Top-rated 2024 NHL Draft prospect Macklin Celebrini: ‘I’m a big Canucks fan’
Photo credit:Chicago Steel
By Mike Gould7 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks may not have the best odds to select North Vancouver’s own Connor Bedard with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, but there seems to be a silver lining — next year’s top prospect is a Canucks fan, too.
Chicago Steel forward Macklin Celebrini just scored 46 goals and 86 points in 50 games as a 16-year-old USHL rookie. With another strong season, he should have a good shot at being the top pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. And, best of all, he’s from Vancouver.
Celebrini, a Boston University commit, is currently playing for Team Canada at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship in Switzerland. Elite Prospects‘ J.D. Burke caught up with Celebrini on Saturday and asked him for some of his thoughts on his hometown team.
“Oh, yeah. I’m a big Canucks fan,” Celebrini said. “I think they should be in a rebuild phase. I love the team.”
Naturally, the Canucks are very much not currently in a rebuild phase, but they may be forced down that road if they miss the playoffs again in 2023–24. But even if that happens, it’s unlikely they bottom out enough to stand a real chance of picking Celebrini at the top of the draft.
The Canucks have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs once since 2015. They finished sixth in the Pacific Division with a 38–37–7 record and 83 points in 82 games during the 2022–23 regular season, missing out on the postseason by 12 points. As it stands, they have a 3.0 percent chance of winning the draft lottery and moving up from pick No. 11 to 1.
Since they entered the National Hockey League in 1970, the Canucks have never picked first overall in the NHL Draft. They’ve made the No. 2 pick on four separate occasions, selecting Dale Tallon (1970), Trevor Linden (1988), Petr Nedved (1990), and Daniel Sedin (1999). Since 2000, they’ve never picked higher than No. 5 (Olli Juolevi, 2016; Elias Pettersson, 2017).
The 2023 NHL Draft Lottery is scheduled to take place on May 8. Once Bedard gets scooped up by his future NHL club, the hockey world will officially be on Celebrini Watch. For now, the five-foot-eleven forward has four goals and 12 points in six games at the U18s, although Canada won’t play for gold after losing 7–2 to Team Sweden on Saturday.
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