By DraftPro Staff

A few of our scouts from this season have been asked to give us what they think are some ‘hot takes’ on the 2024 NHL draft as we are just hours away from the first round.

‘Hot Takes’ are draft thoughts or even opinions that might be a bit of a shock to the public consensus but what they believe could or will happen. Thoughts from our evaluators after two years watching these prospects develop and seeing the NHL talent hounds following their every move.

We know many of these will not happen, but this is a fun little exercise that will hopefully give our readers some entertainment, even discussion points, as you wait for the first pick to be announced in mere hours.

Draft Picks

”Mikhail Yegorov will be a perennial Vezina candidate in about 6 or 7 years. He will be one of the top two or three players selected in this draft in re-drafts in 2034. He will spend a few years developing and likely have a setback or two but overall his development will be on an upward trajectory. He is a physically fit goaltender who will be a top five goaltender for the majority of his career and when he arrives there looking back it will be obvious to all. Fans will wonder how he slipped as far down he did and what the scouts were thinking about.”  -Andy Miller

“Madison Capitols defender James Mackey goes undrafted and signs as a free agent with an NHL team. On a playoff stacked USHL team he seemed overshadowed a little bit during the regular season. The Villanova, PA native shows that he can be a very physical yet scary presence on the Capitols blueline. There aren’t many old school type defenders out there and James is the kind of guy that oozes high reliability in his own zone. He is not going to contribute much offensively, but will chip in every now and then. This 6’6, 229lb sasquatch of a defenseman goes on to have a strong 10+ year career in the NHL.” – Joseph Stanislau

“William Zellers will be a steal from this year’s draft.  He will put up points well beyond his draft spot due to his speed and skill with the puck.  He needs to improve his play away from the puck and ensure that he is a good all-around player.  He is likely selected as a mid-third rounder to a fourth-round selection and could be a deal though he will take likely four years to get to the NHL but if a team develops him properly and puts him in the right position with the right players they could have a second liner.” -Andy Miller

“The best defenseman from the draft will get picked outside the first round – There are heavy expectations on the defenseman going early in the first round and it can be expected that there will be several more taken after the first batch comes off the board. However, there are several defensemen that have a sneaky chance at being the best in the class when we look back years from now. Leo Sahlin Wallenius, Timur Kol, Alfons Freij, Colton Roberts are all high upside defenders that could figure into a top three role. Possible fallers such as Kiviharju, Hutson, Mews could develop into high caliber players as well.” –  Colin Johnson

“San Jose moved up to the 11th pick just a day before the draft with a plan to reunite longtime friends and former Shattuck St. Mary’s teammates in BU center Maklin Celebrini who they take at No.1 overall, and US NTDP goal scoring winger Cole Eiserman who they scoop up at No.11 overall. The combo go on to become a dynamic offensive duo for years to come in teal town.” – Dan Stewart

“Jake Fisher will be a player who is around for years and an effective one on possibly a few teams who need him for their deep playoff run. He is a trustworthy versatile player who understands the game and does what is needed. He goes on the ice and fills his role in a way that will lead others to follow and ensure that they leave it all out there on the ice. He could become a Justin Williams type player if all goes well in his development and teams are patient.”  -Andy Miller

Demidov falls further than Michkov did last year – Michkov was a generational prospect last year and the worries about him leaving Russia caused him to fall all the way to the 7th pick. Demidov didn’t play any KHL games of recent note, dealt with injuries, while also being a slight frame winger. He plays for the same Russian Franchise as Michkov, why would it be any different this year. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him fall out of the top 7. – Colin Johnson

Cayden Lindstrom will be the top power forward for many years and has an outside shot of being a similar player to Rick Nash.  He will drive the play and command the ice and the puck when he develops and becomes a full time NHLer in about 2-3 years. He will be a player who doesn’t need much space to release a rocket of a shot but is able to buy time and space due to his size and strength. He will terrorize defenders and goaltenders for years to come. – Andy Miller

Trade Frenzy

“Calgary trades up to 4 and drafts Iginla- The Flames are very infatuated with bringing the next generation of the Iginla family back to where it all started. The worry is Montreal has shown interest in Iginla and could be a serious threat to draft him. With the Flames not too far behind at 9 and having a bunch of similar styled assets, they move in front of Montreal to make the pick the team and the city so desperately desires.” – Colin Johnson

“The Leafs begin to change direction a bit by trading up in the draft and acquiring a first and a second for Mitch Marner. With a first, three seconds and two thirds in the upcoming draft the Predators convince Mitch Marner to come and be the new face of Nashville and allow him to be a consistent top ten scorer for 4-5 more years in the NHL.  This allows the Leafs to prepare for the future and opens up cap space for the present, a win-win for both organizations.”  -Andy Miller

“Columbus trades Laine – The Blue Jackets were dealt a major blow, having Superstar Patrik Laine requesting a trade seeking a fresh start after entering the player assistance program earlier this year for mental illness. Columbus and new GM Don Waddell have said they will work together to facilitate a deal. What better way to make a splash in Vegas at the Sphere than trading for one of the best young goal scoring talents in the league.” – Colin Johnson

“Okay, stay with me here. There is a major blockbuster 3-way trade that takes place early in the draft and throws the whole proceedings off for NHL personnel shocked at the assets changing sides. Stanley Cup runner up Edmonton Oilers trade Jack Campbell (5 Million 25% retained) and a fifth-round pick in 2024 to the Utah Hockey Club for future considerations. Utah then trades Campbell to the Stanley Cup Champion Florida Panthers (50% retained) for seventh-round pick in 2024. Florida and Edmonton then complete the meat of the deal sending top defender Aaron Ekblad, gritty center Sam Bennett, and goalie prospect Spencer Knight to Edmonton for superstar center Leon Draisaitl, winger Dylan Holloway and Campbell at 1.875M leaving everyone to pick up their jaws on the Sphere draft floor.”  – Dan Stewart


Get your hands on the comprehensive DraftPro 2024 Draft Guide now!

In the 2024 Draft Guide our team ranks the top 224 NHL Draft eligibles, provides well-written profiles on the top 224 names for this year, includes in-depth prospect features, looks at the NHL’s top 50 drafted prospects coming down the pipe, dives into what each NHL team has in the prospect cupboard and what their draft needs are, provides a comprehensive look at the 2025 NHL Draft with profiles on the top 32, provides a top 32 ranking on the 2026 NHL Draft with profiles on the top 10, and so much more.