Scout’s Analysis: How good can Connor Bedard be in the NHL?

Canada’s Connor Bedard scores his third goal of the game during second period IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action against Germany in Halifax on Wednesday, December 28, 2022. (Darren Calabrese/CP)

One of the questions I get asked most is: “who does that player remind you of?”

Another one is: “what does a prospect project to be at the NHL level?”

The short answer when describing Connor Bedard is: he’s the best prospect I have seen for several years. He’s a superstar in the making.

Here’s why:

1. Bedard isn’t the quickest or fastest player in his draft class, but he has the leg strength, and skating stride, to surprise opponents in transition. He’s quicker and faster than he looks. He almost sneaks up on opponents (as ridiculous as that sounds). He reminds me of Mitch Marner, pace wise, when he came into the NHL. Marner has added more speed as he has matured. Bedard will do the same.

[brightcove videoID=6318263796112 playerID=JCdte3tMv height=360 width=640]

2. As much as coaches will attempt to teach players the right way to play the game it comes down to a prospect’s hockey IQ. Bedard is blessed with an elite understanding of how to play the game. He sees the ice with the puck on his stick, and slips through holes in the offensive zone like an NFL running back slinking his way through blockers. He’s a calculating player in the offensive zone, like Patrick Kane.

3. Modern day technology has increased the whip on players’ sticks and now NHLers are shooting the puck harder than ever. Bedard uses a 70 flex stick, which is whippy by most standards at this level, and certainly the NHL. But he has the unique ability to lean into a puck and throw it in exactly the right location. He rarely misses the net. At times he will have a shot blocked like all players will, but watch him closely and you will see almost all Bedard’s shots are on target. He shoots the puck like Auston Matthews. Bedard’s deceptive release is that good.

[brightcove videoID=6318265606112 playerID=JCdte3tMv height=360 width=640]

4. Some players crave offence. They want to be the “go-to guy” in every key scoring scenario. Bedard is equal parts Marner, Kane and Matthews when it comes to how much he wants to score. The most beautiful aspect of Bedard’s game is the fact he is willing to work, consistently, for the full 60 minutes. He doesn’t take shifts off.

5. People are going to suggest the media and scouting community are over-shooting Bedard’s upside by labeling him a “generational talent.” It’s not up to me to have people accept his pedigree for what it is. My colleagues on the scouting tour collectively agree he is exactly as described. In fact the majority believe he will have the same impact as Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid.


Here is my Connor Bedard scouting card. Notice his point production year over year.

His list of records and awards is too long to list, year over year. With that in mind, let’s only consider his accomplishments over the past two years:

• U18 World Championship Gold Medal (2021)

• U20 World Championship Gold Medal (2022 & 2023)

• U18 Top 3 Player (2021-2022)

• WHL East All-Star (2021-2022)

• U20 WJC All-Star (2023)

• U20 WJC Best Forward (2023)

• U20 WJC Best Plus/Minus (2023)

• U20 WJC Most Goals (2023)

• U20 WJC Most Assists (2023)

• U20 WJC Most Points (2023)

• U20 WJC MVP (2023)

If these examples don’t shine the spotlight on a “generational talent” I don’t know what a player has to do to earn the right to be identified as such.


Connor Bedard brings parts of several players to his game. I’m most comfortable using the Mitch Marner/Patrick Kane/Auston Matthews blender as what he actually is overall.

Bedard is a future NHL star and we are fortunate to have him leading the way as the next “generational star player” for the NHL. Whoever ends up getting him at the top of the draft will have a very special player on their hands who could change the fortunes of an organization.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.