Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

The San Jose Sharks win the NHL draft lottery and right to No. 1 pick for 1st time in team history

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four

Apr 11, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Boston U. forward Macklin Celebrini (71) looks on in the semifinals of the 2024 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament during the first period against the Denver at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn/Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks won the draft lottery on Tuesday and earned the right to have the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft for the first time in franchise history.

The Sharks finished last in the overall standings and retained their position in the lottery. Now San Jose has the opportunity to select Boston University center Macklin Celebrini, who is ranked first among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

Celebrini is from North Vancouver, British Columbia, but has previous ties to the Bay Area as he spent a season playing for the Sharks’ junior team. His father, Rick Celebrini, is currently vice president of player health and performance for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

San Jose had an 18.5% chance to win the lottery, and a 25.5% chance to pick first.

The lottery proved anti-climactic with no changes to the draft order. The Chicago Blackhawks, who selected Connor Bedard with the No. 1 pick last year, retained the No. 2 selection, followed by the Anaheim Ducks.

It marked the first time since the 2010 draft lottery that the order of selection went unchanged. The NHL’s newest market, Utah, stayed put at No. 6. Salt Lake City landed an NHL franchise with the relocation of the Arizona Coyotes last month.

The league on Tuesday also announced what has been in the works for some time: the draft will be held at the Sphere in Las Vegas June 28 and 29. It’ll be the first event televised at the venue.

This marked just the second time in franchise history — and first since San Jose’s inaugural season in 1991-92 — the Sharks finished last overall in the NHL standings. In missing the playoffs for a fifth straight season, the Sharks are in a total rebuild mode entering their third offseason under general manager Mike Grier. San Jose is coming off a season in which its 19 wins were the third-fewest in team history in a full NHL season.

Grier fired coach David Quinn last month, and previously began overhauling his roster by trading high-priced stars such as Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Timo Meier.

The lottery results also led to the Sharks securing a second first-round pick, No. 14 overall and held by Pittsburgh. San Jose acquired the selection in a trade that sent Karlsson to the Penguins, who had the right to retain the selection only if it landed in the top 10 of the draft order

The 17-year-old Celebrini completed a season in which he finished third among Division I skaters with 64 points (32 goals, 32 assists) in 68 games, and becoming just the fourth freshman to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s top player.

Listed at 6-feet and 190 pounds, he has the opportunity to become just the fourth NCAA player -- and second forward -- to be selected first overall, and first since Michigan defenseman Owen Power went No. 1 to Buffalo in 2021. The only other college forward drafted first was Michigan State’s Joe Murphy by Detroit in 1986.

Celebrini was college hockey’s youngest player last season and is regarded as being a “strong skater with a fluid stride, elusive speed and quickness,” according to a Central Scouting report.

“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,” said Central Scouting chief Dan Marr.

Michigan freshman defenseman Artyom Levshunov, who is from Belarus, is ranked second among North American prospects, followed by Medicine Hat Tigers center Cayden Lindstrom.

Central Scouting’s top European skater is 6-foot-7 defenseman Anton Silayev, from Sarov, Russia.