On Monday we got a glimpse into Connor Bedard as a media savvy athlete and it reminded me that he has zero points in the NHL. We are still 3 weeks away from hearing his name be called and months away from training camp and the start of his career after that.
While it seems plausible that the hype is truly real, what "should" our expectations for Connor Bedard actually be? As a native Chicagoan, I have the super fans voices in my head... "Bedard Vs. a Hurricane.... BeeeeeDARD my Fwriend" and so on.. However, what is a more realistic approach may be to look at the history of players and apply it to today's game.
Connor Bedard is never going to be a huge player or one that takes on a lot of hits or board battles. Standing next to the other top prospects it was evident just how large of a size gap there was with Leo Carlsson and Adam Fantilli next to him. Even Will Smith appeared to have 2-3 inches of height on Bedard. Luckily the game they play is at their feet and these things don't matter as much to produce a Hall of Fame career.... Just ask Patrick Kane afterall.
While a few traits are similar between Kane and Bedard, it is more likely a combination of current players that make up what Connor Bedard could be. An Auston Matthews, David Pastrnak, and Patrick Kane combo is likely more of an accurate accumulation of talent to see where he might be headed in terms of production.
Perhaps we need to go back even further though to the 70s and 80s and the amazing skill that Marcel Dionne displayed. While I'm not sure a nearly 1800pt career is ahead for our young superstar, there are alot of traits that are shared with the Little Beaver. If you remember, Dionne didn't even go #1 though in 1971. I'll let you look up whom went #1, but let me just say I highly doubt there will ever be a better #1-#2 draft in the NHL (and there have been some amazing ones).
Ok, so numbers. I took in the last 20 highly drafted players that have had at least a few shared traits (size, shot, offensive IQ, creative passing etc) and it really started to show a pattern for me. Not to post my "chicken scratch" notes, but it really seemed that the realistic approach was to gauge the team growth with the point production from the individual.
With that being said, a rookie year in the 60s with a sophmore campaign just under a point per is what I am expecting. It is year 3 that has me excited and where I believe the physical jump will produce his "typical" season. I believe, based on size, shot, offensive IQ, and team building that Connor Bedard will have seasons between 86-110 points for a time frame of 11-13 seasons before those numbers start to dip down. That would place Bedard in the upper echelon of the league.
If you go by that model, I believe 140 points in his first 2 seasons with prime years making up the majority of stats is what we could expect. That is a career that could yield somewhere between 1400-1500 points. That is a Hall of Fame career. Patrick Kane is coming up on 1300 points and Sidney Crosby has over 1500pts at the current moment for reference. Those are two elite skilled forwards (very different players) that are both of smaller stature that have produced Hall of Fame numbers, ones that I think Connor Bedard could be in line with (stats wise).
So while it's fun to think about Connor McDavid type of numbers for him right away, I believe that the answer lays somewhat below those expectations. McDavid was the perfect prospect. He had everything at the same age Bedard is now. Skating and size advantages to compound with all the skill he had was something the league has never seen before.... and may never see again.
Expectations are dangerous. Jonathan Drouin is a prime example. His 2 seasons before his draft year were just amazing in the QMJHL. He was beyond skilled and had scouts excited about his NHL projection. While he wasn't near Bedard's skill or point production it is a fair comparison in that it doesn't always work out the way we think it will.
Connor Bedard is the most exciting prospect to ever come to Chicago. More than Derrick Rose, Patrick Kane, or even Michael Jordan. They were all looked at as likely stars when they were drafted... this is different.... but heed any expectations that may include things like "all-time great" before we actually get a good sample size in the NHL.