Bedard impressing NHL stars earlier than World Junior Championship

The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship is scheduled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, New Brunswick, from Dec. 26-Jan. 5. At the moment, we characteristic Canada ahead Connor Bedard, the projected No. 1 choose within the 2023 Higher Deck NHL Draft.

Patrick Kane skated with most of the high gamers within the recreation when he attended the BioSteel Sports activities NHL camp in August.

The participant that impressed him most, nonetheless, does not but play within the NHL.

“I skated with Connor Bedard this summer season and I used to be with among the finest within the NHL, and he was the man that caught out to me,” the Chicago Blackhawks ahead stated. “I feel the hype is actual. I feel he’ll be an incredible participant.”

Bedard (5-foot-10, 185 kilos) is the projected No. 1 choose within the 2023 NHL Draft. He’ll even be the first offensive weapon for Canada on the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, to be held Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick.

The 17-year-old is predicted to play proper wing on a line with middle Shane Wright, the No. 4 choice by the Seattle Kraken within the 2022 NHL Draft, and left wing Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) at a match composed of the very best under-20 gamers every nation has to supply.

Canada performs its first recreation on the match in opposition to Czechia at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax on Dec. 26 (6:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN).

“[Bedard] thinks the sport at such a excessive stage,” Wright advised TSN. “He could make performs. He is a quick skater. He can shoot the puck. He can do nearly every part. It is undoubtedly fairly enjoyable taking part in with him, that is for certain.

“His physicality, his puck safety, is one thing not lots of people actually discuss sufficient about. He is not the tallest man, however he is sturdy. He is bought a extremely sturdy decrease physique and might shield the puck rather well. He can play in opposition to the opposite huge defensemen within the corners and play down low.”

Bedard, a right-hand shot, had eight factors (4 targets, 4 assists) in seven video games to assist Canada win the 2022 WJC in August. He was the seventh 16-year-old to be chosen to play for Canada on the WJC, becoming a member of Wayne Gretzky (1978), Eric Lindros (1989), Jason Spezza (2000), Jay Bouwmeester (2000), Sidney Crosby (2004) and Connor McDavid (2014).

Kane had 145 factors (62 targets, 83 assists) in 58 video games with London of the Ontario Hockey League in 2006-07 and was chosen No. 1 by the Blackhawks within the 2007 NHL Draft. He received the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the 12 months in 2007-08.

Bedard leads the Canadian Hockey League with 64 factors in 28 video games, and the Western Hockey League in targets (27) and assists (37) regardless of not taking part in for Regina since Dec. 4.

“Bedard visualizes himself being much like Kirill Kaprizov (Minnesota Wild),” director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr stated. “Each elite skills, however it’s very reminiscent with me with Patrick Kane. Simply the velocity, the quickness, these huge, well timed targets once they’re wanted, and the accuracy to complete on the play, or simply generally to create the scoring possibilities whenever you want them.

“And the truth that he goes on the market and makes it look really easy.”

Kane had 72 factors (21 targets, 51 assists) in 82 video games as a rookie with the Blackhawks however stated it took him a number of seasons within the NHL earlier than he lastly started to rediscover his goal-scoring prowess. He expects it’s going to be no totally different for Bedard.

“After I got here in … I used to be a scorer in junior after which my first few years within the NHL I used to be extra of a playmaker,” Kane stated. “The strikes you probably did in junior, they may work, however you do not have that further step of area so in case you’re coming down on a man and also you beat him, he may catch up and also you may need to show up and hit the late man or one thing as a substitute of taking it to the online such as you did in junior.

“I feel the closure of area might be the most important factor, and when you understand that, possibly it is extra of a delay or give-and-go recreation … you sort of develop that as you go on.”

Bedard has some extent in 27 straight video games, the longest within the WHL since Brett Leason of Prince Albert had a 30-game streak in 2018-19.

“His shot is unimaginable,” New York Islanders ahead Mathew Barzal stated. “It comes off his stick so scorching. I’ve actually by no means seen something prefer it. Clearly [Auston Matthews] rips the puck; I might say that is the one shot I might actually evaluate it to.”

Bedard might grow to be the second participant from Regina chosen No. 1 within the NHL Draft (Doug Wickenheiser, Montreal Canadiens, 1980). The final participant from the WHL chosen No. 1 was ahead Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Purple Deer by the Edmonton Oilers in 2011.

“He will play a job the place he’ll be taking part in in opposition to the opposite groups’ high gamers,” Canada director of participant personnel Alan Millar stated. “Being cognizant of protection and dealing and monitoring and all these issues can be vital, and he is aware of that. He is ready for that. You are going to see a Connor Bedard that has matured when it comes to that full recreation.”

Bedard stated, “I’ve skated with NHL gamers for some time now and that provides you confidence not passing on a 2-on-1, which I most likely ought to. I feel that confidence of being with guys in Vancouver (his hometown), going to Toronto and seeing Connor McDavid understanding (at BioSteel camp), it simply makes you are feeling comfy. They’re simply human beings which can be unbelievable at a sport. It is that half that is enjoyable and that helps the arrogance.”

United States normal supervisor John Vanbiesbrouck believes Bedard is the following generational expertise who will enter the NHL.

“You have to love watching Connor Bedard play,” he stated. “I imply, you completely respect it. Little question Connor is a generational expertise that is going to be enjoyable to observe within the Nationwide Hockey League. We simply do not wish to watch too many highlights of him within the coming weeks (in the course of the WJC).”

Images: Keith Hershmiller, Regina

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