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Blackhawks Take Bedard No. 1 Overall as Expected

Connor Bedard became the second No. 1 pick in Blackhawks history, joining Patrick Kane, who went first overall in 2007 and helped form the core of a team that won three Stanley Cups from 2010 to 2015. Kane’s tenure in Chicago ended in February when he was traded to the New York Rangers.


At just under 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, Bedard is regarded a generational prospect, much like McDavid, who was selected first in 2015 and this week was named the league’s MVP for the third time.


Impressive as Bedard’s resume has been, Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson was careful not to put too much on his new player’s shoulders right away.


Sweden’s Leo Carlsson went second overall, chosen by the Anaheim Ducks over Michigan freshman Adam Fantilli. Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek had declined to speak to reporters in the weeks leading up to the draft but believes the sturdy, 6-foot-3 forward can become a dominant two-way player.


The first American player off the board went fourth when the San Jose Sharks selected USA Hockey Development Program forward Will Smith, who is from Boston and has committed to playing at Boston College next season.


David Reinbacher was the first defenseman off the board, selected fifth by Montreal. But the player from Austria had to wait a few extra seconds to hear his name called.


As for Bedard, he has been envisioning this moment since he was a child spending hours in his driveway and backyard in North Vancouver, British Columbia, where he took between 500 to 1,000 shots a day.


In his first season with the Regina Pats two years ago, he scored 51 goals to become the Western Hockey League’s youngest player to reach 50. His 71 goals in 57 games last season were the most by a WHL player in 24 years, and his 143 points were the most since 1995-96.


After spending the past year tearing down the Blackhawks’ roster, Davidson was pleased to finally begin building it back up. Chicago also selected U.S. developmental program center Oliver Moore at No. 19. From Minnesota, Moore was ranked eighth among North American skaters, and averaged 1.23 points per game last season.


The Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights closed the first round by selecting Swedish forward David Edstrom at No. 32.

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