Jan 5, 2023 - Sports

NHL draft talk swirls around Connor Bedard

Connor Bedard

Connor Bedard. Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

There's been lots of talk about NBA teams tanking for French phenom Victor Wembanyama. Connor Bedard, the likely top pick in this year's NHL draft, is beginning to garner similar attention.

What they're saying: "At this age, best prospect since [Sidney] Crosby," one longtime NHL team executive told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.

Driving the news: Bedard, 17, is playing so well for Team Canada at the 2023 World Junior Championships that he "could put NHL tanking in hyperdrive," notes LeBrun.

  • He has nine goals and 14 assists in six games, including a gorgeous OT winner that made our "Top 10" plays on Tuesday.
  • The generational talent had a goal and an assist on Wednesday night to lead Canada past Team USA, 6-2, in the semifinals.

What's next: Bedard and Canada will play Czechia in tonight's final. Canada won last year's title in August; the Czechs, who stunned Sweden on Wednesday, are playing in their first final since 2001.

Go deeper