The story of how Connor Bedard impressed Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

"When he was 12, we were like, 'Who's the kid on the ice?"- Nugent-Hopkins said.

by Sead Dedovic
The story of how Connor Bedard impressed Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
© Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport

Connor Bedard, the top pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, is anticipated to achieve great things as a hockey player. The Chicago Blackhawks know they've got a talented player on their team. Yet, coping with immense expectations can prove challenging.

Connor McDavid, who, like Bedard, was the No.1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, understands this pressure all too well. Despite this, McDavid firmly believes in Bedard's ability to fulfill his potential.

"It seems like he's very mature, mature beyond his years," McDavid said, as quoted by!

They'll face off in their first NHL game together when the Blackhawks play the Oilers at Rogers Place. Both players previously skated together at Gary Roberts' BioSteel camp during the offseason
"The story at the BioSteel camp, this was two years ago, he was a 2-on-1, and he was looking off Sid (Sidney Crosby) and shooting the puck.

He was 17 at the time. Obviously, he's got the confidence on the ice, and I say that respectfully, not in a bad way. He has a lot of confidence on the ice and he's mature off the ice."

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins impressed with Connor Bedard

Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is one of those who is also well acquainted with the talent of Connor Bedard.

He had the opportunity to watch Bedard when he was a boy. Even then it was clear that Bedard could become a player with a great career.

"When he was 12, we were like, 'Who's the kid on the ice?' I was about 25. And then he was 13, and 14, and shooting the puck as hard as anyone on ice already.

And throughout the years, you slowly saw him develop."- Nugent-Hopkins said.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins believes that there are many aspects in which Bedard was ahead of others back then. It's unbelievable how much maturity he plays even though he is so young.

It is hard to even imagine how good Bedard will be in the coming seasons when he gains experience and confidence. However, as already said, it is not necessary to put pressure on Bedard. Time will show what we can expect from him.

"Jon Calvano, he coaches (in Vancouver area) and he gets ice for us and does our summer skates and things like that. He had Bedard at a young age with different teams and so he would just bring him out sometimes to just show him what we're doing.

He's been a special player since I've known him, and he just keeps getting better and better. He was 15, 16, and shooting the puck like an NHLer already. He moves well, but I think the way he thinks the game too is kind of why he's able to get himself in good spots to release that shot. All around, he's just a great player."

Connor Bedard Connor Mcdavid