The 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held June 28-29 at Sphere in Las Vegas. The first round will be June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 are June 29 (11:30 a.m. ET; ESPN+, NHLN, SN, SN1). is counting down to the draft with in-depth profiles on top prospects, podcasts and other features. Today, a look at needs for teams in the Metropolitan Division.'s full draft coverage can be found here.

The 2024 NHL Draft provides an opportunity for teams to strengthen positions of need with young talent.

Here are what Metropolitan Division teams could be looking to do at the draft (listed in alphabetical order):

Carolina Hurricanes

Top priority: Best available

First pick: No. 27

The situation: The Hurricanes were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Second Round by the New York Rangers in six games. On May 24, Don Waddell announced his resignation as president and general manager after 10 seasons and Eric Tulsky, an assistant since 2021, was named GM June 18. The two top prospects in the pipeline might be defensemen. Alexander Nikishin (No. 69, 2020 NHL Draft) had 56 points (17 goals, 39 assists) in 67 games as captain of SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League but still has one season remaining on his KHL contract. Scott Morrow (No. 40, 2021) was named a Third Team All-Star in Hockey East after scoring 30 points (six goals, 24 assists) in 37 games at the University of Massachusetts Amherst before signing his entry-level contract with the Hurricanes on April 2. Forward prospect Bradly Nadeau (No. 30, 2023) had 46 points (19 goals, 27 assists) in 37 games as a freshman at the University of Maine and signed his entry-level contract April 7. Carolina has made 50 picks the past five years and will continue to load up with talent at all positions with nine picks in this draft.

Possible fits: Andrew Basha, LW, Medicine Hat (WHL); Igor Chernyshov, LW, Dynamo Moscow (RUS); Jett Luchanko, C, Guelph (OHL)

Columbus Blue Jackets

Top priority: Forward depth, goalie

First pick: No. 4

The situation: The Blue Jackets failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, fired general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on Feb. 15 and hired Waddell on May 28. Columbus needs to surround Johnny Gaudreau with more talent and get Patrik Laine back and healthy after the forward broke his clavicle Dec. 14 and entered the NHL/NHL Players' Association Player Assistance Program on Jan. 28. The organization already is two years into a rebuild and the experience some of the young players gained this season will be valuable in the future, including forwards Adam Fantilli, 19, and Kent Johnson, 21, and defenseman David Jiricek, 20. The Blue Jackets have six picks in the draft, including one in the first round and two in the third, and none in the second. They could select the top forward on the board with their first pick and consider a goalie with one of the two third-round choices.

Possible fits: Zeev Buium, D, University of Denver (NCAA); Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA St. Petersburg Jr. (RUS-JR); Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)

New Jersey Devils

Top priority: Depth at forward, defense

First pick: No. 10

The situation: The Devils have a top-10 selection in the draft for the sixth time in the past eight years. It'll be interesting to see if they keep the pick or decide to use it as part of a trade to upgrade the roster for next season. Sheldon Keefe was named the 22nd coach in team history May 23 after he coached the Toronto Maple Leafs for five seasons, and the Devils acquired goalie Jacob Markstrom in a trade with the Calgary Flames in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft and defenseman Kevin Bahl on June 19. "To have the chance to lead this young, dynamic team and to see the potential that can still be unlocked is all very attractive for me," Keefe said. Rookie defensemen Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec proved fixtures for the foreseeable future. Hughes (No. 4, 2021 NHL Draft), who represented the United States at the 2024 IIHF World Championship, is a finalist for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year after he had 47 points (nine goals, 38 assists) in 82 games. Nemec (No. 2, 2022), who represented Slovakia at the World Championship, was third among rookie defensemen in blocked shots (105), fifth in points (19) and fifth in assists (16) in 60 games. Defenseman prospect Seamus Casey signed his entry-level contract May 6 after he had 45 points (seven goals, 38 assists) in 39 games at the University of Michigan this season. New Jersey likely will use its six picks to bolster the prospect tank with stout forwards and stay-at-home defensemen.

Possible fits: Konsta Helenius, C, Jukurit (FIN); Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna (WHL); Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary (WHL)

New York Islanders

Top priority: Depth on defense, goalie

First pick: No. 20

The situation: The Islanders were eliminated in the first round by the Hurricanes in five games, marking the second time in as many seasons they lost to Carolina at that stage of the playoffs. New York has qualified in five of the past six seasons but hasn't won a round since a run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals, a seven-game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Islanders coach Patrick Roy, who replaced Lane Lambert on Jan. 20, was 20-12-5 in the final 37 games of the regular season to qualify for playoffs. The top players in the system include forward William Dufour (2020, No. 152) and defenseman Calle Odelius (No. 65, 2022). Defensemen Mike Reilly and Robert Bortuzzo each can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. New York acquired the No. 20 pick and two second-round picks (Nos. 54, 61) in the 2024 draft from the Chicago Blackhawks on May 24 for the No. 18 selection and a second-round pick (No. 50). The Islanders have six picks in the draft, including two in the second round.

Possible fits: Eric Emery, D, USA U-18 (USHL); Aron Kiviharju, D, HIFK (FIN); Leo Sahlin Wallenius, D, Vaxjo Jr. (SWE-JR)

New York Rangers

Top priority: Defenseman depth

First pick: No. 30

The situation: The Rangers set team records for wins (55) and points (114), winning the Presidents' Trophy as the team with the most points in the regular season for the fourth time in their history. New York went 26-7-1 in its final 34 games to outlast Carolina, which finished second in the division with 111 points. The Rangers have a solid nucleus with defensemen Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba, forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad and goalie Igor Shesterkin. Left wing Will Cuylle (No. 60, 2020) had 21 points (13 goals, eight assists) and averaged 11:08 of ice time in 81 regular-season games as a rookie. Forward prospect Brennan Othmann (2021, No. 16) had 21 goals and 49 points in 67 games for Hartford in the American Hockey League, and forward Gabe Perreault (No. 23, 2023) had 60 points (19 goals, 41 assists) in 36 games as a freshman at Boston College. New York has four picks in the upcoming draft, with an emphasis on the back end. The last time the Rangers took a defenseman with their first selection was Sean Day in the third round (No. 81) of the 2016 NHL Draft.

Possible fits: Charlie Elick, D, Brandon (WHL); Eric Emery, D, USA U-18 (USHL); Ben Danford, D, Oshawa (OHL)

Philadelphia Flyers

Top priority: Defensemen, forward depth

First-round picks: No. 12, No. 32

The situation: The Flyers went 0-6-2 from March 24-April 9 to finish four points behind the Washington Capitals for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, missing the postseason for the fourth consecutive season. Philadelphia's power play (12.2 percent) has finished last in the NHL the past two seasons. There's a good stable of prospects, including Matvei Michkov (No. 7, 2023), who had 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in 47 games with Sochi of the KHL this season. Defenseman Oliver Bonk (No. 22, 2023) scored 24 goals in 60 games for London of the Ontario Hockey League and London forward Denver Barkey (No. 95, 2023) was tied for fourth in the OHL with 102 points (35 goals, 67 assists) in 64 games. Forward Samu Tuomala (No. 46, 2021) had 43 points (15 goals, 28 assists) in 69 games in his first full season in North America with Lehigh Valley of the AHL. The Flyers will be able to add more talent with 10 picks, including two first-round picks and two second-round picks.

Possible fits: Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna (WHL); Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa (OHL); Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary (WHL)

Pittsburgh Penguins

Top priority: Depth at all positions

First pick: No. 44

The situation: Pittsburgh has not qualified for playoffs the past two seasons after doing so in each of the previous 16 (2007-22) and winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, 2016 and 2017. There are many positives, with goalie Joel Blomqvist (No. 52, 2020) potentially the long-term solution to the Penguins' goaltending issues. In his first full season in North America, the native of Uusikaarlepyy, Finland, went 25-12-6 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 45 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. The Penguins do not have a first-round pick, which they traded to the San Jose Sharks in the Erik Karlsson deal, but there are a few blue-chip prospects in the system including forward Brayden Yager (No. 14, 2023) and defenseman Owen Pickering (No. 21, 2022). They also acquired forward prospects Vasily Ponomarev (No. 53, 2020),  Ville Koivunen (No. 51, 2021), and Cruz Lucius (No. 124, 2022), in the trade of forward Jake Guentzel to the Hurricanes on March 7.

Possible fits: Kamil Bednarik, C, USA U-18 (USHL); Spencer Gill, D, Rimouski (QMJHL); Henry Mews, D, Ottawa (OHL)

Washington Capitals

Top priority: Best available

First pick: No. 17

The situation: The Capitals lost to the Rangers in four games in the first round of the playoffs, marking the first time they were swept in a first-round series in their 49-season history. Coach Spencer Carbery did a nice job rallying his players to the second wild card in the East in his first season after Washington missed the playoffs in 2022-23 for the first time in nine seasons. The Capitals made 28 picks the past five years, and this season saw forward prospects Hendrix Lapierre (2020, No. 22) and Ivan Miroshnichenko (2022, No. 20) earn valuable NHL experience. Forwards Andrew Cristall (No. 40, 2023) and Ryan Leonard (No. 8, 2023), and defensemen Ryan Chesley (2022, No. 37) and Vincent Iorio (2021, No. 55), are considered the best prospects in the pipeline. The Capitals have eight picks, including three in the third round.

Possible fits: Sacha Boisvert, C, Muskegon (USHL); Liam Greentree, RW, Windsor (OHL); Ryder Ritchie, RW Prince Albert (WHL)

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