The NHL Rookie Draft is scheduled for June 28, 2023, however, it may as well be renamed "The Connor Bedard Draft." A consensus top prospect in this year's draft, Bedard has continued to separate himself from the rest of the draft class.
The 17-year-old from North Vancouver, British Colombia, has been a top prospect since becoming draft eligible. While a clear-cut number-one pick is not always the case, Bedard has showcased his skills at all levels, creating a sizable gap between himself and the rest of the class.
"Connor Bedard just refuses to quit as he extends his point streak to 32 games. He has 38 goals and 80 points over that span. 2.50 points-per-game. Nuts." - @Hockey_Robinson
Connor Bedard has 39 goals and 42 assists in 33 games this season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He leads second-placed Zachary Benson of the Winnipeg ICE by 13 points.
Not only has he dominated the WHL this season, but he has also been a revelation for Team Canada at the 2023 World Junior Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Bedard contributed 9 goals and 23 points in 7 games to Team Canada's gold medal win. Canada won the gold medal game in overtime against the Czech Republic.
During World Juniors, Bedard surpassed Seattle Kraken's Jordan Eberle for the all-time goal-scoring record for Team Canada. At the same time as he passed Eberle, Bedard took sole possession of the all-time World Juniors points record for Team Canada, which was held by Hall of Famer Eric Lindros for 30 years.
"Serving as the hero by registering 2 goals and an assist (including the overtime winner) against Slovakia, Connor Bedard helped #TeamCanada avoid an upset Quarter-Final defeat via a 4-3 victory on Monday. With the 3 points, he now sits tied behind just 5 players on this #WJC list" - StatsCentre
Thanks to his historic performances for Team Canada, Bedard created a gap between himself and other potential top 3 picks Adam Fantilli and Leo Carlsson.
The Anaheim Ducks sit as the favorite to land Connor Bedard
If there was ever a time for the Anaheim Ducks to have a poor season, it is this year. The Californian team sits as the current odds leader to land the number one overall pick, who will undoubtedly become Bedard.
Other teams with the top odds to land the first overall pick include the Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, and Ottawa Senators.