Off-Ice News

Macklin Celebrini selected by San Jose Sharks with top pick in NHL Draft

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

It’s officially official. The San Jose Sharks selected Boston University’s Macklin Celebrini with the first overall pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft Friday night at the Sphere in Las Vegas, Nev.

Long considered the top prospect in this year’s draft pool, Celebrini won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s best player after a stellar freshman season at BU. He finished second in the nation in goals (32), third in points (64), and second in points per game (1.68). 

He was also the youngest player in college hockey, turning 18 on June 13 after spending the entire collegiate season as a 17-year-old. 

San Jose’s selection of Celebrini was little more than a formality. Celebrini was the only draft prospect invited onto ESPN’s live coverage of the NHL Draft Lottery on May 7, and Sharks general manager Mike Grier all but confirmed that Celebrini would be his pick that night.

“It’s a big moment for the organization and the fans here to be able to have the opportunity to draft a player like Macklin,” Grier said on ESPN just after San Jose won the lottery.

Celebrini is well acquainted with San Jose and the surrounding area. His father, Rick Celebrini, has been the director of sports medicine and performance for the Golden State Warriors since 2018, which led the Celebrinis to move from Vancouver, Canada, to the Bay Area. There, Macklin fittingly played for the San Jose Jr. Sharks.

Celebrini is the second BU player to be selected first overall in the NHL Draft, and only the fifth college player to ever be drafted first. The first was goaltender Rick DiPietro, who was picked by the New York Islanders in the 2000 Draft after spending the 1999-00 season with the Terriers. 

For BU and Sharks fans alike, the focus now turns to Celebrini’s status for next year. Will he return to BU or make the immediate jump to San Jose?

To this point, both options remain in play. 

“It would just give me a little bit more time to develop,” Celebrini told reporters about possibly returning to BU at the NHL Draft Combine on June 8. “There’s never really shame, or there’s nothing wrong with just taking your time and just improving a little bit more, getting stronger, getting bigger, getting faster.

“So I feel like in those ways, another year would benefit me just to get more physically ready and just make sure I’m very fit and strong when I try to make that jump.”

A return to BU would also give Celebrini the opportunity to play alongside incoming freshman Cole Eiserman, a friend from when the pair suited up together for high school powerhouse Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota a few years ago. Eiserman’s name will be called later Friday night — in the middle of the first round, according to projections

But given Celebrini’s dominance at BU in 2023-24, a leap to the NHL also makes sense.

“I don’t think he can make the wrong decision,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said on the New England Hockey Journal’s RinkWise podcast on June 12. “I don’t think it would hurt him to come back, but I also can’t sit there and look him in the eye and tell him that I don’t think he can play at the NHL level.

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