Celebrini, top projected pick, discussed on ‘NHL Draft Class’ podcast

Macklin Celebrini’s spot at the top of NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters for the 2024 NHL Draft didn’t require a lot of debate, according to Central Scouting director Dan Marr.

“The time it took to slot him at No. 1 took less time than you asking that question,” Marr said on the latest episode of the “NHL Draft Class” podcast, which focused on the release of Central Scouting’s final rankings of the top North American and International skaters and goalies on Tuesday. “Having said that, there’s been ongoing dialogue regarding him all year and all he’s done is consistently raise that bar for himself, taking his team on his shoulders. … We don’t have to spend a lot of time and we didn’t have to spend a lot of travel time going to see him play live. He was delivering to expectations and projections. That’s what you love about a player like that — he’s got all those elite qualities about him, and he delivers.”

After Celebrini, the rest of the top five consisted of Michigan State defenseman Artyom Levshunov at No. 2, followed by center Cayden Lindstrom of Medicine Hat in the Western Hockey League, University of Denver defenseman Zeev Buium and defenseman Zayne Parekh of Saginaw in the Ontario Hockey League.

Marr discussed what separated the three top defenseman and what earned Lindstrom the No. 3 spot despite missing the final three months of the regular season because of injuries, and only playing four WHL playoff games.

“Yes, it was good he was able to be cleared medically to come back to play, but as discussed int he past, you can’t miss that much time and come back and be 100 percent of the player you were,” Marr said. “You can be 100 percent medically fit and cleared to play. We didn’t expect him to come back and just take off or pick up where he left off, and he didn’t. He might have been doing a little bit too much on his own. … We just looked at it [as] he did nothing to diminish his status from where we had him ranked. He’s still one of the best power forwards coming into a draft class that we’ve seen in a number of years.”

Marr covered several other players why they were placed where they were in the rankings, among them forward Cole Eiserman with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team and forward Michael Hage of Chicago of the United States Hockey League, and why defenseman Anton Silayev of Torpedo in the Kontinental Hockey League is No. 1 among International skaters.

The podcast is free, and listeners can subscribe on all podcast platforms, including iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts. It also is available on NHL.com/multimedia/podcasts and the NHL app.

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