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Sharks select Macklin Celebrini with No. 1 pick in NHL Draft

The San Jose Sharks took a step toward returning to NHL relevancy Friday night when they selected Macklin Celebrini with the No. 1 overall pick of the draft.

Celebrini, 18, was a star center at Boston University, the fourth freshman to win the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player. And he did so as the nation’s youngest player. 

He scored 34 goals and had 64 points in 38 games.

“Just a surreal feeling,” Celebrini said. “I’ve dreamed about this moment ever since I was a kid, and for it to come true, it’s just an amazing feeling.”

Celebrini is still undecided whether he’ll return to Boston University for his sophomore season.

The Sharks entered the NHL at the start of the 1991-92 season. Friday night was the first time they had the No. 1 pick in the draft. They’ve had the No. 2 overall pick three times. In 1991, they selected Pat Falloon. In 1996, they selected Andrei Zyuzin. In 1997, they took Patrick Marleau.

An NHL Central Scouting report described Celebrini as being a “a strong skater with fluid stride, elusive speed and quickness. … The go-to for one-timers on the power play. Plays a heads-up complete game.”

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Macklin Celebrini with Boston

Celebrini is a central part of the Sharks’ future. The team selected center William Smith last year.

“Having the first overall pick, it’s a big moment for the organization, to have someone hopefully that can be a big part of our core and play here for a long, long time,” Sharks general manager Mike Grier said earlier this week.

“It’s definitely doing a good job of laying (the foundation). I don’t know if it’s finishing the foundation,” he added. “It’s definitely an important time, an important draft, but we still got some work to do to kind of round things out and keep building up the prospect pool.”

The draft took place at the Sphere in Las Vegas for the first time.

The Chicago Blackhawks chose defenseman Artyom Levshunov with the No. 2 pick. The Anaheim Ducks surprised the NHL world when they took Beckett Sennecke, a right winger, at No. 3.

Macklin Celebrini with Sharks brass

At No. 4, the Columbus Blue Jackets chose center Cayden Lindstrom. The Montreal Canadiens chose right winger Ivan Demidov with the fifth pick.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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