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Chicago Blackhawks draft Connor Bedard with the # 1 Overall Pick in the 2023 NHL Draft
On Wednesday, June 28th, 2023 the Chicago Blackhawks made the very obvious selection with their overall number - 1 first - round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft by selecting the Regina Pats center, Connor Bedard.
The now 17 - year - old Bedard has been recently referred to as an amazing generational talent which can be attributed to his incredible shooting ability as well as his highly - talented puck possession skills. The native of North Vancouver is the basically the most hyped NHL prospect since Connor McDavid was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers with the first overall NHL draft pick back in 2015.
"It's incredible. I can't it put into words," the newly acquired Chicago Blackhawks center, Connor Bedard, emphatically stated in his Wednesday night news conference following the 2023 NHL Draft. "Growing up, they were going on their runs, winning [Stanley] Cups. You see the United Center going crazy and all of Chicago getting behind them. I'm so happy to part of the Blackhawks organization."
The Chicago Blackhawks was granted the inevitable right to select Connor following the historic NHL franchise winning the 2023 NHL draft lottery, even though they had only the 3rd - best odds to win the number - 1 overall NHL draft pick this year with their odds at 11.5 %.
The Chicago Blackhawks last selected 1st - overall in the National Hockey League draft back in 2007, when they took one hell of a left winger in Patrick Kane. Kane delivered immediately for the Chicago Blackhawks by leading them to 3 - Stanley Cup championships during his tenure in Chicago playing for the Blackhawks.
Stocking his Trophy Cabinet before getting to the NHL
Connor was granted exceptional playing status as early as when he was a 15 - year - old not too long ago, and it went on to enable Bedard to play in the Western Hockey League (WHL). That was the very 1st - time the WHL made such an exception for such young hockey talent. This year, Bedard was the inaugural winner of the IIHF Male Player of the Year Award, leading team Canada to the gold medal at the World Junior Championship with a tournament - high 23 - points (9 - goals & 14 - assists) back in January of 2023. Connor swept the player of the year, top prospect and top scorer awards at the Canadian Hockey League awards following him recording 143 - points (71 - goals & 72 - assists) over the course of the 52 - total games that he played for the Pats.
"We'll see. We'll let him figure that out," the Chicago Blackhawks general manager, Kyle Davidson, responded after he was asked about his expectations for Connor Bedard. "He's a pretty special player, a very special person. We'll let him determine how special that first season is."
Bedard's arrival in Chicago with the Blackhawks definitely marks a new era for the Chicago Blackhawks who have managed to complete a run of 3 - Stanley Cups championship titles over the course of 6 - years.
Connor will now join a pro hockey team that finished with a .360 points percentage in the standings last year which was good for the worst season for the Chicago Blackhawks since the 2003 - 2004 NHL season. Kane was unfortunately traded to the New York Rangers last season, and the Chicago Blackhawks were also forced to part ways with their long - time captain, Jonathan Toews, who was an unrestricted free agent.
"First of all, I want to make the team. That's the No. 1 goal. I want to have an impact on the ice and in the room, to be a teammate and give my all every day. Those are some things I can control," Bedard went on to say.
The Chicago Blackhawks also made other impactful moves this past week in order to build around their number - 1 overall NHL draft pick in Bedard by acquiring the winger, Taylor Hall, from the Boston Bruins. "He won a Hart Trophy. He's had a great career; his talent level is remarkable. Fun player to watch, for sure," Bedard mentioned.
Even with the assistance of a generational hockey phenom like Connor Bedard, it could be a multi - year process for the Chicago Blackhawks to return to being a solid contender in the National Hockey League. It took Alex Ovechkin 3 - years to bring the Washington Capitals to the playoffs following him being picked with the 1st - overall NHL draft selection way back in 2004. Ovechkin is now considered one of the greatest hockey players of all - time. It took Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils a total of 4 - years to make the NHL postseason after he went 1st - overall in the 2019 NHL Draft.
"Listen, it doesn't need to necessarily have to happen right away, whether that's team success or individual success," explained the Tampa Bay Lightning captain, Steven Stamkos, (who was the first overall pick back in 2008). "I think he's going into a little bit of a different situation in Chicago, where they've kind of embraced the rebuild and it's obviously one of the best hockey markets in the world. It was maybe a little easier for me to go to Tampa and not have as much pressure."
Stamkos suggested that Bedard needs to understand the big leap he is about to make when he enters the National Hockey League sometime soon here. It is a real man’s game that is for sure.
"It's the best league in the world and now you're competing against guys who are bigger and stronger and more experienced. So, I don't think he's going to have any problem adjusting, but if he does, just enjoy the moment. It goes by fast," Stamkos revealed.
With the 19th overall selection in the 2023 NHL draft the Chicago Blackhawks also picked up another center in Oliver Moore from the U. S. National Development Program. Moore wasn't a top - line forward for the USNDP, but his relentless speed and toughness has allowed him to be a dynamic presence on the ice. The way he can accelerate, maneuver in the rink, and enter the zone in order to get a shot off with privileged speed are the decisive factors that sets Moore apart from many of the other young hockey players out there. He had 26 - goals as well as 64 - points last season.
Connor Bedard’s Hockey Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- CSSHL U - 15 Most Valuable Player Award Winner (2019)
- CSSHL U - 18 Most Valuable Player Award Winner (2020)
- WHL Exceptional Player Status Award Winner (2020)
- Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy Award Winner (2021)
- Bob Clarke Trophy Award Winner (2023)
- Four Broncos Memorial Trophy Award Winner (2023)
- CHL Top Scorer Award Winner (2023)
- CHL Top Draft Prospect Award Winner (2023)
- CHL Player of the Year Award Winner (2023 )
- First All - Star Team Selection (2023)
- E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence Winner (2023)
- World U - 18 Championship Media All - Star Team Selection (2021)
- World Junior Championship Best Forward Award Winner (2023)
- World Junior Championship Media All - Star Team Selection (2023)
- World Junior Championship MVP Award Winner (2023)
- IIHF Male Player of the Year Award Winner (2023)
“Set 'to have an impact,' Bedard drafted by Blackhawks at No. 1”, Greg Wyshynski, espn.com, Wednesday, June 28, 2023.
“Connor Bedard”, wikipedia.org, Thursday, June 29, 2023.