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Ben Pope

Chicago Blackhawks reporter

Ben Pope covers the Chicago Blackhawks for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Guttman, a 25-year-old forward who has bounced between the AHL and NHL the past two seasons, will carry a $775,000 salary-cap hit.
After the Sharks take Macklin Celebrini at No. 1 overall, the order gets a lot murkier. Here’s a rough guess for how all 32 first-round picks will play out, including the Hawks’ No. 2 and No. 18 selections.
The feisty forward played junior hockey alongside Bedard in 2021-22 and 2022-23. As a projected second- or third-round pick, he could be in play for any of the Blackhawks’ four picks in those rounds.
Levshunov, one of two candidates for the Hawks’ No. 2 overall pick, brought his refreshing sense of humor to the scouting combine. It’s hard to believe he arrived from Belarus less than two years ago, speaking barely any English.
The Hawks held interviews with most 2024 NHL Draft prospects at the scouting combine this week. The volume of their preexisting prospect pool makes general manager Kyle Davidson feel free to potentially take more risks with the Hawks’ later picks.
Cole Hutson, the younger brother of Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson, headlines this year’s group of draft prospects hailing from the Chicago area — a group which also notably includes goalie Nicholas Kempf, a Morton Grove native, and forward Kamil Bednarik, an Elmhurst native.
Sanford will stick around as a depth-forward option after signing a one-year contract Tuesday, while Misiak — a 2023 second-round pick — inked a three-year entry-level contract.
Demidov, a playmaking Russian forward who could complement Connor Bedard, and Levshunov, a versatile Belarusian defenseman who exudes confidence with the puck, are almost certainly the two options the Hawks will choose between.
Despite the team’s poor record, Connor Bedard’s popularity and the team’s ticket-sales strategies have kept fans coming to the United Center. The Hawks ranked fourth in the NHL with 18,836 fans per game and have a season-ticket renewal rate of 96% this spring.