The hype and excitement for the upcoming National Hockey League (NHL) season are rising with every passing day. This week, excitement levels rose when players from various sides met in Vegas for the NHL Media Tour. One of the players that everyone wants to see is Connor Bedard, the No. 1 draft pick this year.
He has now shown glimpses of what he can do, as he stole the show at the prospect showcase game. As the name suggests, this event gives the young players an opportunity to showcase their talent. Bedard was selected as the number one pick in the 2023 Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Since then, he has received mixed reactions. Some are eager to see him, while others have already predicted that he will be a bust. This performance from him can prove his doubters wrong.
Bedard has previously claimed to be a big fan of Sidney Crosby. The youngster has idolized “The Next One” since he grew up. He showed what he learned from the Pittsburgh Penguins captain as he grabbed a hat-trick in his debut game with the Blackhawks.
Though it was not an official game, this performance gave the others something to think about. Apart from his three goals, Bedard also picked up an assist, further showcasing his talent while skating forward. This was also his first game since April following the loss of his previous team, the Regina Pats, in Game 7 of the Western Hockey League playoffs.
Can Connor Bedard rise above expectations and shine in the big leagues?
Every year, several talented youngsters are drafted by teams in the NHL and given a chance to appear in the big leagues. While some grab this opportunity with both hands, others fail to rise above the heavy expectations laid on their shoulders. Whether Connor Bedard suffers the same fate or will shine among the big boys once the season rolls out is still a question.
The reason the expectations have been so high for him is the talent he possesses. This type of hype from a player in the NHL happened last season, in 2015, when the Edmonton Oilers picked Connor McDavid. Since then, he has showcased his incredible skills while leading the team both as a goal-scoring attacker and as their captain. Bedard’s emergence in the spotlight has since seen him being compared to McDavid and Crosby on several occasions.
“It doesn’t mean too much. It’s just nice to play a game,” Bedard was quoted as saying by SportsNet. He added, “It was so much fun being with guys, getting here. You just kind of have that mojo going in.” Moreover, Bedard highlighted that it was not just him; the other guys present also did a great job.
The 18-year-old also has a great chance to cement his place in the starting lineup following the departure of Jonathan Toews. The 35-year-old ended his 16-year stay with the Blackhawks in April and is taking a break this season. He was 19 years old when he made the team. Bedard is currently 18 years old, which gives him the perfect opportunity to write his own chapter similar to Toews.
Vinay Dave is a Content Writer and Editor of US Sports at FirstSportz. He currently crafts topics going on the diamonds of Major League Baseball (MLB), the icy arenas of National Hockey League (NHL) and the greens of Golf.
A journalism graduate from Mumbai, Vinay can spotted passionately supporting Manchester City, watching some action-packed anime or singing along to the melodies of Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi and Freddie Mercury in his free time.
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