Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Does Connor Bedard Have Enough Help This Year?


The Athletic came out with its annual Calder Trophy ranking Tuesday morning, and Connor Bedard was predictably the top candidate. As a highly touted first-overall pick, the 18-year-old is already one of the faces of the NHL. For many, it feels like a foregone conclusion that Bedard will log 80 points or more in his first year.

However, the article from Scott Wheeler and Harman Dayal argues that Bedard putting on such a performance will be far from simple. Here’s what they had to say about the young star:

“Bedard’s the frontrunner, but winning the Calder is going to be far from a cakewalk. Acquiring Taylor Hall helps, but Bedard’s not going to have any star talent around him. The Blackhawks are also so thin further down the lineup that opposing teams will be circling Bedard as ‘the guy’ to game plan around.”

– The Athletic

With all the hype around Bedard, sometimes we can forget that this Blackhawks team wasn’t too great just a year ago. While the squad has been completely altered with a flurry of offseason moves, they can’t be expected to compete for a Stanley Cup this year. But can they even support their young superstar? Does Bedard have enough help?

The short answer: yes. Though the original article argues that Bedard doesn’t have any “star talent” around him and that the lineup is too thin, this offense could be much more dynamic than in previous years. With proven veteran talent expected to gel with fresh, young skaters, Connor Bedard won’t be a one-man show this season.

Lukas Reichel

A conversation about help for Bedard has to start with 21-year-old Lukas Reichel. Once the 17th overall pick by the Blackhawks in 2020, Reichel bided his time in Rockford before getting an extended look in Chicago this spring. He looked like a major piece of the Blackhawks’ puzzle, notching 12 points in 19 games.

Better yet, Reichel tallied those numbers on just 34 shots. Now entering his first full season at the NHL level, he’ll undoubtedly be more comfortable with his game, becoming a dangerous offensive force while attempting more shots. He’ll seek to do enough on the attacking end to take quite a bit of pressure off of Bedard on a nightly basis.

Taylor Hall

Hall was drafted in 2010, which can make it difficult to remember that he was once in the same situation as Bedard – a first-overall pick with massive expectations. Now 31, Hall has made good on his draft spot as a five-time All-Star. He now comes to Chicago still near the top of his game, where he’ll undoubtedly take some of the pressure off Bedard on the offensive end. The two are likely to play on the top line together and could prove to be a lethal scoring duo.

Between up-and-coming young skaters and proven veteran stars, the Blackhawks’ offense will be much more powerful this season than in years past. With the newly revamped roster around him, Connor Bedard will be far from a one-man show as he aims for a legendary Calder Trophy campaign.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Chicago SportsNEWS
Recommended for you

Give us your thoughts.x