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NHL:The Home adaptation for Levshunov trying to fit in at Blackhawks development camp

Obviously being able to be hands-on every single day is a huge bonus,” he said. “That is the line that we walk with our amateur prospects, is the realization that they all play for other coaches. They all play in different systems.

“So if we have the ability to have him in house and our great staff in Rockford, our development staff working with him on a daily basis, to start to close that gap between where he is and where he needs to go, I think it’s only a bonus.”

Where Levshunov ends up in the fall remains to be seen, but until decisions are made, he’ll enjoy his week at development camp.

“We try to know each other better, try to meet with each other,” he said of his fellow prospects. “It’s a good experience for me, more of a learning week here, so it’s good for our development.”


Levshunov strode to the lectern, the affable defenseman leaning his forearms on it while he addressed the media.

“So far, so good,” the No. 2 pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft said during their development camp on Wednesday. “No, it’s good. We’re training, we’re meeting everybody.”

For the second straight summer, the Blackhawks’ development camp is solely off-ice. There’s no skating, practices or scrimmages. So Levshunov is taking the opportunity to get acquainted with some potential future teammates, take some cooking lessons, get in some off-ice workouts and decompress after a hectic schedule around the draft last weekend in Las Vegas.

“I was [nervous]. It was a lot of work for me, getting drafted the past month, it was a little bit of a busy time for me, but it was fun,” he said. “We were in Vegas, you know? It was at Sphere, it was amazing. It was unforgettable moment for me, and it was a good time.”

Levshunov was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and was also on the All-Big Ten First Team and All-Freshman Team for Michigan State. He was the third-youngest player in men’s college hockey, ranked second nationally among freshmen at his position and tied for 10th among all defensemen with 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists) in 38 games.

A right-handed shot, Levshunov led the Big Ten with a plus-27 rating while playing a top defense pair all season.

Blackhawks assistant general manager of player development Mark Eaton watched Levshunov quite a bit at Michigan State.

“Good size, great skater, and he has that ‘it’ factor where he wants the puck, he wants to be a difference maker, he wants to be out there in the most important times of games,” he said.

“And he’s not a liability defensively. I think that’s a key for defensemen, that he has that 200-foot game. So, nothing but everything to like about him.”

Artyom Levshunov drafted by Chicago Blackhawks

Levshunov is already familiar with a couple of other Blackhawks prospects with Big 10 hockey ties. That includes center Oliver Moore, the No. 19 pick by Chicago at the 2023 NHL Draft and defenseman Sam Rinzel, their No. 22 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Both play for the University of Minnesota.

“He’s big, he’s mobile, he’s a two-way defenseman,” Rinzel said. “You’ve got to be aware on the ice obviously when we play them. He likes to be sneaky, so wherever he is, you’ve got to play attention. Especially wingers or forwards, they’ve got to be dialed in wherever he’s at, all over the ice.”

Moore said Levshunov’s offensive mindedness is what you first notice about him.

“In our pre-scouts and stuff, that’s what we had on him: really offensive, jumps in the play but he’s smart with it,” Moore said. “Obviously, his skating ability and how big he is, he can close really well. He’s an all-around player and I think the Blackhawks are pumped to have him, for sure.”

Will the Blackhawks have him this season, either in Chicago or Rockford, their American Hockey League affiliate? Levshunov reiterated on Wednesday that he hasn’t decided if he’s going back to Michigan State. He needs to talk with his family, the Blackhawks and his agent.

Eaton said there would be an advantage to having Levhsunov in Rockford.


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