Just how good is Connor Bedard?
Connor Bedard is going to the Chicago Blackhawks this June. That much is certain after Monday night’s draft lottery. Other teams may have deserved or needed him more, but the Windy City is his next stop.
However, let’s put things in perspective. The guy turns 18-years-old in July. The media has been calling him the best prospect since Crosby and McDavid for months. The term “franchise cornerstone” has been thrown around many times. Is he all that and more? Let’s take a look.
For starters, Bedard has an unbelievable shot. So unbelievable that he cruised to 71 goals and 143 points in 57 games for Regina in the WHL. He also put up 10 goals and 20 points across seven games for Canada in the Juniors.
He intentionally uses a long stick with lower flex and, in turn, has gotten his shooting ability compared to the likes of Joe Sakic and Auston Matthews, among others. Some have even called his shot “revolutionary.” That’s pretty high praise, but if you use the eye test, it’s true. Just look at some of these highlights and tell me you’ve seen this type of stuff from other players:
His ability to put so much velocity on the puck is pretty amazing. Especially when he makes it look effortless from almost any angle. Also on display in those clips are his other strengths, which are pretty much anything in the offensive zone.
His hand-eye and puck control are already off the charts. At 5-foot-10, he’s a silky smooth and pretty quick skater already, along with a game-changing wrist shot, his snapshot, slapshot and wrist shot that aren’t too shabby either. As I mentioned earlier, some of those goals even included the Matthews-esque toe drag before releasing the puck.
Furthermore, his edge work while skating is truly phenomenal stuff. At times, it looks like he is so much better than the competition that he’s just trying random stuff out on the ice. His passing is crisp and clean on both the forehand and backhand. His body control and decking can absolutely embarrass people. He also has great hockey IQ and can just outsmart players and goalies with the puck on his stick.
I may have dove in hardcore, but it’s hard to say he doesn’t deserve it. When basically the entire hockey community is singing his praises, then he’s probably gonna be pretty good. You’ll see that the next section of this article will be pretty short.
This is low-hanging fruit. But Bedard may not quite have an NHL body yet. Shocker. However, he did hold his own physically in the Juniors. For reference, McDavid’s numbers at the 2015 Draft Combine were just over 6-feet, 195 pounds; Bedard is two inches shorter and 10 pounds lighter. I truly think this is not even gonna be a problem — getting a year of professional weight training and diet work will iron that out.
He was a penalty killer in Regina but, obviously, his defense may take a while to translate to the NHL. He’s a guy who’s so good with the puck that you may not even know what he’ll do without it. However I think that’s all I need to say because guys like Bedard just figure it out and find a way.
I really see Hall-of-Fame potential with Bedard, which is good news for Blackhawks fans. The league may not be ready to compete with his shot. He obviously had his way in the Juniors. As long as his game without the puck catches up to the NHL level, he’s “can’t miss” good. I know the title may sound kinda like click-bait but I am putting my hand up here. Connor Bedard is up next ladies and gentlemen (likely) for the Blackhawks. It’s kinda crazy that both the NHL and NBA will have unbelievable rookies here with Bedard and Victor Wembanyama. Long story short, get your popcorn ready y’all.