A true generational talent who possesses a wide array of deadly shots in his arsenal. Elite level hands, vision, and skating ability to go along with his shooting skill should make him a star in the NHL from day one.
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June 2023 – Bedard has been selected 1st overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft. Curtis Rines
April 2023 – If there was any doubt that Bedard deserved the first-overall pick before the World Juniors, that was quickly erased with his historic performance at the under-20 tournament. After posting 23 points in only seven games against the best young stars on the planet and eclipsing Jaromir Jagr’s previous record-holding draft-year tally, Bedard returned to the WHL and further widened the gap between him and everyone else by earning 99 points in his final 36 games of Junior hockey.
Beyond the fact that Bedard’s catch-and-release toe-drag shot will make him one of the NHL’s best goal-scorers from day one, he has the foot speed and processing speed of an elite NHLer. He also boasts the softest hands in the class, and he sees the ice four steps ahead. Despite his below-average frame for a center, his physicality is far from a weakness — he protects pucks adeptly, can lead a forecheck, and can both deliver and sustain big hits with ease. Whichever team wins the lottery is getting a plug-and-play, franchise-defining center who, at his peak, could be one of the very few prospects to challenge Connor McDavid as the best player in hockey. Hadi Kalakeche
September 2022 – Bedard had an outstanding first full season in the WHL after a 15 game audition as an exceptional status player in 2020-21. He finished the campaign with 51 goals and 49 assists in just 62 games, sprinkled in a four goal game as a 16-year-old at the postponed World Juniors back in December, captained Canada’s U18 World Championships team and led them in scoring with six goals and an assist in just four games, and then topped it all off with four goals and four assists in seven games to help lead Canada to a gold medal finish at the rebooted World Juniors in August. As eye-popping as those numbers are, even they don’t illustrate the kind of generational talent that Bedard possesses.
Bedard is a truly elite player, and not just among his peers. He is already one of the most deadly shooters on the planet who can fire the puck in ways most only dream of. His release is powerful, accurate, deceptive, and there is outstanding versatility in the way that he is able to get it off. He doesn’t need much time to ensure the puck comes off his blade with force and he is able to release it off either foot, in stride, or under pressure. He can create his own shooting opportunities, be it with a lethal curl and drag to get it around a defender or by utilizing stop-ups and shoulder fakes to create more space. Shooting the puck is just part of the equation for Bedard, though, and he does so many things that drive play for his team. He has outstanding hands and protects the puck extremely well, particularly for a smaller player. He moves into pass receptions or loose puck pickups, using a wide stance to hold off opposing defenders and make quick plays under pressure. He has great vision with the puck on his stick and often identifies his options well ahead of time to create chances for his teammates in open space. Bedard’s hockey sense and anticipation consistently stand out, and he is almost always in the right place at the right time. He has great speed and accelerates into space with fluid crossovers, most notably in transition, keeping the opposition on their heels every time he steps onto the ice. There is a cerebral quality to his game in the offensive zone and just when the opposition thinks they have things under control, he will dart into open space and fire a heavy shot before the defense can even react. As you would expect for a player of his caliber, Bedard often draws extra attention from the opposing defense but he has the ability to battle through it and he competes hard on every shift despite his lack of size. There isn’t a whole lot more for him to accomplish at the junior level and he appears primed to put up one of the most productive seasons we have seen out of a CHL player in recent memory. It is only a matter of time before he joins the ranks of the NHL’s very best players. Nick Richard