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Forward wraps up 1st season against Golden Knights, Kings –

Connor Bedard, the No. 1 pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft, has taken the NHL by storm 27 weeks into his professional career. Each Monday, NHL.com will take a look at what Bedard has done and what’s ahead for him with the Connor Bedard Watch.

WHAT HE’S DONE

Bedard had an assist in three games this past week. He leads the Blackhawks and NHL rookies with 60 points (22 goals, 38 assists) in 66 games. He’s the seventh rookie in Blackhawks history with at least 60 points in a season, joining Steve Larmer (90 in 1982-83), Artemi Panarin (77 in 2015-16), Denis Savard (75 in 1980-81), Patrick Kane (72 in 2007-08), Jeremy Roenick (66 in 1989-90) and Darryl Sutter (62 in 1980-81). New Jersey defenseman Luke Hughes is second among rookies with 47 points (nine goals, 38 assists) in 81 games, and Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber is third with 45 points (seven goals, 38 assists) in 80 games.

WHAT’S AHEAD THIS WEEK

The Blackhawks wrap up their season with a two-game road trip. They’ll play the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; HULU, ESPN+, SN360, TVAS), then close out their season against the Los Angeles Kings at Crypto.com Arena on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; BSW, NBCSCH, SN360).

MOST INTRIGUING MATCHUP

Bedard vs. Eichel

It’s been a while since these two have squared off, but it’ll be fun to watch the No. 1 pick for the Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft go against Eichel, the No. 2 selection by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2015 NHL Draft. Eichel, who missed 19 games because of a knee injury from Jan. 12 to March 3, has 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) in 61 games, second on the Golden Knights behind Jonathan Marchessault with 69 points (42 goals, 27 assists) in 80 games. Bedard had an assist in each of Chicago’s games against Vegas in October.

MOST ANTICIPATED GAME

Blackhawks vs. Kings

It won’t be as anticipated as his NHL debut, but it’ll be exciting to see how Bedard finishes his rookie season when the Blackhawks play the Kings. Los Angeles (43-26-11) enters the week still looking to solidify its position in the Pacific Division. The Kings are third, one point ahead of the Golden Knights, who hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Bedard has one assist in two games against the Kings this season.

EDGE STAT OF THE WEEK

Bedard is in the 87th percentile in 70-80 MPH shots, and the 97th percentile in shots on goal from mid-range (95).

THEY SAID IT

“He wants to score more, and he wants to get more points and help the team get more wins, but we can see in his play and his play away from the puck has gotten much better. (He’s) much more conscious of his shift time and where he is, and if he’s by himself maybe he has to throw a puck in and dump it in and forecheck and he does well with that. So, we’re glad to see him making progress and handling it well, and that’s very mature for a young 18-year-old.” — Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson on Bedard’s improvements

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