Day 1 of the 2023 NHL Draft is coming to an end, but the first pick went according to plan. The Chicago Blackhawks selected Connor Bedard as number one overall.
Ever since the Blackhawks won the draft lottery, there was no question Bedard was going to go number one. And even though they weren’t going to announce it early to leave some suspense, everyone knew who they were taking. How could Chicago not take a generational talent number one overall?
As Russ Cohen has documented on Full Press Hockey, the 2023 NHL Draft was loaded with talent. However, there was nobody like Bedard. In any other year, it might have been Adam Fantilli’s draft, but not this year. This was the Connor Bedard draft.
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Generational talents only come around so often. And Bedard is the type of player that can turn a franchise around. With the Blackhawks moving on from Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, their rebuild is going a little smoother than must. Just look at season ticket sales the minutes the Blackhawks won the draft lottery. Even the fans knew who they wanted to see.
Not to mention the moves the Blackhawks made this past weekend trading for Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno from Boston. It is important to insulate young players with veterans and Hall is the perfect player to surround Bedard with. Hall played alongside some top players including Connor McDavid and Jack Hughes. So he knows something about helping young first-overall picks out since he was a first-overall pick himself.
“I’m excited to get to Chicago and meet the guys and can’t wait to play alongside them,” Bedard said speaking to the media Wednesday night.
The expectations will be high for Bedard, but he is keeping a level head when it comes to his expectations for this season. Even the team is keeping it cool when it comes to expectations for him.
Everyone knows what Bedard can do. He had 143 points in 57 including 71 goals. So the expectations are set high. And having Hall on his wing, his point production will be solid in his rookie season.
Outside of Bedard going first overall, the Anaheim Ducks took Leo Carlsson second overall with Adam Fantilli going to Columbus and Will Smith going to San Jose. Matvei Michkov fell to the Philadelphia Flyers at seven.
Again stay tuned for more from the NHL Draft with Full Press Hockey on the scene.