First things first, in case you missed the news: The choice is made. The traveler has come.
The NHL's draft lottery has been set for May 8 and 7 p.m.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 15, 2023
It's a big event with Connor Bedard available to the team that wins the No. 1 spot.
May 8 is the big day (night) when we’ll all find out where Connor Bedard is going to be unleashing his shot for the foreseeable future. With the amount of teams (and fan bases) heavily invested in the outcome of the lottery, it promises to be a very interesting evening.
In the eight games since we last checked in on Connor Bedard, he’s scored 9 goals and added 6 assists while taking 40 shots. He recorded yet another five-point game — his eighth in 52 games — during the Regina Pats’ March 3 game against the Winnipeg Ice.
After a four-goal, five-point, 10-shot night in a 5-3 win over first-place Winnipeg, Connor Bedard now has 58G, 61A, 119PTS and 299SOG in just 46GP.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) March 4, 2023
His seventh hat-trick and eighth five-point night. With 11 games left for Regina, he’s tracking for 72G and 147PTS in 57GP.
The biggest news coming out of his last five games though might just be that he was held without a point on two separate occasions. In the 52 WHL games he’s appeared in this season, he’s failed to register a point only four times. That means he’s recorded more hat tricks (seven) and five-point games (eight) than times he’s been kept scoreless.
An aspect of his season that doesn’t get talked about enough is just how average a team Regina is overall. They’re currently sixth (out of 12) in the Eastern Conference with 68 points. The top team in the East is the Winnipeg Ice, who have 107 points, as well as the No. 2 scorer in the league: fellow super prospect Zach Benson.
Regina’s goal differential is minus-14, even though Connor Bedard has 27 more points than the next highest scorer (Benson) in the entire league. Bedard has recorded a point on 52 percent of Regina’s total goals, and if you adjust the stats based on the 11 games he missed while appearing in the World Juniors, that number jumps all the way up to 60 percent. Conversely, Benson has recorded a point on 32 percent of Winnipeg’s goals while playing in every single one of their games.
Bedard was regarded as the best prospect in the world before this season even started. He plays on a middling team where the opposition has no one else to be concerned about so they can key on stopping him all game — but they can’t. And it’s quite possible that no one can.
This is what Scott Wheeler had to say about him in his latest prospect ranking:
Bedard can do things with the puck that nobody else in the sport can replicate. I’m not talking about him compared to other prospects in this draft. I’m talking nobody. As in, you could put him on the ice with the world’s best shooters (say, Auston Matthews, Nikita Kucherov, Patrik Laine, Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos) and they wouldn’t be able to load up just off of their lead skate and fire it off balance like he does. He’s got one of the best shooting actions in motion I’ve ever seen.
Connor Bedard is now arguably the best player to ever play in the Western Hockey League while in the midst of having the best season that league has ever seen.
Connor Bedard is just the 8th U18 player in WHL history to record 60 goals in a season and the first in 24 years.— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) March 9, 2023
Highest point-per-game output by a draft-eligible skater in WHL history (56 years)— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) March 4, 2023
• Connor Bedard 2.59
• Rob Brown 2.51
• Reggie Leach 2.22
• Ken Yaremchuk 2.18
• Pavel Brendl 1.97
• Mike Modano 1.95
Taking that a step further, Connor Bedard is having a better season than Connor McDavid did in his draft year — and that’s without the aide of being on the best line in the OHL like McDavid was with Alex DeBrincat (104 points in 2014-15) and Dylan Strome (129 points in 2014-15).
Draft-eligible seasons:— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) March 5, 2023
• McDavid (47GP) - 44G, 120PTS
• Bedard (47GP) - 59G, 123PTS
He’s 7 months younger. He doesn’t have the same level of mates.
It’s damn impressive.
He’s even blown past straight McDavid comparisons and established himself as possibly having the best overall draft season in the entire modern history of the Canadian junior league system.
The four greatest CHL draft year seasons in modern history:— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) March 4, 2023
Points per game:
1. Sidney Crosby: 2.71
2. Connor Bedard: 2.58
3. Connor McDavid: 2.55
4. Patrick Kane: 2.50
Goals per game:
1. Connor Bedard: 1.26
2. Patrick Kane: 1.07
3. Sidney Crosby: 1.06
4. Connor McDavid: 0.94
And he still has nine games left to go.
Connor Bedard's hockey genius has been on display night-in and night-out for several years now 🔥— Elite Prospects (@eliteprospects) March 13, 2023
But what really makes him tick? @DavidSt_Louis hits the Film Room to find out! Watch now on our YouTube channel 👀
📺: https://t.co/pHupdAhSxK pic.twitter.com/pJBmxPGqMV