NHL

NHL draft winners, losers: Surprise pick’s priceless reaction, Celine Dion highlight Day 1

NHL draft winners, losers: Surprise pick's priceless reaction, Celine Dion highlight Day 1

The San Jose Sharks’ big win at Friday’s first round actually happened at the NHL draft lottery.

But they followed through and took future franchise player Macklin Celebrini with the No. 1 overall pick. Not only was the Boston University Hobey Baker Award winner the most talented player in the draft, he has ties to the Bay Area.

He and fellow college hockey player Will Smith give the last-place Sharks two players to build around. Celebrini, who just turned 18, said he doesn’t have a timeline on deciding whether to go pro or return for another season of college.

The Sharks also selected defenseman Sam Dickinson with the 11th overall pick. He has the potential to eventually develop into a top-pairing blue liner.

Here are the winners and losers from the first round of the NHL draft:

Beckett Sennecke reacts to being selected with the third overall pick by the Anaheim Ducks.

Winners

Beckett Sennecke’s reaction

The Anaheim Ducks went a tiny bit off the board last year when they took Leo Carlsson ahead of Adam Fantilli. They went way off on Friday by drafting Sennecke third overall. He was expected to be taken much later in the first round and the prospect had a priceless reaction on his face when he heard his name.

Sennecke had a strong second half with Oshawa, which raised his draft stock.

“When he gets physically stronger, he’s going to be a guy that can play any type of game on the ice,” Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek told reporters. “He can play a physical game, he can play a skill game and he also can play a speed game. His overall game is what excited us.”

Montreal Canadiens’ secret weapon

The Canadiens probably knew they would be booed in Las Vegas because they upset the Golden Knights in the 2021 playoffs. But they silenced the boos by calling Celine Dion up to the stage to announce their pick. Montreal took Ivan Demidov.

The Flyers also had a nice guest appearance by Philadelphia native and boxing announcer Michael Buffer.

Norway

No Norwegian player had ever been taken in the first round before Friday. In 2024, two were.

The Detroit Red Wings took winger Michael Brandsegg-Nygard at No. 15 overall and the Ducks took defenseman Stian Solberg at No. 23.

“A really good two-way player and a scoring winger that obviously fills a void in our prospect pool,” Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman told the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, about Brandsegg-Nygard.

Losers

Calgary Flames

Wouldn’t it have been great for the Flames to draft Tij Iginla at No. 9? His father, Jarome, established his Hall of Fame credentials in Calgary. But the Utah Hockey Club took the younger Iginla with the No. 6 pick.

No NHL players traded, just picks

Yes, the trade alert horn was very busy. And yes, there were no trades in the first round last season, so we should be grateful. But the trades were just swaps of picks.

The first one was the Wild moving up one spot in a deal with the Flyers to take Zeev Buium. Utah and Chicago both moved up to make another pick in the first round and Edmonton gave up a 2025 or 2026 first-rounder to draft 32nd overall.

Ryan Suter

The Dallas Stars defenseman was bought out for the second time in his career, just the second time that has happened (Tony DeAngelo is the other player). Suter is still getting paid from his Minnesota Wild buyout and will get $1,433,333 for each of the next two seasons for this one. He becomes an unrestricted free agent but is 39.

The Flyers also bought out forward Cam Atkinson.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2024 NHL draft winners and losers: First round highlights, lowlights

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