They’re dead even on the stat sheet so far. But in their first NHL meeting, it was Logan Cooley’s Arizona Coyotes winning a lopsided contest over Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks.
It started out with Bedard getting the early nod as the two are likely to take this to the wire once the season concludes in April–especially since both are front runners for the Calder Memorial Trophy.
But the league’s best rookie accolade, while nice, isn’t want either would want over a successful season. The Coyotes seem further along at this point, and the 8-1 drubbing over Chicago could very well be just the Hawks having a bad night.
But Cooley’s two assists versus Bedard’s goal that stood as Chicago’s only shows how the division rivals might see things escalate over the coming years.
Bedard’s Blackhawks No Match for Cooley’s Coyotes
Both ended the game with six points so far this season, albeit Cooley’s points come in eight games versus nine. But Bedard has four goals to Cooley’s zero. Where Cooley is enjoying more than Bedard are in team results. The Coyotes, sans the 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, have enjoyed a decent start to their season. Sitting at 4-4, they also have a +7 goal differential helped in large part by the seven goal win over the Blackhawks.
They’re also a bit ahead with the young talent cobbled together which includes Clayton Keller, Matias Maccelli, and Jack McBain. Now is it light years ahead? Not yet. The Blackhawks certainly have their crop of young talent coming up but it’s still in a wait-and-see mode. McBain and Maccelli are already more battle tested.
But where the Blackhawks are still figuring things out are the likes of Lukas Reichel (0 points this season) Kevin Korchinski, Wyatt Kaiser, Alex Vlasic, and Isaak Phillips. They represent the younger contigency that Chicago hopes become permanent mainstays to help build around Bedard.
A Budding Rivalry if Things Go Right for Both
The Coyotes and Blackhawks, beyond the Cooley-Bedard storyline, promises to be a divisional rivalry that could eventually bloom into something. Between both having high draft picks over the past few seasons to budding stars in Cooley and Bedard, it’s an intriguing angle in a division that still holds heavyweights in Dallas and Colorado.
Round one of the Cooley-Bedard matchup goes to the Coyotes. But it promises, as both teams work to imrpove and contend, to be fun to watch if those improvements indeed happen.