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Young Connor Bedard under the magnifying glass

Young Connor Bedard under the magnifying glass

Edmonton | Conor Bedard has done nothing to make anyone doubt his status as the best player in the 2023 draft at the World Junior Championships.

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All eyes were on him at the start of the competition. Not only because it has been considered for several years as the best hope of the 2023 vintage edition of the NHL Draft, but above all because many Canadian supporters are already dreaming of seeing their team face another season of misery to recruit the little prodigy in Nashville, next June.

Overall, Bedard lives up to his reputation. He scored four goals in the tournament, thanks to his shot that is absolutely unenviable to many players currently playing in the National Hockey League.

Statistically, the Vancouver native finished the tournament with eight points in seven games. By comparison, when they competed in the Junior World Championships at age 16, Sidney Crosby (five points in six games in 2004) and Conor McDavid (four points in seven games in 2014) had fewer points than Bedard.

Ascending and descending

His starring wasn’t perfect.

After starting the championship on the first line with Mason McTavish, he lost five of his five responsibilities as the championship progressed. In the final match of the preliminary round, against Finland, he was sidelined for much of the last 40 minutes of play, and coach Dave Cameron explained this decision by wanting to play the players who deserved it more and that Bedard needed him. To be the best in all three areas.

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It was certainly one of the first times in his young career that Bedard received this kind of warning from a coach. His offensive talent has always allowed him to forgive some defensive mistakes, but not in this tournament. The World Junior Championships is a short tournament, and Dave Cameron showed his colors from the very first match, when he made the decision to drop Brennan Usman from the roster, another player who has been criticized for his lack of rigor in all three areas.


At times, Bedard got frustrated. It just motivates him, Nathan Gaucher said during the tournament, when he was playing Bedard during the semi-final match against the Czech Republic. It’s going well for him, and it’s definitely a tournament for the older players and we shouldn’t hit the nail in our heads too often. »

However, for a player considered a 16-year-old in this tournament (he turned 17 on July 17), Bedard has shown that he possesses offensive skills that put him in a separate class.

His throw, and especially the style in which he drew, was unparalleled in the competition. After all, World Juniors did mention one thing: It’s not Conor McDavid or Sidney Crosby. It’s Connor Bedard. Will he have a career worthy of these two great stars? It is not impossible. He is still young and still has a lot to work on. In hindsight, the messages Dave Cameron sent him would benefit him for the rest of his career. In the final, it was used for over 25 minutes in the Grand Final.

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So we can only imagine how dominant he would be, in a matter of a few months, during the tournament being held in Halifax and Moncton.