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North Vancouver’s Macklin Celebrini set to join San Jose Sharks

Celebrini could go straight into the lineup next season, Sharks management says after San Jose wins the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery
Macklin Celebrini, 17, won the Hobey Baker trophy in April after helping his Boston University hockey team make it to the NCAA Div. 1 finals for the second-straight year. He'll likely head to San Jose next season after the Sharks won the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery, with Celebrini expected to be the first overall pick in June.| BU Men’s Hockey / X

While it’s rare for hockey organizations to reveal their choices this far ahead of the draft, the San Jose Sharks wasted no time in making its preference known: Macklin Celebrini.

Shortly after news emerged on Tuesday that the last-place team won the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery, the expected move became clear in a flurry of media activity. Celebrini has been widely anticipated as the No. 1 pick in the draft, which runs June 28 and 29 in Las Vegas.

Sharks general manager Mike Grier said it was a big day for his organization.

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to possibly pick someone like Macklin,” Grier told reporters.

He added that he could see Celebrini joining the lineup right away next season.

“We’ll have a talk with him and his family to see what he’s feeling but I think he’s got the ability to play,” Grier said.

The GM only had good things to say about Celebrini.

“He’s got a special mentality to make himself better, to push himself. [He’s] super competitive, brings it every day and already as a 17-year-old kid he’s got a great level of professionalism to him,” Grier said.

Celebrini already has history in the Bay Area, having moved there for a year while his dad Rick worked as the director of sports medicine and performance for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

During that time, Celebrini racked up 94 points in 54 games with the San Jose Junior Sharks Under-14 team in 2019-20. He only spent one season there before moving to Minnesota.

The North Vancouver product attended Tuesday's draft lottery event at the NHL Network’s studios in Secaucus, N.J. There, he reacted in real time as the Sharks were announced as the lottery winner.

Celebrini said he was excited and a little anxious in the moment.

"Whatever happens, happens in June, but if I get selected there [it will be exciting],” he said.

The rising hockey star was also asked how he felt about joining a team that’s going through a rebuild process.

“I watched it with Connor Bedard last year and I talked to him a little bit, and the other top prospects that have done it before him,” Celebrini said. “It’s a unique situation going into that. It’s cool being along for that rebuild, and building something special there.”

Celebrini and fellow North Vancouverite Bedard will play together on Team Canada in the IIHF World Championship, running May 10 to 26 in Czechia.