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15 Takeaways From NHL Combine Top Prospects Media Availability – Hockey Writers – NHL Entry Draft

The top five prospects in the 2024 NHL Draft took time Friday afternoon to address the media at the NHL Combine at Buffalo’s Harborcenter. Macklin Celebrini, Artyom Levshunov, Zeev Buium, Cayden Lindstrom and Zayne Parekh all talked about how their weeks are going as they hope to do well for the teams through the interview process and fitness tests.

We will share three takeaways from each player for a total of 15 takeaways. These will be interesting things said or facts they shared. We’ll start with the projected top pick in the draft in Celebrini.

Macklin Celebrini

Before Friday, Celebrini had already said he wasn’t sure if he would go to the NHL or return to school. If and when the San Jose Sharks take him (not a matter of if), everyone involved will consult and make a decision.

-Celebrini was asked what would be the benefit of going back to school. He gave a detailed and interesting answer. It at least suggests that he would not be opposed to the idea.

“I feel like it will give me more time to develop,” said Celebrini. “There’s really no shame. There is nothing wrong with taking your time and gradually getting stronger, bigger, faster. So I feel that in those ways, another year would be good for me just to get fit and make sure I’m very strong when I try to jump. “

You May Love It Again

-Celebrini then admitted that he had dinner with San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier this week. Although he admitted that he was trying to approach every interview the same way this week (he had seven), the Sharks interview he said made him nervous. He said Grier was “great. He has a good personality and makes a lot of jokes. So it was cool. “

– Celebrini said in other interviews that he did not include the Sharks in teams that wanted to know him. “I feel like it was understanding who I am, who I am as a child, my family, my background. All my interviews, it’s about getting to know you more, seeing what you’re like as a child, your interests, just to understand what kind of person I am.”

Artyom Levshunov

-All eyes are on the Chicago Blackhawks with the second pick and if they will take Levshunov at that spot. There has been a lot of talk about what might happen. How did Levshunov address those meetings.

“I think I talked to them many times,” said Levshunov. “We went to dinner with them last night. It was a great conversation with them. It was nice to meet them. I think. We will see. I don’t know.”

-Levshunov was asked how he quickly felt he would be ready for the NHL. “I think it takes a little time to prepare and prepare and play in the program. But I think it takes a little time.”

-Levshunov also admitted that he wanted to go the CHL route. However, due to the situation in Russia, he could not go that way. He had to go the USHL route and go to college. “I wanted to chase my dream,” Levshunov said of his walk.

Zeev Buium

-Buium is one of the many defensemen in the conversation to be the first to be taken off the board. He was asked what it would mean to him if that happened.

“There are many high-level players. For me, it’s about the team and the organization more than any number (in the draft). I want to go to a team that wants me and who I am as a player.”

-Like Levshunov, Buium was also asked how he feels he will be ready for the NHL. “I like to be where my feet are. Right now, that’s Denver. But you never know what can happen in the draft if a team really wants you in. For me, it is great to negotiate with any organization you are assigned to.” With that, Buium admitted that he thinks he can make a change. “The way I think about the game and how I feel about my body right now.”

-Buium said the question that is often asked by teams this week is what is the difference between his 18-year-old year on the National Team and his first year in Denver. “I think about myself, my confidence level and where I am as a player than where I was last year. I have grown and developed a lot mentally and physically. That’s the biggest thing for me and my confidence.”

Cayden Lindstrom

-As you might expect, Lindstrom’s life was a popular topic with groups. “I feel good. I work out 5-6 times a week and ski 3-4 times a week. All is well. To hear it very quickly.”

-Teams also want to know about Lindstrom the player who plays. He has shown that he can finish. He admitted that teams are asking him about the other side of the offensive game. “I have full confidence in my ability to play. I think I’m a good player.”

Zayne Parekh and Cayden Lindstrom at the 2024 NHL Combine (Photo credit: Mark Scheig, Hockey Writers)

-Lindstrom says he tries to model himself behind Roope Hintz and Nathan MacKinnon. “I’m trying to pick up things in their game just in terms of speed and power and the way they create space in the corners and in neutral areas, the speed of building.”

Zayne Parekh

– Parekh said that he will participate in the fitness test on Saturday even though he has just finished the Memorial. Although he has not started his off-season training routine, he is a competitor and wants to be tested even though the results will not be better than him.

– Parekh said that the toughest opponent he faced was Easton Cowan of the London Knights. “I played a lot against Cowan. He is the one guy who drives the pace of that London team. It’s always difficult to compete with him because he wants to win but I like the challenge. I love playing with him as many times as I have.” He also said that playing with Matthew Maggio in his first season was difficult.

-Parekh said he has many videos of MacKinnon on his phone. “I have a lot of videos on my phone and I watch his shifts on the bus after games. The way he controlled the game from the back. Very impressive, very impressive. He’s a bit delusional to be honest. I’ve been saying it all week. I will continue to say that boys will make boys bite and go the other way. He’s the best at it in the NHL.”

All five are expected to speak on Saturday after their fitness tests. Other invited prospects who complete the test will do the same. The first test starts at 7:30 AM eastern with the last group leaving around 1:30 PM eastern in 30 minute increments. Stay with Hockey Writers for full stories.

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