Macklin Celebrini

How Sharks will decide if Celebrini plays in NHL next season

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The question for the Sharks isn’t if Macklin Celebrini will play at SAP Center, but rather when?

 As San Jose prepares to make Celebrini the No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 NHL Draft on June 28 in Las Vegas, it remains uncertain whether the 17-year-old center will make his pro debut or continue his illustrious college career at Boston University this upcoming fall.

But if Celebrini were to commit to turning pro ahead of next season, would the Hobey Baker Award winner be ready for the NHL's level of play? 

Speaking on the "NHL Draft Class Podcast", Sharks’ director of amateur scouting Chris Morehouse shared his opinion on whether or not Celebrini is an instant player in Ryan Warsofsky’s rotation next season. 

“I’m going to pull the old the kid is [going to],” Morehouse said. “Again, and it’s kind of an answer that you get when you feel like people don’t want to answer you, but it's the truth. 

“I think, and it’s that one thing working with Mike [Grier] and the Sharks organization is [that] you put the kids first and you make sure that they’re going to be put in the best situation for them to develop and grow.”

Morehouse was full of praise for San Jose's player development framework, and ultimately neglected to directly offer a straightforward answer on whether or not the highly rated Celebrini will wear Sharks teal come October. 

If anything, San Jose's director made it clear that if Celebrini were to go pro, the Sharks' new coaching staff led by Warsofsky, would determine whether or not he would be NHL ready.

“We have a fantastic development staff with Todd Marchant, Luca Sbisa, Tommy Wingels,” Morehouse added. “We are really lucky to have a group all throughout the world that manages these kids. 

“If it is Celebrini, and [he] comes to that decision after the draft and it becomes that, that’s going to become a conversation that’s not for me. It’s more of what’s best for the kid, what’s best for the future of the Sharks as well as the future of whatever that player is.” 

As far as things stand, Celebrini, who also spoke on the podcast, remains uncertain about where he will be playing hockey next season. 

“I feel like it’s mostly the situation I’m going to be put on both sides,” Celebrini said.

“I’m still going to talk about that with my family and my advisors, and kind of make the decision that is best for me and makes most sense for my career.” 

Whether the young prospect goes pro and happens to be NHL-level ready or not, it sounds like the Sharks organization is willing to protect and work around the projected future of the organization.

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