Blackhawks Move Up in Draft, Trade 1st-Round Pick to Islanders

The Chicago Blackhawks have moved up in the draft by exchanging 1st-Round picks with the New York Islanders

Getty The Chicago Blackhawks have moved up in the draft by exchanging 1st-Round picks with the New York Islanders

The Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Islanders exchanged first-round picks (among other selections) in an early pre-draft trade on Friday, May 24.

The Blackhawks moved two spots up in the first round of the 2024 NHL draft after getting the Islanders’ No. 18 pick on top of a second-round selection (No. 50).


New York dropped a couple of spots but got a bonus pick in return, acquiring the Blackhawks’ first-round pick (No. 20) and two second-round selections (No. 54 and No. 61).

Although moving up and down, respectively, a couple of positions isn’t quite impactful in terms of the players available, let alone with the picks slotted around the middle of the order, this transaction could be only the start of bigger moves yet to come.

Blackhawks Will Keep Rebuilding Through the Draft

The Blackhawks, under the leadership of General Manager Kyle Davidson, have been focused on accumulating high-value picks to rebuild their roster.

After the May 24 trade, the Blackhawks have two first-round picks (No. 2 and No. 18) and two second-round picks (No. 34 and No. 50) in the 2024 draft.

During his first offseason as the GM of the franchise, back in May 2022, Davidson said he wanted to improve the Blackhawks’ prospect pipeline following a draft-and-develop strategy, via Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune.

“Whether it’s move back, move up, stick, see what that pick’s value is on the market for another prospect, an established NHLer, whatever the case may be–that’s all up for evaluation,” Davidson said on May 15 regarding the No. 20 pick, via Chicago Tribune’s Phil Thompson.

In 2023, the Blackhawks selected generational forward Connor Bedard with the No. 1 overall pick and Oliver Moore with the No. 19. In 2022, they drafted Kevin Korchinski, Frank Nazar, and Sam Rinzel with their three first-round picks.

The franchise is still taking the first steps of a deep rebuild, but it cannot be argued they have amassed a vast amount of high-level draft selections in the past few years. Most probably, they will hit paydirt with at least some of them.

Islanders Expected to Complete Further Transactions

On the other side of the equation, the Islanders, managed by Lou Lamoriello, moved down two spots from the No. 18 to the No. 20 in the first round of the upcoming draft. That, however, allowed the franchise to land an extra second-round pick from Chicago.

The Islanders will have six total picks in 2024, including three in the first two rounds of the event (No. 20, No. 54, and No. 61). Under Lamoriello’s tenure, however, the Islanders have not had seven or more picks in a single draft since 2018.

According to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple, in a story analyzing the trade on May 24, this move may indicate further Islanders trades could be on the horizon.

“Knowing Lamoriello, this doesn’t feel like the only transaction coming,” Staple wrote.

With the Islanders’ need to manage their cap space to re-sign some pending free agents and acquire new talent, Staple thinks the franchise could package a few draft picks with players to create some room.

“It could mean New York wants to package that extra second with a roster player to escape a contract burden and free up some much-needed space for a retool,” Staple wrote. “J-G Pageau (two years, $5 million cap hit, according to CapFriendly) and Anders Lee (two years, $7 million) are both options to move.”

Alternatively, Staple also thinks this trade could mean Lamoriello is “seeking to add a player, most likely a top-six forward, and he wants more draft capital to make it happen.”

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