Davidson: Bedard 'incredibly mature and impressive' for rookie
Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson spoke glowingly of Connor Bedard following the phenom's impressive showing at the club's rookie tournament over the weekend.
"The amount of attention, expectations, not just now but in the past, has been something that is rarely seen," Davidson told NHL.com's Tracey Myers. "I can't speak more highly of how he's handled it, how he's not let it impact his focus and what he thinks is important and the work he needs to put in, both on and off the ice, to perform at the level he expects of himself."
He added, "Incredibly mature and impressive for an 18-year-old coming into a very unique situation."
Bedard dazzled in his unofficial Blackhawks debut, notching a hat trick against the St. Louis Blues with the lethal wrist shot that helped make him the most hyped prospect since Connor McDavid was drafted first overall in 2015.
"It's an elite shot. He loves to use it," Davidson said. "I don't think we learned or confirmed anything there that wasn't fairly well documented."
Chicago drafted Bedard with the top pick after he put up a whopping 71 goals and 143 points in 57 games for the WHL's Regina Pats last season. He also recorded 23 points in seven contests at the world juniors en route to a gold medal for Canada as well as tournament MVP.
Expectations are sky-high for the British Columbia native as he approaches his rookie season, but Davidson is confident Bedard can embrace whatever is thrown his way.
"We'll let him and his play do the talking," he said. "I'm sure the expectations he's been followed with for a long time. I'm sure he'll handle it just fine."
The Blackhawks open training camp this week then kick off their regular season Oct. 10 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.