Analysis of Connor Bedard's Shot at the NHL Level

Relax everyone
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

When the phrases like "generational player" or "franchise prospect" are thrown about they typically have a defining skill trait that everyone universally lauds as nonpareil. For Connor McDavid it was his skating for instance. On the Connor Bedard front though it's all about his shot.

So after 4 games, all in road arenas no less, with just one goal (a wraparound rebound goal) there are already pundits out there questioning if his shot is going to translate to this level of hockey. The defenders are smarter, the fowards backchecking are faster, and the goalies are larger so should Blackhawks' fans be concerned? The answer is unequivocally yes AND no.

Yes, if your expectation was for Connor Bedard to score at the rate he did in the WHL (134 goals in 134 games for a goal per game average). No, if you are worried that his projection is that of the small NHL sample size will convert to long term averages (as in a 20-21 goal season with a high volume of missed or saved shots).

I, for one, am not worried about his overall projection in terms of being an excellent goal scorer. While the league is well aware of his skill traits the one thing to think about is this: Connor Bedard can now make adjustments to how the league plays him. For instance, Bedard has had a prior tendency to score high glove side bar down as his release and angle of release have goalies adapting their positioning down for the perceived release point. As the goalie starts to lower their body, Bedard will pull in the shot to lift it above the glove side.

Well, the NHL and their professional staffs can't avoid years of film study and not be ready for this as far as I'm concerned. This leaves Connor Bedard now with the next move as far as I'm reading it. Not often and usually when in close he has an opening between the pads on a "five hole" shot. This isn't something he does often on a wrist shot, but it appears to be open at times when watching his game translate to the NHL. Either way, Connor Bedard is going to find a way to score goals, he is simply too regimented and deteremined not to adjust to how goalies (and defenders) are playing him.

When it comes to his chances so far there is little to complain about. Sure, we'd love for the talk to be about his goals going in instead of his number of shots (5 shots on goal per game) so far. Still, with the chances being generated it's just a matter of time before Chelsea Dagger is playing for him and road arenas collectively groan at a Bedard celly happening on their ice.