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Five Things to Know About Connor Bedard Ahead of NHL Draft Lottery

With the NHL draft lottery slated for Monday night, one player is seen as the consensus favorite to be selected No. 1 in June’s draft: Connor Bedard.

The 16 teams that missed the NHL playoffs became eligible for the lottery, with odds to obtain the top pick based on regular-season performance. The Anaheim Ducks, who posted a league-worst 58 points, have the best odds (18.5%) to capture the No. 1 pick. They are followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets (13.5%), Chicago Blackhawks (11.5%) and San Jose Sharks (9.5%). The lottery will be televised Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Here are six fun facts about Bedard, a 17-yer-old from North Vancouver, British Columbia.

He Was Named “the Future of Hockey” at Age 13

Bedard first received international attention when he was interviewed by The Hockey News at age 13. In the first sentence, the outlet deemed him the “future of hockey,” a nickname which continues to be stuck with him.

Bedard was playing for West Van Hockey Academy at the time of the interview. The article mentions some of his recent accomplishments during that season, including five consecutive hat tricks and 33 goals in 14 games.

Hockey Canada Granted Him “Exceptional Status” at Age 14

In order to play junior hockey prior to age 16, Bedard had to receive “exceptional status” from Hockey Canada. He was granted the waiver, becoming just the seventh player ever to earn that status. John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day, John Veleno and Shane Wright are the others.

After receiving the “exceptional” waiver, Bedard even received a congratulatory call from Wayne Gretzky.

He Was Picked No. 1 in the 2020 Western Hockey League Draft

After earning exceptional status, Bedard was drafted No. 1 by the WHL’s Regina Pats in 2020. This season, the center recorded 71 goals and 72 assists in 57 regular-season games for the Pats. In the playoffs, Bedard registered 10 goals and 10 assists in seven games.

A Record-Breaking Performance at the 2023 World Juniors

Bedard represented Canada in the 2023 World Juniors tournament, helping lead the team to a second consecutive gold medal. He scored 23 points in seven games and was named MVP of the tournament.

Bedard tallied the most career points by a Canadian at the world juniors, 36 in two years, breaking Eric Lindros’s previous record of 31. He also became the country’s all-time leader in goals with 17 over those two appearances. He also scored the most points by a Canadian in a single tournament with 23 in ’23.

He’s Become a Viral Highlight Reel

The 17-year-old superstar’s goals have been compiled into various highlight reels in recent years. Here’s one that includes some of his most sensational goals.

The 2023 NHL draft will be held June 28-29 in Nashville, Tenn.