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Connor Bedard: Bedard wins Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of y...

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Published Time: 28.06.2024 - 03:13:19 Modified Time: 28.06.2024 - 03:13:19

“There’s a lot of who go into it. Obviously, it’s an individual award but it’s cool to celebrate it almost with your teammates and family, just with the help they’ve put toward it. So, it’s a cool moment for sure.” Connor Bedard



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“It’s a cool honor, for sure,” Bedard said after winning the Calder Trophy as the top rookie at the 2024 NHL Awards at Fontainebleau Las Vegas on Thursday.

“There’s a lot of who go into it. Obviously, it’s an individual award but it’s cool to celebrate it almost with your teammates and family, just with the help they’ve put toward it. So, it’s a cool moment for sure.”

The No. 1 pick of the Blackhawks at the 2023 NHL Draft, Bedard was named on all 194 ballots from the Professional Hockey Writers Association as a top-five selection. He had 152 first-place votes and 39 second-place votes. He had 1,808 voting points.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber was next with 1,464 points (with 42 first-place votes).

“He’s a great player,” Bedard said of Faber. “There are so many great guys in the rookie class that could’ve gotten this. He was, all year, just a rock for them and what he did not only offensively but his all-around game was remarkable. He’s going to be a fun guy to watch for a lot of years.”

Bedard takes home the 2024 Calder Trophy

New Jersey Devils defenseman Luke Hughes was third with 686 points.

Bedard led rookies in goals (22) and points (61) and tied Faber for first in assists (39) despite missing 14 games with a broken jaw. He had 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists) in his final 29 games.

Bedard is the 10th Blackhawks player to win the award and first since Artemi Panarin in 2015-16. The other Chicago winners are Patrick Kane (2007-08), Ed Belfour (1990-91), Steve Larmer (1982-83), Tony Esposito (1969-70), Bill Hay (1959-60), Ed Litzenberger (1954-55), Cully Dahlstrom (1937-38) and Mike Karakas (1935-36).

There was a lot of hoopla around Bedard throughout the season. But Bedard’s been in the spotlight since he was 13 years old, when The Hockey News dubbed him “The Future of Hockey,” and that experience served him well in facing the media demands and on-ice expectations throughout the season.

“I’m just playing hockey,” Bedard said. “There’s a lot of stuff that is out of your control and that’s not important to me. I just want to play hockey and be with my teammates, be with your brothers every day chasing a goal. That’s all I really focus on. The other stuff is just what comes with it once you get to a certain level. It’s not really anything I’ve thought much.”

Bedard is looking forward to seeing the 2024 NHL Draft here at Sphere, which begins with the first round on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS). He said it’s “kind of nice” he won’t have the attention he had entering last year’s draft, the attention that Macklin Celebrini, this year’s anticipated No. 1 pick, will probably have. And if Celebrini, who like Bedard hails from North Vancouver, British Columbia, has any questions, Bedard said, “I’m happy to answer and talk to him a little bit.”

It's been quite the season for Bedard. Now he’s ready to turn the page and see how he and the Blackhawks can improve this season.

“It’s obviously a special year, achieving a lifelong dream of playing in the NHL but then you just want to be with the rest of the pack and I don’t want, every time I score a goal or whatever it’s a big deal because I’m the youngest kid or whatever,” he said.

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