If you follow hockey, chances are you’re familiar with Connor Bedard, the 17-year-old Canadian hockey phenom who plays as a forward for the Regina Pats. Bedard is coming off a dominant performance at this year’s World Juniors leading Canada to their second consecutive gold medal. Fans were not surprised when he was named tournament MVP after scoring a whopping 23 points in seven games, shattering multiple Canadian World Junior records.
Bedard currently plays for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League and is improving every single day. In his first full season with the Pats, Bedard recorded exactly 100 points in just 62 games. This season with the Pats he currently has 81 points in half the games and is on pace to finish with over 140 points. It seems that in every other game, he is recording a hat trick with jaw-dropping goals. His performance this season is making it obvious that he will likely go first overall in the NHL draft. The hype around Bedard is the highest we have seen since Connor McDavid a few years back, but how do Bedard’s junior stats compare to other Canadian greats?
Is there a better player to compare Bedard to than The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky? Gretzky only played one full season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), which was then known as the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League, back in the 1977–1978 season. In that season though, Gretzky recorded 182 points in only 64 games. So, Bedard has a lot of catching up to do if he wants to come close to Gretzky’s numbers. One thing that Bedard can say he has that Gretzky doesn’t is two World Junior gold medals. Gretzky only played in one World Junior tournament back in 1978, at the age of 16, but Canada failed to capture the gold, settling for a bronze medal.
A closer comparison to Bedard would be Connor McDavid. In McDavid’s first year in the OHL, he recorded 66 points in 63 games. In his second season, he recorded 99 points in 56 games, and in his final season, he recorded 120 points in 47 games. All of these numbers are pretty similar to Bedard’s. Both have participated in two world junior championships, but McDavid only has one gold medal compared to Bedard’s two.
The big question that all hockey fans are asking is where Bedard will end up playing next season. While teams like the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are racing to the top of the standings, teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, and Columbus Blue Jackets are racing toward the bottom. All these teams hope to come last to win the best odds at landing a generational player that would immediately help the team. In my opinion, there are only two teams I would like to see Bedard on: the Montreal Canadiens or Anaheim Ducks.
Although I am a Leafs fan, I’m not going to lie and say Montreal won’t be a scary team in the next few years. With an already insane young core consisting of Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach, and Juraj Slafkovský just to name a few, Bedard would be the cherry on top. The Canadians currently hold their own first-round pick plus the Florida Panthers’, who is also out of a playoff spot, giving them even higher odds of winning the draft lottery.
The Anaheim Ducks are the team I need Bedard to go to. This is mainly because I would love to see a line consisting of Mason McTavish, Trevor Zegras, and Bedard. This line may become the most entertaining and explosive line to watch in hockey history if all three of these players live up to their hype.
Although we are only a couple of months away from the NHL draft, for Bedard and all hockey fans, it can not come sooner. Bedard and his fans both know he is ready to start dominating the NHL.