Connor Bedard: Rising Star in NHL – Lacrosse-Style Goals and Ceiling Potential

2023-12-24 06:20:24

What’s Connor Bedard’s ceiling in the NHL?

Connor Bedard has been one of the most talked about NHL rookies in years. We asked NHL legends for their take on the newest Chicago Blackhawk.

Sports Pulse

Chicago Blackhawks highly touted rookie Connor Bedard pulled off an NHL rarity with a lacrosse-style “Michigan” goal Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues.

Then Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras matched the move later Saturday for the NHL-best third Michigan goal of his career.

The Michigan is called that because Mike Legg scored one for the University of Michigan in the 1996 NCAA tournament against the University of Minnesota. It involves cradling the puck onto your stick, lacrosse-style, picking it up and putting it into the net.

Bedard, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL draft, picked up the puck in the trapezoid, skated to the other side of the net and put a high backhander past Blues goalie Jordan Binnington during the first period.

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It was Bedard’s rookie-leading 13th goal of the season, many of which have been of the highlight-reel variety.

“He’s kind of somebody that you kind of expect anything from at any time,” teammate Taylor Raddysh told reporters. “He’s a guy that can do that stuff and it was a great goal for him.”

Zegras’ game started later in the night. He told reporters he heard that Bedard had scored a lacrosse-style goal but hadn’t seen the replay.

The Ducks forward made his move at full speed, skating around the net, cradling the puck and whipping it past Seattle Kraken goalie Joey Daccord.

“They protect the front of the net pretty well,” he said of the Kraken. “That was something that was talked about in the pre-scout. When I went behind the net, that’s obviously something I felt comfortable doing. In my opinion, it’s not like a crazy play for me to do.”

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Zegras, who’s known for his slick hands, was in his first game back after missing 20 with a lower-body injury. He had scored a Michigan against the Montreal Canadiens and the Arizona Coyotes in the 2021-22 season. He also had a lacrosse-style assist with an alley-oop pass on a Sonny Milano goal that season.

The Carolina Hurricanes’ Andrei Svechnikov was the first player to do it in the NHL, against the Calgary Flames during the 2019-20 season. He did it a second time that December against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Nashville Predators’ Filip Forsberg and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Kent Johnson, a former Michigan player, also have pulled off the move.

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