The Chicago Blackhawks have officially signed Connor Bedard, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract. The deal will keep Bedard with the Blackhawks through the 2025-26 season, and he will carry a maximum cap hit of $950,000.
Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson expressed his enthusiasm about signing Bedard, stating, “Signing Connor is a huge step in building a new foundation for our organization. We’re excited to see him grow and play a large role in pushing our team forward for many years to come.”
Bedard, who just turned 18, was ecstatic about joining the Blackhawks organization. He expressed his excitement, saying, “It’s incredible. I can’t put it into words. Growing up, obviously, that was when they were going on their runs, winning Cups, and I was watching a lot of them. You see the United Center going crazy and all of Chicago getting behind them. Original Six and so much history there. I really can’t put it into words, and I’m so excited to be part of the organization.”
As per Canadian Hockey League rules, Bedard will not be eligible to play in the American Hockey League (AHL) next season. Instead, he will either play in the NHL or return to the Western Hockey League (WHL). With his exceptional talent and performance, Bedard is expected to make the Blackhawks’ Opening Night roster. His entry-level contract will officially kick in after he plays in his 10th NHL game.
During the previous season with the Regina Pats, Bedard showcased his skills by accumulating an impressive 143 points (71 goals, 72 assists) in just 57 games, leading all Western Hockey League skaters by a considerable margin. He also contributed significantly during the postseason, tallying 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in seven contests. In recognition of his outstanding abilities.
Bedard received multiple accolades, including the Canadian Hockey League’s top prospect award, the leading scorer award, and the David Branch CHL Player of the Year Award. Notably, he became the first player in CHL history to win all three prestigious honors.
Bedard’s success extended to the international stage as well. He played a pivotal role in leading Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. Bedard set a new Canadian record for most points in a single tournament, amassing an impressive 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in just seven games.
Blackhawks Head Coach Luke Richardson spoke highly of Bedard, acknowledging his exceptional talent and character. Richardson emphasized Bedard’s ability to handle the spotlight and praised his team-first mentality.
Richardson stated, “He’s a high-end player and he’s obviously an exceptional talent. I think he’s got the personality and the drive away from the rink to handle all the extra attention that he gets. He knows how to handle it. It doesn’t really change him… We want him to fit in. We want the team to grow as a team, not as an individual, and then everybody else follows.”
With Bedard now officially signed, the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans eagerly anticipate the impact he will make on the ice. Bedard’s remarkable skills and potential make him an exciting addition to the team, providing optimism for the future of the organization.