NASHVILLE, TN – The expected happened. Now, Chicago Blackhawks fans can rejoice that it has arguably the most exciting prospect in Connor Bedard.
Bedard was the first overall selection in the 2023 NHL Draft Wednesday night, fulfilling what every analyst, executive, and fan expected. Considered a generational talent, Bedard has collected accolades along the way without losing a beat. His next challenge, and perhaps his biggest–will be helping restore Chicago’s contention status in the NHL.
CONNOR BEDARD IS A CHICAGO BLACKHAWK pic.twitter.com/7mZD3btVSM
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) June 28, 2023
Bedard Was The Consensus Top Pick of the Draft
There really wasn’t any disagreement that Bedard was the best option, something that held steady for the last year. No matter how many mock drafts or prospect rankings were released and updated, Bedard never budged from the top spot.
His 71 goals and 143 points with the Regina Pats paced the team and the Western Hockey League. But his performance on the international stage and the seven games in the playoffs that generated 20 points (10-10) revealed this was no bluster.
Connor Bedard is the real deal.
Now, it becomes how he’ll take the Chicago Blackhawks from the bottom to the top. General manager Kyle Davidson has stated that the rebuild doesn’t suddenly shift trajectories. It will still be a patient process that seeks to take the right players to build around. He’s already started putting battle tested veterans around him by acquiring Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno–and then signing Foligno to a one-year deal Tuesday. Lukas Reichel will get his first real crack at being a regular on the Blackhawks roster.
There’s a plan–and it’s one that will practice patience.
What’s Next For Blackhawks, Bedard
It’s going to still be a rebuild, as written here before, but it’s one that went from long and painful to shortened if building is done in the proper way. Davidson has started already, insulating Bedard with veterans. Now it’s finding pieces that will help be comparable in age, but maybe not completely in skill. Bedard radiates the generational glow for a reason. It will be hard pressed to find more of them in that vein, but Davidson surely has a good start in Kevin Korchinski. From here, it’s developing and using assets already acquired to trade out like teams moving from rebuild into contention will do.
But beyond that, it’s a day for Chicago to enjoy. The most anticipated first overall pick in 15 years has arrived. Now it’s time to see what he does.