Macklin Celebrini

Celebrini explains decision to sign Sharks contract, go pro

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Sheng Peng will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports California’s Sharks coverage. You can read more of his coverage on San Jose Hockey Now, listen to him on the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast, and follow him on Twitter at @Sheng_Peng.

Macklin Celebrini’s decision to go pro came down to the last few weeks.

Celebrini, the first overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, signed with the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, forgoing his college eligibility.

But there was a lot going on behind the scenes to get to this day for Celebrini and the Sharks.

Since the San Jose Sharks won the draft lottery on May 7, general manager Mike Grier hasn’t been coy about who he was going to take with the No. 1 selection. But according to Grier, it wasn’t until the NHL Scouting Combine in early June that he felt certain the 2024 Hobey Baker Award winner was ready, both on and off the ice, for the NHL.

On the ice?

“At his age, the maturity he played with, playing a full 200-foot game, getting into the middle of the rink, making plays, handling contact when some of these older teams went after him, he never backed down. His play kind of speaks for itself,” Grier said of Celebrini’s Boston University campaign. “World Juniors, youngest kid out there, and he was Canada’s go-to guy. From a player’s standpoint, we thought that he’s ready and he’ll be able to handle it.”

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