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Bedard not comparing himself to McDavid: I'm 'my own player'

Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Despite matching first names and sharing similar generational hype before ever playing in the NHL, Connor Bedard isn't buying into the comparisons to Connor McDavid.

The Chicago Blackhawks phenom has been training with the reigning Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner recently but wants to temper expectations from those who think Bedard can challenge the world's best player with his rookie season around the corner.

"You never want to be like, 'Oh, I can't do this.' I don't really think that mindset is great," Bedard said, per ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. "But I'm not him. I'm my own person and my own player. I think he's kind of the pinnacle right now. And you're like, 'This guy is the best, or one of the best, (so) how can I get closer to him?'"

McDavid authored one of the best individual seasons in recent memory in 2022-23 with 153 points, which led the league by 25 and locked up his fifth scoring title and third MVP in eight NHL campaigns.

Bedard dominated junior this past season with 71 goals and 72 assists in 57 regular-season games as a member of the WHL's Regina Pats. The 18-year-old also became the most prolific scorer in Canadian world junior history en route to capturing his second gold medal at the tournament in January.

While it's easy to see the similarities in Bedard's and McDavid's offensive production in junior, this year's No. 1 overall pick doesn't have his heart set on matching the Edmonton Oilers captain in the pros just yet.

"I think that's such a great thing in sport. You're always competing against guys. For me to get to spend some time with him on the ice and just try to compete with him ... he's obviously unbelievable. You can barely talk about his stats because they're so ridiculous. But for me, it's just trying to be my own player. Be the best I can be," Bedard added.

Bedard does have a chance to accomplish something McDavid never did in his rookie year, though: win the Calder Trophy. A shoulder injury limited McDavid to 45 games in his debut season, and Bedard is the odds-on favorite entering 2023-24.

Bedard and McDavid are set to clash for the first time on Dec. 12 in Edmonton.

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