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Macklin Celebrini hasn’t ruled out a return to the NCAA next year
Credit: Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Macklin Celebrini isn’t stupid. Although he wouldn’t make up his mind in front of reporters at the media event, he knows he’ll be drafted by the San Jose Sharks.

Like last year (Connor Bedard), and like 2015 (Connor McDavid), the first overall pick is unanimous. It’s the next picks that are a little harder to guess. And for the Canadiens, that’s not so ideal.

But hey. We won’t go back over the Habs’ case; we know that a forward is a priority.

As for Celebrini, he seems in no hurry to begin his NHL career.

Indeed, as he mentioned earlier today, “there’s no shame or harm in taking your time to improve”.

He hasn’t ruled out a return to the NCAA. I’m sure he won’t say no when Mike Grier tells him he’s made the team, but he wouldn’t necessarily be disappointed if told otherwise.

It would give him a chance to improve, but also to play with a big club like Cole Eiserman.

I feel like another year would be good for me to be physically ready, to make sure I’m fit and strong enough. – Macklin Celebrini

He’s not wrong in saying that, and in saying such a thing, he comes across as a very mature and intelligent guy. The problem: he won’t make it back to the NCAA, because in San Jose, there aren’t any players of his level. Many people like to say that the NHL isn’t a development league, but in my opinion, that’s not true. There’s no better place to be successful.

With the right support and reasonable playing time, a player can become better in the big league. Talk about Alexis Lafrenière and Juraj Slafkovsky, who didn’t need time in the AHL or junior to develop.

In gusts

– Ah well.

– What a journey!

– Nice observation.

– Very good.

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