Top of the lottery prospects: Introducing Connor Bedard
The highest-touted prospect since Crosby and McDavid is absolutely living up to the hype.
It’s at the point now where it’s impossible to talk about Connor Bedard without it sounding like hyperbole.
“I don’t say this lightly,” TSN director of scouting and NHL analyst Craig Button said. “I’ve watched the World Junior Championship for a long time. The last time a player performed at the level he performed, at his age, was in 1978 and his name was Wayne Gretzky. He was the best player in the tournament. The best player in this year’s tournament was No. 16 for Canada and it wasn’t even close.”
Connor Bedard is a 17 year-old, 5-foot-10, 185-pound right-shot center who is currently in his third season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. He was granted exceptional status to play in the WHL as a 15-year-old (when I was 15, I was probably sitting in my parent’s basement eating cheese fries and listening to Operation Ivy).
Bedard recently competed in the IIHF World Junior Championship — helping Team Canada win gold — where he was named the WJC’s top forward and most valuable player while leading the entire tournament in scoring with 23 points (9 G, 14 A) in 7 games. He also broke the record for most points by a Canadian player in a single tournament, broke the record for most assists by a Canadian player in a single tournament, broke the record for most career points by a Canadian player in the WJC, broke the record for most career goals by a Canadian player in the WJC, broke the record for most career assists by a Canadian player in the WJC, broke the record for most points in a tournament scored by a 17 year-old (the previous record was 18 points by Jaromir Jagr in 1990), and broke the record for most ever records broken (probably).
His signature moment of the tourney — and a goal that should be on every highlight reel for the rest of his career — was his overtime tally against Slovakia, when he deked through multiple defenders to neatly tuck the puck past the goaltender to send Canada to the semifinals.
Since his return to the WHL after juniors he hasn’t missed a beat — notching 14 points (9 G, 5A) in 3 games.
Here’s where he currently ranks in every major offensive category in the WHL.
- Goals: 36 (1st)
- Assists: 42 (1st)
- Points: 78 (1st)
- Points per game: 2.52 (1st)
- Game-winning goals: 7 (tied for 1st)
- Power-play points: 30 (1st)
- Shorthanded goals: 4 (tied for 3rd)
- Shots: 204 (1st)/
Bedard was recently named the top North American prospect in NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings and he’s as much of a can’t miss, franchise-altering, could step into the NHL right now and possibly score 50 goals, guaranteed to go number one overall, type prospect as any of us have seen since Connor McDavid in 2015.
Connor Bedard has 50 points in his last 18 games 😱— BarDown (@BarDown) January 14, 2023
(🎥: @TheWHL) pic.twitter.com/zeLsZxZiLb
connor bedard wtf man pic.twitter.com/0ZUKivUftN— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) January 6, 2023
Connor Bedard has 5 Points and a Hat Trick in his first game since the WJC lol— Nathan “Grav" (@NathanGraviteh) January 9, 2023
Connor Bedard has 34 goals and 78 points over his last 25 hockey games.— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) January 15, 2023
He does have one flaw in his game, however:
I have asked so many Team Canada players and the answer is always the same: Connor Bedard does not and has never had a nickname better than "Bedsy"— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) January 5, 2023
A lot of work to do to fix that
Here’s to gladly buying a Chicago Blackhawks ‘Bedsy’ jersey this summer.