Well, if you are the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and the most favored pick since Connor McDavid was taken No. 1 to the Edmonton Oilers eight years ago, you have high standards.
Bedard, who was tasked with helping the Blackhawks accelerate their rebuild and return to the winning ways that led to Stanley Cup championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015, led the Western Hockey League in goals (71), points (143), shots on goal (360), points per game (2.51) and goals per game (1.25) in 57 regular-season games with Regina last season.
Coach Luke Richardson had few complaints about the 18-year-old, who played 21:20, tied with defenseman Wyatt Kaiser for the team high in shots on goal with five and 10-for-16 on faceoffs. offs.
“I thought he was good,” Richardson said. “I think he really wants to score. There were a couple of times where I think he may have gone over, maybe doubled a few times in the third period and even in overtime when we got away with a 2-on-1 there. But he reads very well.
“He made an unbelievable pass on the winning goal. And we saw a lot of that. He’s just comfortable with that puck, like skating in traffic. He has no problem playing with bigger guys in this league. and stronger men. He has that special quality that he seems to find what he needs to do at the right time.”
Defenseman Kevin Korchinski said Bedard was good without the puck, too.
“The main takeaway is his defensive game,” he said. “He’s a guy who plays perfectly in our system in the (defensive) zone. That’s something that’s been covered, you could say. So it’s been great to see.”
Bedard also showed how much he hates leaving the ice when he played a shift that lasted 1:31 to start overtime.
“Yeah, I like hockey,” Bedard said with a laugh. “I want to be on the ice, trying to round the dot face a little bit. But I’m playing 3-on-3 maybe five, six days a week with everyone at home. So, this is probably the most fun of my life. Yes, I don’t want to go out.”
Bedard had few scoring opportunities. He had a slow move at 3:36 of the first period when he entered the zone, dragged the puck around Blues forward Jake Neighbors in the left circle and fired a wrist shot, but Joel Hofer made the save. .