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Subscriber Mailbag: Ask Us Anything!



It’s a brand-new day for the San Jose Sharks…it’s time for Macklin Celebrini…and a mailbag!

The San Jose Hockey Now Podcast will once again take your questions in a special subscriber mailbag.

Subscribers, just drop your questions in the comments below. Keegan and I will pick the best questions and answer them THIS SATURDAY AFTERNOON. Every subscriber will get at least one question answered.

If possible, please use your e-mail that you subscribe with in your comment! That makes it easier for me to verify your subscription.

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Here are a couple recent SJHN+ articles, full of insider and exclusive insight, and only for subscribers.

Sharks Head Coach Search: A Couple Juicy Tidbits, a Dark Horse Candidate? (+)

Bystedt Talks Struggles This Season, Adjustments to North American Game…and Fashion (+)

NHL Scouts Talk Collin Graf’s Ceiling (+)

Bordeleau Is a Different NHL Player Now, What’s Changed? (+)

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We haven’t heard much about the Sharks coaching search, were they waiting to see if landing Celebrini would attract more sought after coaches?

David Gotlieb

or for assistant coaches that are still in the playoffs?


How does the drafting of Celebrini (in addition to other recent draftees) impact the process for the next coaching hire?

Matt Railo

With Celebrini now added, where do you see the Sharks’ many prospects lining up in two more years (2026-27 season), assuming none of the top ones are traded in the meantime? And does that look like the core of a playoff team to you?


With the 14th pick, do the sharks try to trade up to get closer to picking a top level defenseman like Zeev Buium or do they stick with the four picks in the top 45?


Man I hope so.


Do you think that this draft (after Celebrini) will be the one where the Sharks start picking for need instead of just “best player available” as they start to fill out their future roster? If so, what’s their biggest need? Blue line depth? Goaltending depth? Bottom 6?


Never a good idea to draft for need with 18 year olds. Always BPA. Then trade for need.


with the addition of smith + celebrini and a promising pool of prospects that san jose has, what free agents do you think grier can possibly persuade to come to san jose?


Sheng, if I give you $10, will you buy me lottery tix?

David Rowley

Do we have a good a attacking defenseman prospect in the pipeline, if not, do think GMMG will target one in the upcoming draft? (Thank you too Sheng for all your great coverage of our Sharkies!)


In what scenario do the Sharks NOT pick Celebrini?


This is ridiculous, but do you foresee a scenario where both Smith and Celebrini stay in Boston and the Sharks keep on tanking… this time for James Hagens?? Would Hasso be willing to let this happen?


What type of free agents is Mike Grier going to target to play with Celebrini and Smith? Is he going to go for the scoring type or the physical type ?


Hey guys, thanks for doing the podcast, I especially enjoyed the Cam Robinson interview!

Question: How would a comparison play out between Cagnoni and Olen Zellweger? Both smaller, 5’9″ (according to EP) left shot D. Both put up huge offensive seasons in the same league (WHL).  

Zellweger is a very highly regarded D prospect just cracking the NHL, so is there anything specific Cagnoni should try to emulate from Zellweger’s game/development path to give himself a better chance?  

Lakshya Jain

Have the odds of Will Smith signing with the Sharks this offseason increased after the draft lottery, in your opinion? And do you think Celebrini comes to SJ next year, or does he go back to BU?


Where do you see Bordeleau and Gushchin fiiting into the Sharks future? Should Grier trade one or both of them?




How can the Sharks improve their defense next year? Which current Sharks defensemen should stay and which should go? Which defensemen should the Sharks target to acquire via trade or free agency (realistic)? Should they target big, physical, shut down defenders or offensive puck movers who can run a power play?

Blue Science

I’m a big believer in drafting best player available, but is this one of those drafts where it might make sense to take a D at 14 no matter what? With how thin the Sharks’ D pool is it’s something I’ve been thinking about.

Alex Genadinik

Thank you for doing this!

In Eklund’s draft year, he was projected as high as #3 as I recall. That suggests 1st line potential, and for a winger, that winger has to be exrtaordinary to be seen so highly. Now he seems to be referred to as a top-6 winger, which seems to be slightly lower. If you were to re-draft that draft class, where would you take Eklund? And would Whyatt Johnson be #1 overall?

Alex Genadinik

Even if we get some free agents like you talked about on the last podcasts, and are “respectibly” bad – do you think we might be the worst again?

I don’t know which team will take a big step down from among the current bad teams. Who would you guess would be bad? Chicago and Anaheim have to get better, right? Columbus too?


How do scouts view Celebrini compared to other recent high picks and young players like Leo Carlsson Fantilli Logan Cooley Wyatt Johnston Roope Hintz etc


In the short time you spent with Celebrini what kinda guy does he seem like?


The Sharks are picking first, there is a high profile player, it’s the last in person draft AND it’s at the Sphere (EXPENSIVE!!!). As probably the SJ Sharks most predominant journalist, Sheng, going to draft do you sort of feel like the Belle of the Ball?


If you only have time for one question from me, please be this one.

Fin Coe

One on-ice question and one off-ice one:

Have the Sharks hired anyone on as a replacement Russia scout, or even just to take the lead in pre-Draft interviews with Russian players?

And has anything further come out regarding the lawsuit against the Sharks for the Kevin Whitmer investigation?


If the Sharks are to improve on defense, they’ll have to shed a couple of their existing d-men, right? Presumably they want to retain younger guys like Ferraro, Emberson, Thrun, and Muk; and they seem to like Benning if healthy. I’m assuming Vlasic is immovable. If that makes Rutta and Burroughs the odd men out, what would be the trade value on those guys?


Sheng, Question #1. With Celebrini and possibly The Fresh Prince joining the Sharks next year if the Sharks find: A puck moving or 2-way defenseman that can anchor PP1. A top 4 shut down defenseman. A scoring winger for the top line (not a reclamation project). Middle 6, 2-way center in case Couture isn’t back. Can the Sharks be competitive to potentially sniff a wildcard spot? Seems like there’s a cap to go wild with a bunch of 1-4 year contracts filling those above needs. Most of the defense either are still developing their game (Furlong, Laroque, Mukamadulin, Thompson, and… Read more »


Which Sharks prospects have a legitimate chance to make the team next year.


If Couture is still out, do you think they try to grab another veteran center to help mentor Celebrini?


The Sharks have quite a few defense prospects and veterans. However, they all seem to be of the 5-6-7 variety. I don.t see a number 1 or 2 in the pipeline. They have to go get one or two. The Sharks have some this successfully in the past (Boyle, Burns, Karlsson). Who do you see that would fit that bill and what timeline do you give it?

Michael K.

Hello Keegan and Sheng, thanks for scheduling this.When you discuss prospects on your podcast, you frequently say something like “yes he is a great prospect, will be perfect for the third or fourth line or a third pair defenseman. You almost never say that this can be a first line prospect or a top defenseman. Is it because you don’t want to pump people before they prove that they can be the top player or we do have a problem?


Guys, I’d imagine that, as a fan, talking about your “team” is hard. Not wanting to believe too much et al.
Keegan, has it been an adjustment to you being a Sharks fan first and discussing things with Sheng, who isn’t a fan primarily? Do you guys ever argue? Have serious disagreements??
Either way, I love the work you put in. I am just wondering about the inner workings of this stuff I enjoy.


Lotta questions about pick 14. I wonder, too. Grier had pick 11 in 2022 and traded it for 27, 34 and 45. I’ll note that 4 of the next 5 picks made the ‘age 22 and under’ top 50 prospect list, with 1 player at 10 (Lekkiramaki) and another at 11 (McGroaty) on Craig Button’s list (also, Nazar and Geekie at 35 and 40 respectively). None of the 3 guys taken by GMMG appeared on that ‘top 50’ list (Bystedt, Lund, Havelid). I’m not sure how Grier sees 14th overall in this draft, but if history is a guide,… Read more »


when it comes to possibly trading picks, there are 3 teams with no picks in rd1 or rd 2. Tampa, Boston and Vancouver. If I’m GMMG, I’d see if I could trade pick 33 (or even 42) for a 1st next season or the season after. 33rd pick is kind of unique, since it leads of day 2, and there’s plenty of time for teams to assess what happened on day 1. I’d bet almost every team has someone they rated in the top 25 still available at 33 — and there’s time to collect offers for that spot. But,… Read more »


Luca Cagnoni is one of the more intriguing prospects the Sharks have on the back end. The NHL-CHL transfer agreement requires a player has turned 20 or has played in at least 4 seasons of CHL hockey. Per elite prospects Cagnoni has now played in 4 seasons; does he start next season in the AHL, or does he go back for an overage season? Cagnoni seems to have out grown the WHL after scoring the most points for a defenseman in the last 30 years, what are your thoughts on where he should play when balancing his size with what… Read more »


Hey guys a few questions: There’s so much conspiracy with the draft lottery, but after I read your behind the scenes article, it really does seem random since they had media members in the room. Do you think the NHL cares that fans think it’s rigged/should they be even more transparent on the draft? Sheng, how did you get selected to be in the room for the draft lottery? How do you think Celebrini’s personality will fit in with the rest of the players? It seems like some of the younger players are pretty close and you can kind of… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by ryan
timorous me

Sheng, we know you don’t root for the Sharks as a media member covering them, but how exciting was it for you to be there to see the Sharks win the lottery knowing that this means you get to cover Celebrini and your job gets a whole lot more interesting?

Stephanie K

Any further thoughts or ideas on what was the last straw for Quinn?


To Sheng, our draft lottery Sleeper Agent: any thoughts on pushing out an article on what some of your non-sharks sources think about our current prospect pool (factoring in Celebrini of course), or how our rebuild is going, post-lottery? Also, to Keegan: thanks for the livestream! Awesome to celebrate the win with other fans. They hate us ‘cause they ain’t us baby!!!!!!

James R

Is it crazy to think that the Sharks could swing a deal for Mitch Marner? His situation in TOR seems at least a little like Jumbo’s situation in BOS that allowed the Sharks to swoop in and grab another elite player in his prime. I recognize the 05/06 Sharks were a much better team but some parallels do exist. They did trade Meier, who’s the same age as Marner, last season. But Marner is a better player. And now they’ll have Smith and Celebrini in the mix, along with a more developed Eklund. I know Marner would have to approve… Read more »


If one of the top defensemen is not available at 14, does it make more sense for SJ to trade for an established but still young NHL D? Would help put talent around Celebrini earlier, but not sure who would be available for trade at that value

Josh Frojelin

Seemed like you both followed the Cuda closely down the stretch: How would you rate the likelihood of Ethan Cardwell making the Sharks roster? What’s the likelihood he makes his NHL debut pre vs post Trade Deadline? Do you see him as a guy who could play both a top-six or a bottom-six role NHL role given his style? (Also I read a super cool profile on him by a super cool writer midway through the season 🙂

David Gotlieb

What is Mushu’s favorite treat? Spot in the house? Chances of a new sibling?

David Gotlieb

Does Keegan have any pets?

Rob S

Long time reader and listener (listened to EVERY podcast!), but first time submitting questions … Q1: Sheng, how did you get selected to watch the lottery in person? (I had been wondering why there was no lottery watch party (I attended last year’s at Narrative), but now I understand why.) More generally, how does the NHL decide who to invite to the lottery drawing? Was it due to San Jose having the best odds? An attempt to counter any Chicago conspiracy talk? Know someone in high places? Random luck? Q2: Let’s assume the Sharks are competitive in 2-3 years, make the playoffs in 3-4 years and… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Rob S

Q5: I could maybe see something like that for a preseason game, but definitely not regular season. The smallest announced attendance at a regular season Sharks game this year was still around 10,000 and Tech CU holds 4,200. In some cases it makes sense to have games at an alternate site if there’s some sort of benefit like a different location, but 3 miles apart doesn’t impact the fans who can attend. Additionally, I bought one of the breakaway passes this year where you get all of the home games for a month for cheap (the one I got was… Read more »


I know the Sharks have a decent number of smaller prospects in the pipeline. Despite that, do you think it would make sense for them to take a run at smaller guys who fall in the draft because of their size. If a guy like Alexander Zetterberg or Justin Poirier is available at pick 116 should we gamble on them? If yes, how about at 85?


3 Questions on my end as a subscriber, feel free to choose any. 1) Do you think some prospective coaching candidates actually became more interested in the Sharks job because Celebrini is on the way? Or do you think that’s more likely just a convenient narrative? 2) I noticed the Warriors brought out Rick Celebrini for a press conference after the NHL draft lottery to discuss Macklin. Do you think that was because the Sharks specifically won the lottery or would that have happened anyway because Macklin is the consensus #1 prospect? 3) Tim Kawakami has been vocal that Hasso… Read more »


What do you think the chances are the Sharks trade back from 14 or from one of the 2nds? Seems like this draft is a crap shoot after the first round. Seems like it would be better to have more lottery picks if they don’t feel strongly about their current draft positions after Macklin. Thanks!


Totally my bad. Clearly I didn’t read the assignment.🤣 i’ve actually been advocating to trade up as well, but I wondered considering what Greer did a couple years ago if they can’t get up high enough to get a future number one defenseman if maybe he would trade back if he doesn’t absolutely love any of the prospects that are available to him at 14 more than guys that are available at say 25. going to be a fun draft and not just getting Macklin . Thank you for going above and beyond to come and answer this question even… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by SJShorky

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