NHL

Chicago Blackhawks: A look into Bedard-mania as season nears midpoint

The Chicago Blackhawks won both the literal and figurative lottery when they landed Connor Bedard in the NHL Draft Lottery. While the team is rebuilding creating a new look program that can hopefully bring them back to the heights they reached with Patrick Kane. Despite an 11-22-1 record the Chicago Blackhawks are must watch for hockey fans as we get a glimpse at the start of a career for a generational talent. If the season were to end today the Blackhawks would have the second-best odds for the top pick again with this season’s draft bringing another potential superstar in Boston University’s Macklin Celebrini who’s lighting the World Juniors on fire.

The expectations were sky high for Connor Bedard and things got tougher for the rookie when he lost Corey Perry who the team cut for an of ice issue despite recording nine points in 16 games for the Blackhawks. Bedard however has lived up to the expectations so far playing at nearly a point per game pace with 32 points in 34 games.

The Start: Hot start visiting some of the games biggest names

Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks opened their season facing off against the Pittsburgh Penguins and a player who maybe had the only expectations higher than Bedard in Sidney Crosby. Bedard scored his first point in his first game with an assist in a 4-2 win. The next night he traveled to Boston facing the previous year’s presidents trophy winners where he scored his first career goal.

Bedard would go on to score his first point in Canada in his first game there recording an assist in a loss to the Canadiens. On October 31st, Bedard-Mania reached an early peak as the Blackhawks played their first home game of the season and Bedard pleased the fans immediately scoring a power play goal a minute into the first period. His home stretch continued scoring a second period goal in a 4-0 win over the Panthers.

The second phase: Gaining confidence and comfort

Bedard started to really show his talent and poise on November ninth against the Lightning scoring twice and assisting on a third goal in a 5-3 win. The next game Bedard scored twice more in a loss to the Panthers. Connor Bedard reached his tenth career goal against the Blue Jackets despite losing 7-3 an impressive milestone in a lengthy career to come. Bedard would record 13 points over his next 15 games taking us to December 23rd. He then lit the internet on fire by scoring a “Michigan” goal.

The next game Bedard scored both Blackhawks goals including his first overtime game winner which prompted him to hit the Vince Carter “it’s over” celebration.

For the Chicago Blackhawks the teams offense will need to massively improve before next season if they hope to compete for the playoffs. Landing a potential superstar in Macklin Celebrini or a potential impact player in Cole Eiserman would be a great first step in many needed additions. In free agency the Blackhawks can pursue another center in Steven Stamkos or Jake Guentzel which would be good additions but they should pursue a top line wing to play with Bedard. They should pursue Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Eberle, or a Tyler Toffoli to help build up talent while they could also trade for a top tier goal scorer if they don’t land the top pick.

Chicago Blackhawks: Increased hype lies ahead.

The hype train for the Chicago Blackhawks and Connor Bedard will only continue to grow in the months to come. Bedard will make his first trip to “The World’s Most Famous Arena” to face the New York Rangers on January 4th in a game that will garner national attention. Perhaps the most watched Blackhawks game will be the February 25th game against the Red Wings when the Future faces the past when they face Patrick Kane. The Chicago Blackhawks have five nationally televised games remaining this season and hockey fan or not you should tune in to see the start of a great career.