold medal with the U.S. U18 team at last year’s World Championships. 

The over/under on American players drafted in the first round is 4.5, with the over paying +185.

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