Hailing from Canada’s hotbed of hockey talent is perhaps the greatest NHL prospect since Connor McDavid in 2015, and that is Canada’s, Connor Bedard. The 5-foot-10 17-year-old winger has been on the radar of many NHL scouts for quite some time now and he has done nothing to disappoint recently in a 6-2 win over the United States in the semifinals of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.
After being down 2-0, Canada scored six straight goals and moved to 31-3-3-9 in their last 49 games against the United States. The U.S. has been dominated by the Canadians 4-1-0-1, only winning 5-1 once in a 2013 tournament. Bedard has scored or assisted on 65% of Canada’s goals during the tournament.
Canada will seek to win its second consecutive championship since it won the last of five in 2009. Bedard has scored nine goals and 23 points which leads the tournament.
Bedard’s dominance in the tournament the last two weeks has made many current NHL stars believe the hype bestowed upon the 17-year-old:
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks winger: "I skated with Connor Bedard this summer and I was with some of the best in the NHL, and he was the guy that stuck out to me, I think the hype is real. I think he's going to be an amazing player."
Mark Giordano, Maple Leafs defenseman: “He looks like a pretty special player, I think any time you’re able to put up the numbers he’s been able to put up in that tournament, it’s a pretty good tournament. It’s cool to see him doing it in the big moments. You know the other team is keying in on him and he’s still able to put up those big goals in big moments that are huge for the team.“
That’s some lofty praise for a 17-year-old yet to take the rink against the best in the NHL. But with three gold medals to his name, and a skillset that is only seen about once a decade, make way for Bedard, as he is just only beginning.