Macklin Celebrini

How scout believes Sharks should handle Celebrini NHL decision

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There wasn't much of a dramatic verdict regarding the Sharks' selection of Macklin Celebrini as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

But that doesn't mean the organization doesn't still have an important choice to make soon -- one that could have a major impact on Celebrini's development.

Over the coming weeks and months, the Sharks and Celebrini will work together to decide whether the top prospect will return to college for a second season at Boston University, or join San Jose immediately to begin his NHL career.

In an ESPN report Sunday, one anonymous NHL scout shared his thoughts on how the Sharks should handle Celebrini's decision for the 2024-25 season.

The scout told reporter Kristen Shilton that Celebrini not playing for the Sharks next season would be a "shock," given the top prospect's high potential in both the long and short term.

"If [Celebrini] wants to be in the NHL, and the Sharks can see his development is there, it only makes sense to get going," the scout explained in the report. "You picked him for a reason, and it's to build around him now."

On one hand, the Sharks' front office doesn't want to hamper Celebrini's development by rushing him into the NHL and shaking the confidence of a skater who only just turned 18.

At the same time, Celebrini just had a dominant freshman season at BU, during which he racked up 32 goals and 32 assists on his way to becoming the youngest player ever to win the NCAA's top honor -- the Hobey Baker Award. Celebrini may be already past the college level, and he would gain much more by graduating early to the NHL.

This scout appears to subscribe to the latter mindset.

"He's going to be a good player for a long time," the scout added. "There's no reason he can't start showing that at the NHL level now if that's what he ultimately feels ready for."

No matter where the No. 1 pick plays next season, his development will certainly be one to monitor.

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