Bedard delivers in first Blackhawks appearance, Blackhawks split at Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase


Everyone suspected Saturday night would be about Connor Bedard, who was making his Chicago Blackhawks debut at the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase after being selected with the first overall pick 80 days before at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, but with a hat trick in a four-point night (three goals, one assist), the highly touted prospect lived up to the hype.

While Bedard’s renowned release was on full display, Chicago netminder Drew Commesso (2020, round 2, No. 46) blocked all the St. Louis Blues shots that came his way and defenseman Kevin Korchinski (2022, round 1, No. 7) looked the part of a future top-pairing blueliner.

Bedard told reporters it was nice to get going again after five months.

“So much fun to be with the guys, getting here, the music’s playing, and you just have that mojo going in,” Bedard said after the game. “That was the best part, just getting back into it … it was fun.”

Towering defenseman Louis Crevier (2020, round 7, No. 188) put the Blackhawks on the board with a shot toward a crowded net-front that found its way to the back of the net. It was the type of play the Blackhawks seem to have been missing in past seasons, finishing 30th in Corsi shot attempts percentage each of the last two seasons. Bedard followed it up with a wrister that set hockey Twitter ablaze as it was everything fans dreamed it would be, heavy, accurate and lethal.

Colton Dach (2021, round 2, No. 62) drove hard to the net and added to the lead with a careening puck off a St. Louis defender. Bedard capped the scoring with a pair of goals to round out the hat trick. 

In all, the players—Bedard included—who needed to look impressive for the Blackhawks did. Commesso, Korchinski, Nolan Allan (2021, round 1, No. 32) and Ethan Del Mastro (2021, round 4, No. 105) all played well enough to warrant notice on the broadcast and social media alike.

On Sunday, the Minnesota Wild would take the 6–4 win, but Blackhawks prospects looked impressive again, including Ryder Rolston. The former University of Notre Dame forward was flying on his shifts and picked up the Blackhawks’ second goal of the game. Chicago acquired Rolston in April 2021 from the Colorado Avalanche.

Chicago additionally picked up goals from Nick Lardis (2023, round 3, No. 67), Dach and Martin Misiak (2023, round 2, No. 55).

While this weekend’s games are ultimately meaningless, they hold a great value for the prospects, coaches and fans alike. It was the first chance to see Bedard on the ice in a Blackhawks jersey and a chance to see a handful of prospects who might find their way onto a roster for what is bound to be a bottom-of-the-league Blackhawks team yet again this season. Now, we wait for the first official preseason game when the Blackhawks host the Blues on Sept. 28.


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