Connor Bedard signs entry-level contract with Chicago Blackhawks
(Photo Credit: @NHLBlackhawks/ Instagram)

The Chicago Blackhawks have officially signed Connor Bedard, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract on his 18th birthday. The contract carries a $950,000 salary cap hit. Bedard, a highly-touted prospect, was selected by the Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft held on June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

In a show of support and excitement for their newest addition, the Chicago Blackhawks took to Twitter to celebrate Connor Bedard’s 18th birthday and the signing of his entry-level contract. The team posted a photo of Bedard in a Blackhawks jersey, along with a birthday cake emoji and a message welcoming him to the organization.

Bedard’s impressive junior stats include 134 goals and 139 assists in just 134 games played, surpassing Connor McDavid’s junior career stats of 97 goals and 188 assists in 166 games played. NHL expert Craig Button even chose Bedard over McDavid, citing Bedard’s dominant performance in the World Junior Championship as a key factor.

In an interview with his mother, Melanie Bedard, it was revealed that Bedard has never eaten fast food and maintains a strict diet primarily consisting of healthy meats and vegetables. On game days, Bedard’s diet includes a rotation of chicken, rice, vegetables, shrimp, mashed yams, and salmon.

Bedard is excited to make his NHL debut, potentially against his childhood idol Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has already received a congratulatory text from Crosby, which he described as “really cool”. Bedard’s journey with the Blackhawks begins with the team’s development camp, where he will focus on honing his skills and preparing for the upcoming season.

The young star has drawn comparisons to both Crosby and McDavid, with some experts believing he could become one of the next great hockey players. Bedard’s signing comes as the Blackhawks part ways with the last two players from their Stanley Cup dynasty, Patrick Kane and captain Jonathan Toews.

General Manager Kyle Davidson expressed his excitement for Bedard’s future with the team, stating, “He’s a pretty special player, a very special person. We’ll let him determine how special that first season is”. With Bedard’s talent, dedication, and strict diet, the future looks bright for both him and the Chicago Blackhawks.