“Life is like a box of chocolates you never know what you’re going to get.” This is a quote that applies to almost every single draft pick made in the NHL Draft.
However, Connor Bedard doesn’t fit that mold. The team that wins the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery knows exactly what they are getting: a franchise cornerstone and generational talent. Whoever gets the chance to draft Bedard will completely change the outlook on the team’s future and franchise.
From zero to hero, zero to 100, or pretender to contender; Bedard is the real deal.
Who is Connor Bedard?
|Connor Bedard||C||R||5’10” / 178 cm||185 lbs / 84 kg|
Bedard’s on-ice production
Bedard has been one of the most historic offensive producers during his junior career
|Year||Draft Relative||League||Team||GP||Stat Line|
G – A (Pts)
|Playoff GP||Playoff Stat Line|
G – A (Pts)
|2018-19||D-4||CSSHL U15||West Van Academy Bantam Prep||30||64 – 24 (88)||4||5 – 2 (7)|
|CSSHL U16||West Van Academy Elite 15s||2||3 – 1 (4)||–||–|
|2019-20||D-3||CSSHL U18||West Van Academy Prep||36||43 – 41 (84)||1||1 – 1 (2)|
|2020–21||D-2||J18 Region||HV71 J18 (loan)||1||1 – 1 (2)||–||–|
|J20 Nationell||HV71 J20 (loan)||4||2 – 2 (4)||–||–|
|WHL||Regina Pats||15||12 – 16 (28)||–||–|
|WJC-18||Canada U18||7||7 – 7 (14)||–||–|
|2021-22||D-1||WHL||Regina Pats||62||51 – 49 (100)||–||–|
|WJC-18||Canada U18||4||6 – 1 (7)||–||–|
|WJC-20||Canada U20||7||4 – 4 (8)||–||–|
|2022-23||D+0||WHL||Regina Pats||57||71 – 72 (143)||7||10 – 10 (20)|
|WJC-20||Canada U20||7||9 – 14 (23)||–||–|
Bedard started his playing career with the West Vancouver Academy Prep of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League while being immediately touted as the next best prospect in hockey. He was granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada in early 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was then drafted first overall in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft—which came as no surprise—by the Regina Pats. Due to the pandemic, Bedard would be loaded to the HV71 junor team in Sweded in 2020 due to the junior hockey stoppage. He would eventually make his WHL debut in early 2021, netting 28 points in just 15 games of action before plauing for Canada’s U18 team. Despite his short stint, he would still win the the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s rookie of the year.
Bedard would truly step onto the scene with the 2021–22 WHL season where he became the youngest player ever to score 50 or more goals in a season. Finishing with 100 points even on the season, he was the third 16-year-old ever to manage that feat in the WHL and the first in this century.
His meteoric rise would only continue in 2022–23 where he was the first WHL player since 1995–96 to have a 140-point season after finishing with 71 goals and 72 assists in just 57 games. You read that right—57 games. He put the entire NHL on watch with not only that performance, but also his standout showing at the 2022 World Junior Championships where he had 23 points in just seven games to set records across the table.
It’s Bedard’s world, we are just living in it.
Connor Bedard’s strengths
The real question here is what isn’t Bedard strong at on the offensive end?
Whether he had the puck or not, Bedard is a constant threat when his team is looking to generate chances. His shot is absolutely deadly for a 17-year-old, with him having the unique ability to generate an immense amount of power through a very quick release. In addition, that release ends up being extremely accurate which makes goaltenders lives a nightmare when he’s on the ice.
Bedard leans more towards the “shoot first” mentality, but that doesn’t make him a one-dimensional offensive threat. His vision and playmaking abilities make it just as deadly when he gives up the puck, with his teammates often benefiting significantly from either a world class pass or stickhandling performance.
He makes everyone on the ice better as he typically generates his own plays through his skating an stickhandling abilities. His hockey IQ and maturity at a young age make it extremely easy for him to translate his game to the NHL level immediately.
Bedard’s biggest asset on the defensive side of the puck is his transition game. During his time in the WHL, Bedard was almost synonymous with controlled zone exits from his own zone. So much so that it almost seemed like he was the only one doing it on his team. He’s responsible in his own zone absolutely, but where Bedard provides the most value is that the second the puck is regained by Bedard’s team the momentum shifts completely in his favour.
Similar to how Connor McDavid generates something out of nothing, Bedard does the same thing. When playing on the defensive end, opponents have to be extremely careful as a turnover could immediately result in a chance going the other way.
Connor Bedard’s areas of improvement
He’s absolutely too good for a 17-year-old; some NHL players will look terrible beside him.
The biggest area of improvement that is highlighted in his game would be his play on the defensive end. The best way to describe him is that at this point in his career he’s not going to be projected as a Selke candidate, but won’t be a liability to his team.
Being an offensively minded player, that will be where Bedard’s skills would be used. His main goal is to simply score goals, which has led to some questioning his efforts on the defensive end. Now this may primarily be those looking for whatever flaw they can find in such a star player. His knowledge of the game and raw talent should make this an area he can improve over time, but for now it’s something that he will have to work on.
That being said, there aren’t may young players that have a 10/10 defensive game heading into the NHL. It’s always something that is going to be taught, and Bedard has the opportunity to truly be one of a kind if he can forge his path on the defensive end.
Connor Bedard’s comparables
Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby are those that come to mind immediately, but Bedard may be in his own realm. He’s a generational talent.
Fit with the Flames
While the rest of our draft profiles will highlight player fits with the Flames, the team couldn’t even trade their entire roster for the rights for Bedard.
He would be the perfect fit for 32 NHL teams and for over half of them, it’d only be in their dreams.
Bedard is as high of a slam dunk pick as you can get. Congratulations to whoever wins the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery as that franchise is about to get a shot of adrenaline that might never fade.
Projection: Hall of Famer
All TWC 2023 NHL Draft Profiles
Check out more of our individual player profiles of selected 2023 NHL Draft prospects:
Connor Bedard | Matvei Michkov | Adam Fantilli | Leo Carlsson | Zach Benson | Andrew Cristall | Oliver Moore | Will Smith | Ryan Leonard | Eduard Sale | Colby Barlow | Axel Sandin Pellikka | Dalibor Dvorsky | Brayden Yager | David Reinbacher | Nate Danielson | Riley Heidt | Matthew Wood | Quentin Musty | Mikhail Gulyayev | Calum Ritchie | Gabe Perrault | Jayden Perron | Ethan Gauthier | Dmitri Simashev | Samuel Honzek
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