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Craig Button’s list: four forwards in the top-4, but no Lindstrom
Credit: Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

In the run-up to the 2024 draft, the various analysts and prospect experts make public various “mock drafts” in which they simulate the draft according to what they think each team will do with its first-round pick.

These same experts and analysts also simply make lists, which they update frequently as the draft approaches, ranking the various prospects without regard to team rankings.

These lists are therefore purely a ranking of 2024 prospects.

Lately, we’ve mostly been treated to mock drafts, including the most recent from The Athletic, which ranks Ivan Demidov at 5ᵉ, the same as the Montreal Canadiens.

It would really be quite an accomplishment for the Habs to get their hands on a forward as talented as Demidov, especially considering he’s considered by many to be the second-best prospect in the 2024 draft.

This is also the case in Craig Button’s recent list published today.

However, this list by the renowned TSN analyst includes some big surprises, especially among the forwards.

Indeed, despite all the excellent defensemen available in this draft, which could bring down the name of Ivan Demidov among others, Button ranks four forwards in his top-4.

I guess for Button, it’s not as much of a defenseman draft as others think and claim.

Button ranks, in order, Macklin Celebrini, Ivan Demidov, Konsta Helenius (?) and Tij Iginla.

In Iginla’s case, it’s a big jump from 10ᵉ to 4ᵉ in Button’s list, but an understandable one considering his excellent performances in recent months.

In fact, many believe that he could very well be considered for fourth place.

The surprise in my case is really Helenius.

The Finnish center has good stats in the Finnish top league (Liiga) for his young age, but the fact remains that he hasn’t shown anything impressive that would really make him a top-3 prospect in 2024.

He’s a fairly ordinary player, as my colleague Tony Patoine has explained on several occasions.

However, for Button, Helenius could become a number-one center à la Aleksander Barkov.

Well, to each his own, but I don’t see how Helenius can rank that high, especially seven places above Cayden Lindstrom.

In the text explaining his list, Button doesn’t mention Lindstrom, but you’d think he’d rank him so low because of the limited number of games (32 WHL season games) he’s played due to injury.

As for me, Lindstrom remains a top-5 prospect in this draft, but to each his own.

In the end, Button really seems to prefer several forwards to the various elite defensemen available in this draft, which incidentally pushes Artyom Levhsunov down to 7ᵉ rank behind two other defensemen (Zayne Parekh and Zeev Buium), even though he is seen by many as the best defenseman in the draft.

In short, this list should be taken with a grain of salt, considering that it’s only a ranking and not a mock draft.

By the way, Button correctly predicted a pick out of 32 in the last draft with Connor Bedard at #1.

In a flurry

– It starts tonight. Who do you think will win?

– The other semi-final, the Western, begins tomorrow.

– Four more NHL positions to be filled.

– It would be quite a scenario.

– The Gabriel landeskog case remains to be followed.

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