Connor Bedard's magical WHL season, career come to a close
One of the greatest junior hockey seasons (and careers) of all-time came to an end on Monday night as Bedard's Pats were ousted by the Saskatoon Blades in Game 7
Regina Pats forward Connor Bedard has, in all likelihood, played his last game of major junior hockey.
The surefire No. 1 pick in the upcoming NHL draft and his Regina Pats saw their season come to a close on Monday night with a 4-1 loss to Saskatoon in the opening round of the WHL playoffs.
After his latest monster four-point showing — which included the game-winning goal — in Game 6 to help Regina force a seventh and deciding contest in their first-round matchup with the Blades, Bedard added a primary helper during the Game 7 loss to bring his playoff total to a whopping 10 goals and 10 assists in the series.
Tie game. Third period. Facing elimination.
This is Connor Bedard's time to shine. @WHLPats | #NHLDraft | #WHLPlayoffs@NutrienLTD | #FeedingtheFuture pic.twitter.com/syd93atPkK
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 9, 2023
With the Pats' loss, one of the greatest individual seasons in league history concluded, as Bedard led the WHL in regular-season scoring after posting an egregious 71 goals and 143 points in 57 games before continuing his torrid pace in the playoffs and nearly willing an underdog Regina squad to a colossal first-round upset.
Bedard's magical season wasn't limited to just club play, either. The 17-year-old had four goals and eight points for Canada at the summer world juniors in Edmonton before setting the new Team Canada single-tournament scoring record at the 2023 WJC this past December/January with nine goals and 23 points over seven games as Canada claimed gold in both events. Bedard became Canada's all-time leading scorer at the world juniors in the process.
In all games combined this season — including WHL and international competition — Bedard tallied a ridiculous 94 goals and 100 assists for 194 points in 78 total games played (2.48 points per game). It was truly one of the best draft-year performances in hockey history.
Bedard finishes his storied junior career with 134 goals and 137 assists for 271 points in 134 career WHL games, all with the Pats. His 1.00 career goals-per-game is the fourth-highest ever among players with at least 200 games played, while his WHL career mark of 2.022 points-per-game ranks 10th in league history. It was the most productive career the league has seen since the late-70s/mid-80s after Bedard became the first player in WHL history to be granted exceptional status to enter the league as a 15-year-old in 2020.
The surefire No. 1 pick is eligible to play for Canada at the upcoming IIHF Men's World Championships, but it's unclear at this point whether he'll participate or not after a busy season.
It won't be long before Bedard finds out where his future NHL home will be, with the draft lottery is set to take place in less than a month.
Connor Bedard Facts
Bedard finished the 2022-23 regular season with 143 points (71 goals, 72 assists)
Bedard had 90 points (44 goals, 46 assists) over his 35-game points streak earlier this season
Bedard had 22 goals over his 11-game goal streak earlier this season
Bedard failed to register a point in only four regular-season games this year
Bedard finished with 36 more points than the WHL's next highest scorer (Prince George's Chase Wheatcroft)
Averaging 1.246 goals per game, Bedard had the 11th-best goals-per-game average in WHL history and the best ever for a 17-year-old player.
Averaging 2.509 points per game, Bedard had the best points-per-game average since 1990-91 (Ray Whitney, 2.569)
At the 2023 World Juniors, Bedard set the following records:
Most career points by a Canadian (36)
Most career goals by a Canadian (17)
Most points at a single tournament by a Canadian (23)
Most assists at a single tournament by a Canadian (14)
Most points at a single tournament by a U18 player (23)
In 2021-22, the then-16-year-old became the youngest player to score 50 or more goals in a WHL season
In 2021-22, Bedard was only the third 16-year-old to manage a 100-point season in the WHL, and the first to achieve the feat in the 21st century
Bedard was the first player to earn exceptional status in the WHL after scoring 43 goals and 84 points in 36 games for West Van Academy Prep's U18 team, leading the Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL) in scoring and earning MVP honours as a 14 year old
NHL Draft Lottery Odds
*As of April 11
1. Chicago Blackhawks - 25.5%
2. Columbus Blue Jackets - 13.5%
3. Anaheim Ducks - 11.5%
4. San Jose Sharks - 9.5%
5. Montreal Canadiens - 8.5%
6. Arizona Coyotes - 7.5%
7. Philadelphia Flyers - 6.5%
8. Vancouver Canucks - 6.0%
9. Washington Capitals - 5.0%
10. Detroit Red Wings - 3.5%
11. St. Louis Blues - 3.0%