by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Daily Faceoff.
The 2024 NHL Draft will be here before you know it, and Draft 412 will preview some of the prospects who will be probable first round picks. Draft 412 will review the strengths and weaknesses of each prospect, and where they should land in the NHL Draft.
Name- Macklin Celebrini
Team- Boston University
HT/WT- 5’11” 181 lbs.
Home – Vancouver, British Columbia- Canada
The early favorite to be the #1 selection in 2024 is Macklin Celebrini. Celebrini started out playing hockey for Shattuck-Saint Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota and after scoring 50 goals and 67 assists in 52 games he signed to play hockey for the Chicago Steel of the USHL. During the 2022-2023 season, he scored 86 points, the most ever by an under-17 player in USHL history. He was the second player ever to be named Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Forward of the Year in one season. After his successful season in Chicago, he committed to play college hockey at Boston University.
Celebrini is a complete two-way player in the mold of Adam Fantilli who was selected 3rd overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in last year’s draft. He plays with the confidence of a much older player and attacks the offensive zone on each shift. He has the soft hands to finish in close and he dangles and maneuvers around defenders effortlessly, always being a handful to contain. He is creative with the puck and possesses a high offensive IQ. A talented passer who always seems to find the open man, Celebrini will be a weapon on the power play.
In the defensive end, he is relentless and you rarely find him out of position. He is not afraid to give up his body and he uses his stick effectively to tie up opponents.
Celebrini is a plus skater but does not have the elite bursts of a Connor Bedard or Connor McDavid. He lacks the sniper ability of other top draft picks and usually scores goals based on his hard work. He needs to grow into his frame and get stronger, which should occur as he continues to mature into his body. He is capable on faceoffs but not great and could use some work on technique.
Watching highlights and game film of Celebrini, Draft 412 saw a lot of New Jersey’s Nico Hischier in his game. Celebrini is more of an offensive force than Hischier, but they both play a non-stop game in both the offensive and defensive zones. If you were to compare him to past #1 overall picks, he is closer in style to the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Hischier than he is to McDavid and Bedard.
Macklin Celebrini is a complete player who any franchise will be lucky to have. Though he may not end up a superstar, he will be a valuable player for many years. Though early, he projects as the #1 pick in 2024.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - Round 1, First Overall