Macklin Celebrini

What McDavid told Celebrini before Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final

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There’s one thing Macklin Celebrini and Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid certainly share in common. 

 On Monday, the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NHL draft was given a tour of the Stanley Cup Final, connecting with McDavid and the Oilers ahead of their Game 2 matchup against the Florida Panthers.

Nine years earlier, McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, also was given an exclusive look into the Stanley Cup Final that season between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning, meeting Patrick Kane and being given the chance to dive into a champion’s mind.

But this time around, it was McDavid’s turn to play teacher, and Celebrini’s to play student. 

"Seemed like some great kids," McDavid told ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. "They said they had fun in the combine, which we were surprised at." 

 Celebrini, who has yet to make up his mind on turning pro ahead of the upcoming NHL season, was thankful for the words he was able to share with the three-time Hart Trophy winner -- given annually to the league's most valuable player.

"He was just asking about the trip, how it's going," Celebrini told Wyshynski. "It was awesome to talk to him, especially on a big game day, so we all really appreciated it."

The trip to Florida, which also included an inside look into practices and media interviews, culminated in a busy stretch for the presumed No. 1 overall pick , who recently underwent the rigors of the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo. 

"I just like watching how the best players in the world prepare for these games, especially since the Stanley Cup Final is as big as it gets," Celebrini told Wyshynski.

 "It's just a learning experience, just kind of seeing how they approach it. I mean, you can obviously tell that they're pretty laid back and they've done it before."

Weeks before the 2024 NHL Draft, Celebrini’s focus turns to spending time with his family, including his father, Rick Celebrini, the Golden State Warriors' director of sports medicine and performance. 

Whether he takes the ice in San Jose next season or not, it's presumed the Sharks, in the midst of a rebuild, will land the Hobey Baker Award winner, adding to their young core which includes forward Will Smith. 

If so, it’d be the young forward’s great return to San Jose, a place Celebrini once called home. 

"It'd be very cool if I get selected there," Celebrini added to Wyshynski. “I mean, it'd be a dream come true.

"Of course, I'm nervous. I'm excited. I have different emotions about it. People say enjoy it -- that it only happens once in your life -- so I'm really going to try to do that."

Soon enough, Celebrini will share much more in common with McDavid, including the opportunity to change his first NHL team’s fortune for the better.

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