The draft's over, the initial free agency frenzy has passed and virtually everyone in the NHL world is likely headed in the direction of the nearest beachfront property or lakehouse retreat until training camps open up in September.
For this space, though, it gives us ample time to examine all of the shiny new toys the Blackhawks have acquired in the last few weeks via trade, free agency or the draft. The majority of these names were not as familiar in Chicago before the last few weeks, but one we're starting with here was not foreign at all: Connor Bedard.
Bedard was profiled extensively at this site during the last hockey season, when the idea of him ending up in Chicago was more fantasy than reality. But the article from February that is linked below dove deeper into the specific skills Bedard possesses which have made him the talk of the hockey prospect world for several years now.
Within that article is a link to a YouTube video that's going to be shared again because it's an in-depth look at everything that makes Bedard such a lethal offensive threat:
Much of that video revolves around what Bedard does when he has a goalie 1-on-1, but Bedard is also capable of navigating through a maze of defenders to create that opportunity for himself. As evidence, your honor, we present the GIF below of Bedard's famous goal scored against Slovakia (and now teammate Adam Gajan, the goalie Chicago drafted in the second round of the 2023 NHL Draft) during the World Juniors:
It's difficult to overstate the offensive capabilities of Bedard's game. For more evidence, peruse the highlight reels that LBR assembled the day after Chicago won the draft lottery:
When he arrives in Chicago for training camp this September, Bedard boasts the best pre-draft performance and most developed skill set of any other player in franchise history – yes, that includes Patrick Kane. Bedard has the vision and the hands and the hockey IQ on a level similar to the rookie version of Kane, with the addition of a shot and release that is as menacing to opposing goalies as that of any other hockey player in the world right now. The hope is that Bedard's continued evolution coincides with the formation of a team around him similar to the one that Kane had, resulting in another round of on-ice success for the entire franchise.
And, once again, if this armchair perspective isn't convincing enough, take the first-person perspective of Kane himself, who skated with Bedard at a hockey camp one year ago (and consider that Bedard may have even taken a few steps forward in his development since then):
From Kane's account, Bedard looked off Connor freaking McDavid during a 2-on-0. That kinda says it all, doesn't it?
Editor's note: this article was intentionally left available to everyone, as the majority of this article is re-affirming things that have been known for months. The upcoming deep dives on other draft picks and offseason acquisitions will be offering new information and/or analysis on those players and, as such, will be available only to those with subscriptions to the site. Now is as good a time as any to click the button below if you haven't already.