The Chicago Blackhawks Found The Perfect Mentor For Connor Bedard In Nick Foligno

Nick is like the figurative dad on the ice for Connor.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

We sometimes forget that Chicago Blackhawks rookie phenom Connor Bedard is only 18. That is why it is great he has a dad (in the figurative sense) in Nick Foligno to mentor him through his first NHL season.

To think, everyone thought it would be Taylor Hall who would mentor Bedard. That idea went out the window once the former Hart Trophy winner was lost for the season with an ACL injury.

Instead, it has been the veteran Foligno who has been skating on the top line with Bedard. Along with Philpp Kurashev that line has been producing some serious offense lately.

Bedard has eight points over the past two games. Two games in which the Hawks scored a combined 14 goals and won. Foligno has four assists in that same span while Kurashev has two goals and three assists.

Bedard's recent hot streak has all but wrapped up the Calder Trophy race in his favor. Foligno deserves some credit for helping Bedard get there.

You can see in their moments on and off the ice that Foligno has embraced being the wise sage for the young phenom.

It was Foligno who defended Bedard's honor when New Jersey Devils defenseman Brendan Smith broke Connor's jaw on a hard hit in early January.

Foligno fractured his finger in that fight. The guy is willing to break his hand to protect his protegee. The most important thing is Foligno has embraced being the dad of the top line.

Some veterans might shy away from being a mentor. Foligno has embraced it. His leadership is a big reason the Hawks wanted to keep Foligno around for another two seasons.

It is neat that the Blackhawks have allowed us to see the behind-the-scenes relationship the figurative father and son have developed.

The overall talent around Bedard might not be great right now. The organization at least got the right mentor in Foligno and the correct linemate in Kurashev to help Bedard go from a phenom and become a legend.