The 2024 NHL Draft is still around a month away. But on Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks made a move to improve their standing in the draft. Chicago made a trade with the New York Islanders involving five draft picks. The Blackhawks acquired the 18th and 50th picks from New York. In exchange, the Islanders received picks 20, 54, and 61.

It's an interesting move given the distance between the trade and the NHL Draft itself. It's quite rare to see deals involving only draft picks this far from the event. This certainly begs the question of what Chicago plans to do with their new selections. After Friday's deal, the Blackhawks have eight selections in the 2024 draft.

Meanwhile, the Islanders pick up an extra selection in this deal. New York has six picks in the NHL Draft following this trade. Three of their six picks occur within the first two rounds of the event. The NHL Draft takes place on June 28 and 29 from the Las Vegas Sphere in the Sin City.

Blackhawks building around Connor Bedard

Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (98) in action against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period at Arena.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks are in the midst of a complete rebuild. They had one of the NHL's more modern dynasties during the mid-2010s. Chicago won three Stanley Cups between 2010 and 2015. However, they have since fallen down the standings. Last season, they won the NHL Draft Lottery to pick first overall.

With that selection, they chose forward Connor Bedard. Bedard was hyped as a generational talent heading into the draft. In his rookie season, he performed rather well. He scored 22 goals and 61 points in 68 games. The 18-year-old Vancouver native led the Blackhawks in goals, assists, and points this year.

Heading into the 2024 NHL Draft, Chicago has two first-round picks. They have the 18th overall pick acquired in Friday's trade with the Islanders. And they own the second-overall pick they received through the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery. There are a number of ways the Blackhawks can go with their two selections.

It is likely Chicago makes a selection with the second-overall pick. However, the 18th pick is another matter. They certainly could stick and pick to further bolster their prospect pipeline. But there is also a chance the Blackhawks trade the pick in order to help Bedard now and potentially accelerate the team's rebuild.

Islanders searching for answers

The Islanders, meanwhile, are on a different path. New York has made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six of the last seven seasons. However, they have not had the same success as they had in previous years. In fact, they haven't made it past the first round in their last two postseason appearances.

The Islanders made an intriguing head coaching chance midseason. Lane Lambert was shown the door and replaced by Hockey Hall of Famer Patrick Roy. Under the firey French-Canadian, New York improved. They were able to make the playoffs, but once again failed to get past the Carolina Hurricanes in round one.

Their part in this Blackhawks trade is a bit more straightforward. New York is unlikely to rebuild at this time, believing Roy can help them make the playoffs again in 2025. But they needed more capital in the 2024 NHL Draft. With this move, they gained an extra pick while moving down a few spots in the first two rounds.

What New York does with these selections obviously remains to be seen. Perhaps these picks will be packaged in another Islanders trade that is still to come. But fans of both New York and the Blackhawks should keep an eye on their teams with the 2024 NHL Draft about one month away.