Connor Bedard becomes first overall pick of 2023 NHL draft

June 28, 2023 – Nashville, Tennessee

The annual NHL Entry draft is upon us again, and unlike like year where pundits were divided over who would be selected with the first overall pick, this years top dog was unanimous.

At last year’s NHL Entry draft, the Montreal Canadiens shocked their home crowd by picking Juraj Slafkovsky over the favored Shane Wright. For months leading up to the draft, the consensus was that Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright was going to be the top pick come draft day. However, in the final weeks, scouts began to sour on Wright, and turn their attention towards another young player coming off a dominant performance at the IIHF World Championships. Still, with Montreal’s decades-long search for talent, with size down the middle of the rink, most pundits still believed the Habs would select a center with their first pick.

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With the first overall pick of the 2023 NHL draft, the Chicago Blackhawks select center Connor Bedard from the Regina Pats.

Bedard is considered by many to be the next big star in the world of hockey and is often compared to Edmonton Oilers sensation Connor McDavid for his overall skillset and ability to take a game under his wing. He scored 71 goals in 57 games last year, the most by a WHL player in 24 years. He notched a whopping 143 points over the season, the most since 1995-96. At just under 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, Bedard is regarded a generational prospect, much like McDavid, who was selected first in 2015.

The Blackhawks traded away the majority of their talent prior to the beginning of last season, including sending Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators and Kirby Dach to the Montreal Canadiens at last year’s NHL Entry draft. Chicago traded Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers in February and closed the year by parting ways with longtime captain Jonathan Toews. These moves lead many to believe that the Blackhawks were intentionally tanking the season for the chance to draft Bedard.

Read More:
>> Habs opt for size on opening day of the 2022 draft
>> Carey Price unlikely to play this season
>> The 2022 NHL Draft was quite an active day

With the top five players available at this years draft believed to consist of star caliber talent, including Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson, Will Smith, Matvei Michkov and of course Connor Bedard, it would seem that each of Chicago, Anaheim, Columbus, San Jose and Montreal, barring any trades, should be leaving Nashville with a freshly drafted offensive star.