Celebrini remains top North American prospect in final NHL pre-draft rankings

NEW YORK — Boston University centre Macklin Celebrini remained the top North American skater in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau's final rankings released Tuesday ahead of the 2024 entry draft.

Celebrini, a 17-year-old freshman from North Vancouver, B.C., led the Terriers with 64 points (32 goals, 32 assists) in 38 games this past season en route to winning the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the NCAA's top men's hockey player.

He had four goals and four assists in five games for Canada at this year's world junior championship.

“Macklin Celebrini has had a remarkable freshman season at Boston University accumulating the NCAA Hobey Baker and Hockey East Player and Freshman of the Year award,” Dan Marr, vice president of NHL Central Scouting, said in a release. "He possesses that rare, elite ability to thrive with his skills and smarts while competing with a consistent passion to face every challenge head-on and generate results, all the while making himself a better player."

Celebrini can become the fourth NCAA player and second U.S. college forward to be selected first overall at 2024 NHL draft, which will be held June 28-29 in Las Vegas.

Defenceman Artyom Levshunov (Belarus, Michigan State, NCAA), centre Cayden Lindstrom (Dawson Creek, B.C., Medicine Hat, WHL), defenceman Zeev Buium (San Diego, University of Denver, NCAA) and defenceman Zayne Parekh (Markham, Ont., Saginaw, OHL) round out the top-five North American-based skaters.

Six-foot-seven Russian defenceman Anton Silayev moved up one spot into the top international ranking. The 17-year-old had three goals and eight assists in 63 games playing with Nizhny Novgorod in Russia's top-tier Kontinental Hockey League.

“It’s not often that there is a 6-7, 211-pound defenceman who is a fluid skater and has the puck skills, attributes, and intangibles to be considered a franchise-type prospect,” Marr said. “He has quick smarts, instincts, and composure to read and react on the play and has a very efficient transition and puck movement game."

Ivan Demidov (Russia, SKA St. Petersburg, MHL), forward Konsta Helenius (Finland, Jukurit, Liiga), defenceman Adam Jiricek (Czechia, Plzen, Extraliga) and forward Michael Brandsegg-Nygard (Norway, Mora, HockeyAllsvenskan), round out the international top five.

Mikhail Yegorov (Russia) of Omaha (USHL) is the No. 1-ranked North American goaltender and Eemil Vinni (Finland) of Jokipojat (FINLAND-2) tops the list of international goaltenders.

No. 9-ranked forward Tij Iginla of the Western Hockey League's Kelowna Rockets, the son of Hockey Hall of Fame forward Jarome Iginla, moved into the top 10 after sitting 11th in the mid-season rankings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press