2024 NHL Draft Loaded With Defensemen Who Can Help Blue Jackets

By Coby Maeir on February 9, 2024 at 10:32 am
Michigan State's Artyom Levshunov moves the puck in practice during hockey media day on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, at Munn Arena in East Lansing.
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2024 NHL Draft is just under five months away, and while the winner of the lottery will have the chance to draft Macklin Celebrini, a generational prospect, there are plenty of players who can help the Blue Jackets in the future in this class. Specifically, defensemen. 

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie's mid-season draft rankings, there are seven blueliners ranked in the top 14. In order of McKenzie's ranking, let's take a look at those six defensemen.

1. Anton Silayev, Left Shot, Torpedo Nizhny Novogard (KHL)

Silayev, the No. 2 overall player on McKenzie's list, stands at 6 feet 7 inches tall and has posted 3-8--11 in 55 KHL games this season. With elite size, he's not afraid to be physical, as shown in the clip below.

2. Artyom Levshunov, Right Shot, Michigan State (NCAA-Big Ten)

Levshunov is the No. 3 overall player on the list, is a freshman at MSU and stands at 6 feet 2 inches tall. With 8-19--27 in 28 games for the Spartans, he's eighth among NCAA defensemen in points/game. 

3. Sam Dickinson, Left Shot, London Knights (OHL)

Dickinson, the No. 7 overall player on the list, stands at 6 feet 3 inches and is fourth among OHL defensemen with 50 points (14 goals, 36 assists) in 50 games this season. 

4. Zayne Parekh, Right Shot, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

Parekh, the No. 9 overall player on the list, stands at 6 feet tall and leads OHL defensemen in goals with 23 and points with 69 in 46 games.

5. Carter Yakemchuk, Right Shot, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

Yakemchuk, the No. 12 overall player on McKenzie's list, stands at 6 feet three inches tall. He leads WHL defensemen in goals with 23 and is fourth among that group with 51 points in 46 games this season. 

6. Zeev Buium, Left Shot, Denver (NCAA-NCHC)

Buium, the No. 13 overall player on the list, is a freshman at Denver and recently helped Team USA capture the gold medal at the 2024 World Juniors. He's 6 feet tall and has posted 7-27--34 in 26 games, putting him second in scoring among NCAA defensemen, behind only Lane Hutson from Boston University. 

7. Adam Jiricek, HC Plzen (Czechia)

Adam is the younger brother of Blue Jackets prospect David Jiricek, and is the No. 14 overall player on this list. He's six feet three inches tall and has posted one assist in 19 games for HC Plzen this season. However, he's out for the season after suffering a knee injury at the 2024 World Juniors, according to The Athletic's Corey Pronman

If the NHL season ended today and there was no lottery, the Blue Jackets would have the fourth overall pick and be in prime position to select any of these players to help bolster an already promising group of young defensemen that includes the aforementioned Jiricek, Denton Mateychuk, and Stanislav Svozil.

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