The Chicago Blackhawks, because of their status as one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League, have a special interest in this year’s edition of the World Junior Championships. Every team in the league cares about it but the Hawks might care more than others.
In particular, Team Canada is incredibly important to their scouts this year. For one, they have multiple prospects playing for that team so everyone wants to see how they do. Colton Dach has been injured but Kevin Korchinski, Nolan Allan, and Ethan del Mastro have been great.
As fun as those guys are, nothing matches the anticipation that comes from the elite players that are draft eligible in 2023.
If the Blackhawks end up with the second overall pick, Adam Fantilli will be a great selection for them. He does a lot of things right that will translate well in the NHL.
The Chicago Blackhawks have their eyes on a lot in the World Juniors.
However, Connor Bedard (the projected number-one overall pick) is on another level. He has been the best player in the tournament for any team and he hasn’t even been drafted yet. We are starting to see that he might be on that Sidney Crosby/Connor McDavid level of greatness.
Obviously, that is some high praise but it is fair at this point. The things that he has done have been as impressive as any junior player ever.
Bedard stole the show once again in the quarterfinals for Canada. Against a very good Team Slovakia, Bedard saved his team from a massive upset. For one, he scored the first goal of the game that gave Canada a 1-0 lead. He also had another assist later on in regulation.
Slovakia put on a show themselves and got the game to overtime against this Canadian team that is always going to be the favorite this year.
Connor Bedard showed us why he has so much hype surrounding him when he scored one of the most beautiful goals in the overtime period to hold off that Slovakian squad. It was a very impressive moment.
Chicago Blackhawks fans had to love seeing Bedard do this. They don’t have his rights and may never but they might enter the off-season with the greatest odds to get him. If the season ended today, that would be the case.
Now, Bedard and Canada will face Team USA in the semi-final. The winner will advance to the Gold Medal Game which should be incredibly exciting. If Bedard came to Chicago, the franchise would change forever.
For now, we just need to see them be smart in other areas to potentially take advantage of a good-luck situation that might present itself later on.