World junior Conor Bedard can tank the NHL in hyperdrive: LeBrun

There seems little doubt that this is the type of possibility and NHL The all-around tank-a-palooza franchise has to go for.

There’s always a risk of overreacting to a junior player’s performance in the world, for good and bad, but what we’ve seen so far from Conor Bedard is stunning, from an astonishing 21 points in five games to the latest tournament, sending Canada into the quarter-finals on Monday with a goal of extra time. which they will return forever.

And if you’re one of those basement-dwelling teams in the NHL standings, it sure reinforces how you already felt about the player.

My first draft with Ottawa It was already in 1995, albeit in a part-time role, ” blue jackets said General Manager Jarmo Kikalainen the athlete on Monday morning. “The first thing I learned from John Ferguson Sr., my first Chief Scout, is to look for guys who ‘want to make a difference. “

“I think we can all agree on Bedard’s ability/talent – but he wants to make a difference and almost every shift is exceptional.

“Exceptional players win trophies.”

The injury-plagued Jackets, last in the Eastern Conference standings, will have a shot at the draft lottery, along with BlackhawksAnd the ducksAnd the SharksAnd the CoyoteAnd the two canadians And the Flyersamong others.

I say among the “others” because there is so much hockey left and time for teams to stumble around the standings and get into a Bédard-lottery fight. what about Blues after Injury news Monday regarding Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko?

What will be interesting to watch in the next few weeks is how quickly some of these teams start swapping away players before the March 3 deadline.

As they do, part of the goal will of course be to recover futures-type assets. But the other advantage, especially with trades that happen sooner rather than later, will be in diluting these teams’ existing NHL rosters and helping boost their lottery chances.

Like, the Wolves probably won more games than they really wanted to by now. Does that add any urgency to trading away? Jacob Shekron As soon as an acceptable offer is on the table? Um, even if no one with coyotes says it publicly, I’m here to tell you the answer is a definite yes.

Because Bedard is worth it.

“At this age, the best prospect since Crosby,” said a longtime NHL team executive with a scouting background, who asked not to be identified. “Elite skill is one component, but the ability to rise to the occasion is something you rarely see. He’s done it internationally and in the WHL. He seems to like a challenge to him personally or at the team level.”

“He is a generational talent and has proven it for several years, despite his age,” added the NHL general manager Monday, who also requested anonymity. “I expect Conor Bedard to be a staple for any organization fortunate enough to recruit him.”

Again, I’m always apprehensive about overdoing junior world offerings, either way. But what we see is something else.

Bedard is the best prospect since at least Austin Mathews?

“The best since McDavid,” Craig Button, TSN’s chief scouting director, told me without hesitation Monday morning.

“I don’t want to lose the meaning of ‘generational’ by using it so much, right? If we have generational players every three years, then it slips, right? I think we saw (Bedard) as a franchise star, you know. But I’m having a hard time arguing not His presence as a generation player.

“Because if there’s anyone standing on the line, it’s definitely him. And he’s done nothing so we wouldn’t think he was crossing a line.”

Button never thought that Matthews, for example, was a player from generation to generation. Star, yes, but Jill, no.

Bedard? It gives me plenty of pause for thought, Patton said over the phone from Moncton, New Brunswick.

Button has watched over decades of world junior championships.

“(Peter) Forsberg dominated the 1993 championship; he was 19 years old,” Button said. “I’ve seen 19-year-olds dominate the championship. I’ve never seen a player this young dominate a championship. Now, (Jaromir) Jäger was great in 1990, but he didn’t control it. He was very good as a 17-year-old, but he just didn’t control it.

“He’s not even close between Bedard and everyone here.”

On the flip side, I was a little wary of Who’s answer the athleteWell-respected prospects expert Cory Brunman Monday morning when I asked him if Bedard was the best prospect he had seen since Matthews.

“The big question on Bedard is whether or not it’s a National Hockey Center,” Brunman said. “It may end up being positioned behind Matthews and (Nathan) McKinnon, etc., at the same age.”

My friend and colleague from TSN, legendary recruiting expert Bob McKenzie has been all over the world juniors and the NHL draft for a very long time.

“All I know is that he’s special,” McKenzie said on the phone from Halifax. “Now, where exactly that goes off, I don’t know. But he’s special. And he’s more special than I thought I would when I saw him in the summer. He’s got elite, elite. He shoots the puck like Auston Matthews is now, when he’s 17. He’s got He had the best shot I’ve ever seen of anyone coming out of junior hockey. I’ve never seen anyone shoot the puck the way this kid shoots it. So the shot is what sets him apart from everyone else he plays against in terms of his peers.”

But there is clearly more.

“I also think he has an elite hockey feel. I think he has the ability to see the ice and make plays,” McKenzie continued. “I think he’s shown that in the last two games here with some of his passes.

“I said this on air: He’s not as big as Mario (Lemieux), he’s not as strong and full as Mr. (Crosby), he’s not as fast as Connor McDavidHe’s not a typical center, he could be more of a winger than a center in the NHL – I don’t know but that’s a definite possibility – but all I know is all I know is, whatever, he’s got it. And he’s got a lot out of it.”

So don’t be surprised if some lottery teams start selling out on their trading deadline a little earlier than normal this season. Because the drive to promote the best possible odds for the lottery has taken on a whole new level of urgency after Bedard’s World Junior performance.

(Photo: Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP)

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