Connor Bedard, a high prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft, is one of the 25 players that may play for Canada at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The tournament will undoubtedly be played at Rogers Invest Edmonton from Aug. 9-20.
Bedard was fourth in the Western Hockey League last season with 100 points (51 goals, 49 assists) in 62 games with Regina. The 17-year-old center (5-foot-10, 183 pounds) also led fifth-place Canada with seven points (six goals, one assist) in four games at the 2022 IIHF Under-18 World Championship.
“He’s elite hockey sense, elite skill, elite everything,” Peter Sullivan of NHL Central Scouting said. “However when he does get frustrated on the market, he’s not afraid to provide it back, that is a good sign. I compared him to [Hockey Hall of Famer] Marcel Dionne since he played exactly the same way. Guys didn’t desire to fool around with [Dionne] because he’d go back at them, yet he didn’t have plenty of penalty minutes.”
Sullivan, who focuses on scouting players from the WHL, has evaluated NHL draft prospects days gone by 25 years with Central Scouting and is its longest-tenured member.
“Skill wise he’s not merely quick but has several gears and it’s really legit,” Sullivan said. “After all, probably the most famous player that had five or six gears was Bobby Orr, which is what [Bedard] has. He’s got a gear that may go from 1-to-60 in two seconds; he’s that special a new player.”
Bedard was the seventh 16-year-old to be selected to play for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship when he was named to the team for the 2022 tournament when it originally happened in December. He joined Wayne Gretzky (1978), Eric Lindros (1989), Jason Spezza (2000), Jay Bouwmeester (2000), Sidney Crosby (2004) and Connor McDavid (2014) on that list. In two games, Bedard had five points (four goals, one assist), including a hat trick within an 11-2 win against Austria. He was the initial 16-year-old to score a hat trick for Canada at the WJC since Gretzky did so twice in 1977.
The 2022 tournament was postponed after four days of play once the USA, Czechia and Russia each had to forfeit a preliminary-round game after players tested positive for COVID-19. Results from the December games will never be counted once the tournament restarts.
Bedard is among 16 players returning for Canada from the December tournament. Among that group is Anaheim Ducks forward prospect Mason McTavish, who had five points (two goals, three assists) in two games in December. McTavish was named captain for the tournament Tuesday. Forward Kent Johnson(Columbus Blue Jackets) and defenseman Donovan Sebrango (Detroit Red Wings) were named alternate captains
Canada will open preliminary-round play in Group A against Latvia on Aug. 10 (6 p.m. ET). In addition, it will play Slovakia on Aug. 11 (6 p.m. ET), Czechia on Aug. 13 (6 p.m. ET), and Finland on Aug. 15 (6 p.m. ET).
AMERICA, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Austria will play in Group B.
All games in the 2022 WJC will undoubtedly be televised on NHL Network in the usa.
CANADA WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER
DEFENSEMEN: Lukas Cormier, Charlottetown, QMJHL (Vegas Golden Knights); Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw, WHL (Minnesota Wild); Carson Lambos, Winnipeg, WHL (Minnesota Wild); Ryan O’Rourke, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (Minnesota Wild); Donovan Sebrango, Grand Rapids, AHL (Detroit Red Wings); Ronan Seeley, Everett, WHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Jack Thompson, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Olen Zellweger, Everett, WHL (Anaheim Ducks)
FORWARDS: Connor Bedard, Regina, WHL (2023 draft eligible); William Cuylle, Windsor, OHL (NY Rangers); Elliot Desnoyers, Halifax, QMJHL (Philadelphia Flyers); William Dufour, Saint John, QMJHL (NY Islanders); Tyson Foerster, Barrie, OHL (Philadelphia Flyers); Nathan Gaucher, Quebec, QMJHL (Anaheim Ducks); Ridly Greig, Brandon, WHL (Ottawa Senators); Kent Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets; Riley Kidney, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL (Montreal Canadiens); Mason McTavish, Hamilton, OHL (Anaheim Ducks); Zack Ostapchuk, Vancouver, WHL (Ottawa Senators); Brennan Othmann, Flint, OHL (NY Rangers); Joshua Roy, Sherbrooke, QMJHL (Montreal Canadiens); Logan Stankoven, Kamloops, WHL (Dallas Stars)