The tweet may have gotten cut off, but the offensive production certainly never did. The Chicago Blackhawks are just 10 days from selecting first in the 2023 NHL Draft. Unless there is an amazing change in plans, all signs point to Connor Bedard being that pick. Of the #1 picks taken in NHL history taken from a Canadian Hockey League team, Bedard ranks right below Patrick Kane with 143 points–good for eleventh all time amongst those top selections.
Connor Bedard enters the 2023 Upper Deck #NHLDraft following a 143-point season with the WHL's Regina Pats – a campaign that could rank him among the most productive No. 1 picks ever should the @NHLBlackhawks call his name first on June 28.#NHLStats: https://t.co/K2Uzbka7Ft pic.twitter.com/64vLr0uQgu
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 18, 2023
Some of the names ring immediate bells. Others might take a a few seconds. Regardless, the list is impressive.
List Full of Who’s Who of NHL Stars
Here’s a look at each player and how they ended up statistically by the end of their career. Hall of Fame players are in bold while the statistics include games, goals, assists and points respectively. It’s also assumed that both Kane and Crosby will be in the Hall.
- Mario Lemieux (915: 690-1033-1723)
- Guy Lafleur (1126: 560-793-1353)
- Bobby Smith (1077: 357-679-1036)
- Dale Hawerchuk (1188: 518-891-1409)
- Doug Wickenheiser (556: 111-165-276)
- Sidney Crosby (1190: 550-952-1502)
- Mel Bridgman (977: 252-449-701)
- Pierre Turgeon (1294: 515-812-1327)
- Eric Lindros (760: 372-493-865)
- Patrick Kane (1180: 451-786-1237)
Turgeon is a notable snub, one of a few with 500 goals who is not in the Hall of Fame. Smith’s numbers were good but not enough to get into the Hall of Fame.
Regardless, it’s a good sign for Bedard that a likely 60% of the top-scoring #1 picks out of the CHL are in the Hall of Fame.
Bedard’s Contribution Solidifies His Top Pick Status
There is some debate out there that Bedard and presumed second overall pick Adam Fantilli might be closer than expected. Beyond that, there are some who think the Blackhawks could take Fantilli at #1.
More on this in another piece. But for simple clarity’s sake, the excitement generated when Chicago won the lottery was precipitated on the thought that they’d won the rights to draft Bedard.
With good reason. Of the 143 points Bedard rang up for Regina, 71 were goals. According to the same report, it was the most goals scored by a WHL forward in 24 years and the best point production in 27 years.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed or assured until his name is called by Chicago. After that, his career will play out. But the numbers certainly are in his favor and so is the history of those who came before him.
All that’s left is to see if history repeats itself.