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The Chicago Blackhawks and Connor Bedard have officially come to terms on his entry-level contract on Monday, Bedard’s 18th birthday, a source confirmed Monday morning. The deal is the standard entry-level deal for three years.
Quite the Birthday present, indeed.
There was never a question if Bedard and the Blackhawks would get to an entry-level deal (don’t listen to the internet sometimes) they just needed to wait until he was 18 to sign professionally.
The Blackhawks made Bedard the top-overall selection in the 2023 NHL Draft last month in Nashville, having a No. 98 Blackhawks sweater ready for him to wear on the Draft stage in Nashville. He’s repeatedly talked about his excitement to join the organization, and despite him so humbly saying he is just hoping to make the team out of camp this summer, he’ll be taking the first face-off of the season for the Blackhawks when they open the year at the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’ll be face-to-face with one of his hockey idols: Sidney Crosby.
There’s a ton ahead of Bedard in his hockey career and also a ton of expectations. Rookie of the Year, MVP, Stanley Cups, etc. they are already being tied to Bedard’s name and legacy and he hasn’t even stepped on the ice yet as an official member of the Blackhawks. But with the amount of expectations on him, the now 18-year-old Bedard seems more mature than your typical teenager and so centrally focused on playing hockey to the best of his ability, that the “outside noise” as so many professional athletes call it, seems to have little-to-no chance of bothering him. Bedard said multiple times during Blackhawks development camp earlier this month how he is just a “normal guy” and wanting to be a part of the locker room, not the sole focal point of the team.
It will be hard to not see Bedard that way, the face of the franchise and the focal-point to it’s hopeful turnaround back to contention, but Bedard will be leading a budding cast of Blackhawks future players that will also shoulder the weight of expectations on them and the franchise. For now, Bedard is officially officially a Chicago Blackhawk. A moment fans have been wishing and waiting for for what feels like two years.
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