Sharks win NHL Draft Lottery, No. 1 pick | NHL.com (2024)

San Jose (19-54-9), which finished 32nd in the NHL, could use the No. 1 pick to select center Macklin Celebrini, who was No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters. The 17-year-old (6-foot, 190 pounds), a left-hand shot with Boston University in Hockey East, is the youngest player in NCAA Division I men's hockey this season and the youngest to win the Hobey Baker Award, presented annually to the top NCAA men's hockey player.

“There were definitely some nerves,” Sharks general manager Mike Grier said. “… It’s exciting to have the opportunity to possibly pick someone like Macklin.

“It’s almost like a nice prize after this year.”

Grier was asked if he has already made up his mind about selecting Celebrini with the No. 1 pick.

"I would think so," he said. "He played 200 feet. He's 17 but he's got a really solid build on him already and I think he's got a professional attitude and mentality already. I've talked with (coach) Jay Pandolfo at BU, and he said sometimes they have to kick him off the ice.

"I just think it's how he plays the game; he works just as hard in the defensive zone as he does in the offensive zone. When you put it all together, we think he's in a good spot (to be NHL-ready)."

Celebrini was second among NCAA players with 32 goals and third with 64 points in 38 games for the Terriers, and was named Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year, joining Jack Eichel (2015), Paul Kariya (1993) and Brian Leetch (1987) as the only players to win the awards in the same season. Celebrini also earned the Tim Taylor National Rookie of the Year Award.

Asked if he has a sense of relief now that he knows where he might be headed, Celebrini told ESPN, “Obviously San Jose is an amazing organization. It's pretty cool. … Obviously I lived there for a little bit growing up, with my dad with the (Golden State) Warriors (as vice president of player health and performance). They're a great organization. If I'm fortunate enough to get drafted there I'd be very lucky.”

If the Sharks select Celebrini, he'll be the second consecutive player born in Vancouver to be chosen No. 1. Center Connor Bedard, born in North Vancouver, was selected No. 1 by the Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft.

"Macklin Celebrini has had a remarkable freshman season at BU and has been a model of elite consistency," Central Scouting director Dan Marr said. "He possesses that rare ability to thrive with his skills and passion to face every challenge head-on and generate results, all the while making himself a better player."

Chicago GM Kyle Davidson said the Blackhawks are thrilled to have the No. 2 pick.

“We’re really excited about how things ended up tonight,” Davidson said. “It wasn’t No. 1, but I think for us the way we see this draft and what we’re able to acquire at the draft in June, No. 2 is a very big win. … I can’t wait to dig in with our amateur staff next week to start the process of getting that board finalized or on the road to being finalized.”

Anaheim GM Pat Verbeek told the Ducks website, “While it’s disappointing to not win a lottery, we remain in a position to draft one of the best players available and add to our young, strong core of top young players already in the NHL.”

The Blackhawks and Ducks will have plenty of elite-level players to choose from if Celebrini is off the board. Michigan State University defenseman Artyom Levshunov, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, has been No. 2 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters all season. The 18-year-old right-hand shot (6-2, 208), the third-youngest player in men's college hockey, ranked second nationally among freshmen at his position and tied for 10th among all defensem*n with 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists) in 38 games. He led the Big Ten with a plus-27 rating while playing on a top defense pair all season.

"He's very gifted offensively, good on the power play, and he's got deception, can shoot through screens and put it on guys' tape," Michigan State coach Adam Nightingale said. "He really values defending. He's not perfect, as it's something young player still need to grow at it, but I think that he's got his head in the right spot."

The two top players in Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters also are expected to be top-five picks: defenseman Anton Silayev of Torpedo in the Kontinental Hockey League, and right wing Ivan Demidov of St. Petersburg in Russia's junior league.

Silayev (6-7, 211) had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) and 74 blocked shots, and led Torpedo with 98 hits in 63 regular-season games. The 18-year-old scored the most points by an under-18 player in KHL history; Vladimir Tarasenko is second (10 points for Novosibirsk in 2008-09).

"It's not often you find a 6-foot-7, 211-pound defenseman capable of moving like him with his smooth and active skating stride," NHL director of European Scouting Jukka-Pekka Vuorinen said. "He seems to always be alert and able to quickly get pucks to his forwards in transition. He can carry the puck and has a great release. His personal skills are still a bit raw, but his ceiling is high. He's looked so composed in the KHL. He seems to be ready to play in the NHL almost immediately."

The team that selects Silayev will do so with the understanding that his KHL contract with Torpedo runs through 2025-26, so patience will be needed.

Demidov (5-11, 181), a left-handed shot, had 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists) in 30 regular-season games and 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in 17 Minor Hockey League playoff games.

"We had a difficult discussion on Silayev and Demidov, who we believe could both be franchise players in the NHL," Vuorinen said. "We feel Demidov is the most skilled player in this year's draft, even when comparing him to the North American skaters. This doesn't mean he would be the best hockey player in the draft, but Demidov's personal skills are out of this world when playing in the MHL."

2024 NHL DRAFT ORDER

1. San Jose Sharks
2. Chicago Blackhawks
3. Anaheim Ducks
4. Columbus Blue Jackets
5. Montreal Canadiens
6. Utah
7. Ottawa Senators
8. Seattle Kraken
9. Calgary Flames
10. New Jersey Devils
11. Buffalo Sabres
12. Philadelphia Flyers
13. Minnesota Wild
14. San Jose Sharks (from Pittsburgh Penguins)
15. Detroit Red Wings
16. St. Louis Blues

* The remaining positions will be determined by results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

NHL.com deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman, and independent correspondents Bruce Miles and Chelena Goldman contributed to this report

Sharks win NHL Draft Lottery, No. 1 pick | NHL.com (2024)
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