window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'G-QV9HFVZD64'); Sharks Select Macklin Celebrini with No. 1 Pick in 2024 NHL Draft author - TELCOTELCO

Sharks Select Macklin Celebrini with No. 1 Pick in 2024 NHL Draft

The San Jose Sharks made a decisive move in the 2024 NHL Draft by selecting Macklin Celebrini, star forward from Boston University, with the first overall pick on Friday.

Celebrini, a Vancouver native, emerged as the consensus top prospect of his class, showcasing his dominance in NCAA hockey at just 17 years old. His achievement as the youngest recipient of the Hobey Baker Award, honoring collegiate hockey’s top player, underscored his exceptional talent and maturity on the ice.

While not hailed as a generational talent like Connor Bedard of the Chicago Blackhawks, Celebrini’s comprehensive skill set and consistent performance across various levels mark him as a promising future center and cornerstone for the Sharks.

Joe Thornton, a revered figure in San Jose hockey history, announced Celebrini as the top pick, reflecting the franchise’s optimism in his potential.

Reflecting on his future, Celebrini stated, “I’ve still gotta talk to (general manager) Mike Grier and the San Jose organization and my coaches back at BU. But I’ll make a decision soon.”

General manager Mike Grier expressed the team’s readiness to integrate Celebrini into the NHL roster while respecting the player’s deliberation process.

Celebrini has deep ties to the Bay Area, where his father, Rick Celebrini, has been associated with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors since 2018. His early hockey development included a stint with the San Jose Jr. Sharks at the Under-14 level, adding a sentimental connection to his selection by the Sharks.

His path to NHL consideration began with standout performances for the USHL’s Chicago Steel, where he led the league in goals (46) and points (86) at just 16 years old, setting a new standard in junior hockey.

Internationally, Celebrini’s impact was equally profound. His leadership with Team Canada at the 2023 World Under-18 Championship, where he led in points with 15, solidified his reputation as a top-tier prospect.

Celebrini’s achievement as the youngest standout in NCAA history further distinguished him from peers. His ability to excel at such a young age has drawn comparisons to notable predecessors like Jack Eichel and Adam Fantilli, who similarly dominated college hockey before entering the NHL.

Analysts have unanimously praised Celebrini’s all-around ability, highlighting his defensive commitment and playmaking prowess as attributes indicative of a future top-line center in the NHL.

Corey Pronman of The Athletic commented, “(Celebrini) checks every box you want in a top prospect and is one of the few players I’ve scouted where it’s hard to see any noticeable weakness.”

Chris Peters from FloHockey added, “An all-around center with commitment to defensive play and playing on the interior, Celebrini has skill, competitiveness, work ethic, and hockey sense that is consistent with a top-line center in the NHL.”

Scott Wheeler, also from The Athletic, affirmed, “He has shown again and again that he has … everything you look for in the mold of a center and has looked like a true star-forward prospect domestically and internationally.”

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