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It's only a matter of time before Connor Bedard becomes a household name in Canada, and if this is your introduction to hockey's next super prospect, you're in for a treat.
Bedard is absolutely tearing it up for Canada at the 2021 IIHF World U18 Championships, which by itself is remarkable, and is all the more impressive considering he's the youngest player on the roster, as the lone 2005-born (yes, you read that correctly!) player on the roster. A few months shy of his sixteenth birthday, Bedard is proving why he's the best prospect, irrespective of draft class, in the world.
After starting out the tournament relatively slow with a goal and four points in four group stage games —again, this is relative to the preposterous hype and acclaim he's generated in his young career — Bedard put on an absolute clinic against the Czech Republic on Monday, registering two goals and three assists in a 10-3 win. He was the best player on the ice for a team that boasts several of the best 2021 NHL Draft eligible players, along with captain and 2022 leading prospect Shane Wright, who I wrote about in detail in March 2020 during his standout rookie year with the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs.
Wright remains one of hockey's super prospects and is the best player within a more immediate timeline. In March 2020, it was too early to consider the future prospectus of Bedard, who was just 14 years old and was only granted exceptional status by BC Hockey in the Western Hockey League draft three weeks after I wrote about Wright, who was subsequently taken first overall by the Regina Pats.
After registering 28 points in 15 games for Regina during the 2020-21 WHL season, Bedard is making his peers look silly during best-on-best competition, and audaciously tried the "Michigan Goal" during Wednesday's semifinal against Sweden. It didn't work, but you have to admire both Bedard's skill and confidence to attempt it off in a high-stakes game.
Bedard was straight up dominant against Sweden on Wednesday in registering a hat-trick, while closing in on some pretty elite competition, too. Connor McDavid set the Canadian record with 14 points by a U16 player at the U18 tournament, and Bedard is now tied with a tournament-high 12 points, having registered six goals and six assists, with one point more than Wright.
If Bedard eclipses McDavid with more than three points in Thursday's final against the winner of Russia-Finland, we'll be the first to let you know. Write Connor Bedard's name down now, you won't forget it anytime soon.
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