Recapping the first round of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft

NHL Draft
Photo credit:Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
18 days ago
The 2024 National Hockey League Entry Draft came and went Friday night.
That begs the question, what went on in it? Well, all but one Pacific Division team had a pick, there were some interesting drops, and the Oilers even made a move!
Let’s start with what the Oilers did first, before looking at what some other Pacific teams did.
The Oilers trade a protected 2025 first for the 32nd-overall pick
In a bit of a shocking move, the Edmonton Oilers traded a conditional 2025 first-round pick in exchange for the 32nd overall pick, selecting London Knights forward Sam O’Reilly.
The right-shot forward is a strong defensive centre but can also play on the wing. With the Ontario Hockey League Champions, the 18-year-old scored 20 goals and 56 points in 68 games, along with five goals and 12 points in 16 postseason games.
Acting general manager Jeff Jackson noted that the team had O’Reilly much higher on their board, so landing him with the 32nd-overall pick isn’t a stretch.
Macklin Celebrini went first overall
The San Jose Sharks had two picks on Friday, the first-overall and the 11th-overall pick. There’s no surprise the Sharks selected Macklin Celebrini first, but also drafted O’Reilly’s teammate in London, left-shot defenceman Sam Dickinson.
Celebrini was the youngest player to ever win the Hobey Baker Award, scoring 32 goals and 64 points in 38 games for Boston University as a 17-year-old. Pretty incredible stuff.
Dickinson on the other hand, scored 18 goals and 70 points in 68 games for the London Knights, along with four goals and 13 points in 18 postseason games en route to an OHL championship and Memorial Cup final.
Beckett Sennecke shockingly went third overall
Picking third overall was the Anaheim Ducks, who went off the board (sort of) and selected Oshawa Generals forward Beckett Sennecke. He was a consensus first-round pick, but in the early 10’s range.
Last season with the Generals, he scored 27 goals and 68 points in 63 games, along with 10 goals and 22 points in 16 games as the Generals made it to the Ontario Hockey League Finals. However, they were swept at the hands of the London Knights, in big part due to Sennecke missing that series.
Last season, the Ducks selected Leo Carlsson with the second overall pick, and have picked 10th or higher since the 2018 draft.
Montréal could have the steal of the draft
Last draft, the Montréal Canadiens passed on Matvei Michkov due to an uncertain future, instead selecting David Reinbacher fifth overall.
Well, this draft they selected the second-best forward to some, Ivan Demidov. Last season in the Russian MHL, he scored 23 goals and 60 points in 30 games, along with playing four games for St. Petersburg SKA.
For context, his consolidated ranking on EliteProspects was second, with only three publications ranking him third. The Canadiens may have the steal of the draft.
Berkly Catton selected by Seattle
Heading back to the Pacific Division, the Seattle Kraken were on the board with the eight-overall pick, selecting Spokane Chiefs forward Berkly Catton.
Last season in the Western Hockey League, the 18-year-old centre scored 54 goals and 116 points in 68 games, only playing four postseason games where he had four assists.
Since the turn of the millennium, there have been four players in the CHL who were draft eligible with 50 goals and 115 points, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Connor Bedard, and Berkly Catton. It’s worth mentioning McDavid had 44 goals in 47 games with the Erie Otters in his final season in the OHL.
Calgary selected two players
Immediately after the Kraken were the Calgary Flames, who picked Zayne Parekh with the ninth overall pick.
Last season with the Memorial Cup-winning Saginaw Spirit, he scored 33 goals and 96 points in 66 games as a defenceman, along with two goals and 11 points in 13 postseason games. He’s had comparisons to Evan Bouchard and Quinn Hughes, so perhaps the Flames have their future top pairing defenceman.
Speaking of Quinn Hughes, who plays for the Vancouver Canucks, the Flames picked with the 28th-overall pick acquired in the awful Elias Lindholm trade. With that pick, the Flames selected Matvei Gridin, who scored 38 goals and 83 points in 60 games for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League.
Detroit picked the first Norwegian ever in the first round
There were two Norwegian first-round picks in this trade. Pretty predictably, the Detroit Red Wings selected Michael Brandsegg-Nygård, who scored eight goals and 18 points in 41 games for Mora IK in HockeyAllsvenskan, the second tier of Swedish hockey.
Brandsegg-Nygård also represented Norway at the World Juniors and World Championships. In the 2024 WJC, he scored three goals and five points in five games, the same total he had with Norway at the World Championship in seven games.
Later in the draft, the Anaheim Ducks selected Stian Solberg with the 23rd-overall pick. The left-shot defenceman played for Vålerenga in Norway in 2023-24, scoring five goals and 15 points in 42 regular season games, as well as two goals and nine points in 17 postseason games.
Vegas selected Trevor Connelly
On the ice, he played for the Tri-City Storm in the United States Hockey League, scoring 31 goals and 79 points in 52 games, an improvement over the 24 goals and 47 points in 57 games the season prior.
He represented the United States at the most recent u18 tournament, scoring four goals and nine points in seven games, but also had 31 penalty minutes including this dangerous hit in the gold medal game.
Off the ice, well, that’s a whole other story out of the scope of this article. He’s had his troubles in the past, and hopefully the work he’s done to rectify the issue is genuine.
Here’s more on that, from Daily Faceoff’s Hunter Crowther:
However, what caused teams to pass on the Tustin native were his off-ice issues. As a 16-year-old in 2022 while playing AAA hockey with the Long Island Gulls, Connelly posted on Snapchat a photo of a friend building a swastika with blocks in a library. He was kicked off the Gulls, and while he’s received diversity training and community service, teams wouldn’t touch him, as one NHL executive clearly told The Hockey News.
Cole Eiserman dropped to the New York Islanders
Heading into the season, the left-winger was a top-10 draft prospect in this draft, but fell all the way to 20th where the New York Islanders nabbed him.
Last season with the U.S. National Development Team in the United State Hockey League, he scored 25 goals and 34 points in just 24 games, not quite beating his career-high of 28 goals and 44 points in 32 games the season prior.
There are concerns about his defensive game, but he has a great shot and really likes to hit. If given a defensively responsible centre, Eiserman could thrive.
Los Angeles select Liam Greentree
Forward Liam Greentree also saw a bit of a drop considering where he was ranked by most publications. He was ranked 16th by EliteProspects’ Consolidated Ranking, but dropped all the way to 26th to the Los Angeles Kings.
Last season for the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfire, he scored 36 goals and 90 points in 64 games for an abysmal team that finished 19th in a 20-team league. That’s pretty impressive, considering he didn’t really have many good players around him, especially after the trade deadline.
Good pick for the Kings, and that jersey is clean.
There was almost a blockbuster trade
According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the Chicago Blackhawks offered a 2025 unprotected, I repeat, an unprotected pick for the Columbus Blue Jackets’ fourth overall pick. Of course, they offered another pick, but the Blue Jackets declined because Cayden Lindstrom was their guy.
There’s certainly a lot to like about the Chetwynd, British Columbia native, as he scored 27 goals and 46 points in 32 games prior to his injury, returning to score a goal and a pick up an assist in four postseason games.
Still, there’s a solid chance that the 2025 Chicago Blackhawks pick could be higher than where the Blue Jackets picked, potentially even the first-overall pick in the Michael Misa draft. The Jackets may regret not making this move.
If you enjoy my content, you can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D.

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