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What Macklin Celebrini took away from talking with Connor McDavid

Curtis Pashelka, Bay Area News Group on

Published in Hockey

Macklin Celebrini, expected to be selected first overall by the San Jose Sharks at the NHL draft later this month, got another chance to speak with Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid on Monday before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final in Sunrise, Fla.

Just like the circumstances surrounding Celebrini’s first meeting with McDavid, it was an eye-opening encounter.

Celebrini was around the Oilers briefly as they got ready for their near-must-win game against the Florida Panthers later that night at Amerant Arena. Edmonton lost, 3-0, in Game 1 and didn’t want to fall into an 0-2 hole in the best-of-seven series, but Celebrini was struck by just how relaxed McDavid and the team seemed to be.

“Watching the best players in the world prepare for this type of game, I felt it was just a learning experience, just kind of seeing how they approach it,” said Celebrini, who also spoke with former Sharks winger Evander Kane on Monday. “You can obviously tell that they’re pretty laid back, and they’ve done it before.”

Celebrini, who turns 18 on Thursday, first met McDavid and fellow Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl at the BioSteel Camp in Halifax, Nova Scotia, last summer. Nathan MacKinnon, Patrick Kane, Jack Eichel, Cale Makar, Connor Bedard, John Tavares and others were also at the star-studded camp.

The Vancouver-born teenager said that getting a chance to skate with those elite players was a phenomenal experience.

 

“High pace. I mean, it’s the best players in the world there,” Celebrini told reporters at Amerant Arena. “So that was an experience that I really enjoyed and learned from.”

Did Celebrini feel like he fit in?

“I was trying to play catch up,” Celebrini said. “I was trying to keep up with those guys. Even in a summer skate, the attention to detail they have and their approach towards getting better was impressive.”

McDavid, MacKinnon, Kane, Tavares and Bedard, who were all selected first overall, all jumped to the NHL right after being drafted.

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