Overheard at the NHLPA rookie showcase: Expectations for Bedard, Wolf, Carlsson … and a fighting ban?

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ARLINGTON, Va. — Connor Bedard circled the ice, waiting for his cue from a hockey card photographer for Upper Deck. He skated purposefully towards an empty net and unleashed a shot.

OK, not a shot, but the shot. That quick, powerful release that’s his calling card as an NHL prospect. That skillful snipe that made him the first overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, and has positioned Bedard as the league’s latest franchise savior.

The puck rocketed off his blade and landed snugly under the crossbar. How many goals will the 18-year-old score just like that? How many goalies will be left wondering how to stop Bedard?

“Just get in front of it. Somehow,” said Sebastian Cossa, a goalie prospect for the Detroit Red Wings who attended the NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Arlington on Tuesday.

“He’s definitely got a good shot,” Cossa continued. “I played against him in junior and the world juniors. His pull-and-push is obviously pretty special. It’s not really knowing what to expect. You just got to really be on angle and take away the net from him. He’s a special player.”

Bedard was the talk of the rookie showcase.

“I don’t know if it’s possible [to stop him],” Minnesota Wild goalie prospect Jesper Wallstedt said with a laugh.

“I think just his shot’s crazy. His release is unbelievable and he picks his corners well,” said Tyson Foerster, a Philadelphia Flyers prospect.



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