Connor Bedard to make NHL preseason debut tonight for Chicago Blackhawks

Connor Bedard, the highly anticipated first-overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, is set to make his preseason debut for the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks will face off against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center tonight on Thursday, September 28th at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT.

Bedard is expected to skate on a line with Ryan Donato and Taylor Hall. This debut comes after Bedard’s impressive performance at the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase, where he scored a hat trick and an assist in a 5-0 win against the Blues.The game will be broadcast on NHL Network, NBC Sports Chicago and Sportsnet+.

Bedard has expressed his excitement for his preseason debut, stating, “I can’t wait. I think I’ve said this the whole time: I just want to play hockey. That’s what you want. You train so hard throughout the summer and every day, which is great, and you want to see where that gets you in the game.” His enthusiasm is shared by fans who have flocked to Fifth Third Arena to watch him in training camp and scrimmages.

What to Expect from Connor Bedard

  1. Elite Scoring Ability: With 51 goals in his previous season and a hat trick in the prospect showcase, Bedard is already showing signs of being a high-impact player.
  2. Lightning-Fast Release: Bedard’s shot release has been lauded as deceptive and quick.
  3. Game Intelligence: Bedard is not just about physical skills; he watches a lot of hockey to improve his game intelligence.
  4. Star Power: After making waves in the World Junior Championship at the age of 16, Bedard is tipped to be the NHL’s next big star.

The Blackhawks are in a transition phase, with the departure of franchise icon Patrick Kane and the decision not to re-sign longtime captain Jonathan Toews. Bedard’s arrival has generated a buzz around the team, as he is expected to play a significant role in the Blackhawks’ rebuild and help bring the team back to the success of their Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

In his debut season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Bedard won the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie player. He continued to excel in his third year in the WHL, winning the Bob Clarke Trophy as the league’s leading scorer and earning the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as its most valuable player.

Bedard has also achieved success on an international level. He won championships with the Canadian national under-18 team in 2021 and with the Canadian national junior team in 2022 and 2023. His outstanding performance in the 2023 tournament set several national and international points records, earning him the inaugural IIHF Male Player of the Year award.

Standing at 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 185 pounds, Bedard possesses exceptional skills and potential that have captivated hockey enthusiasts worldwide. His journey to the NHL has been closely followed by fans and experts alike, making his preseason debut an eagerly anticipated event.

While tonight’s game is only a preseason match, it will provide a glimpse of what the future may hold for the Blackhawks with Bedard on the roster. His performance in the preseason will be crucial for his development and integration into the team. As the hockey world watches, Bedard’s debut could mark the beginning of a new era for the Chicago Blackhawks.