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Is Another Steve Yzerman Coming To The NHL?



Connor Bedard, Regina pats
Connor Bedard, the projected 2023 No. 1 draft pick, has been compared to a young Steve Yzerman

Fans hoping the Detroit Red Wings find another Steve Yzerman to finish off their rebuilding plan should know one will be available next June.

But if the Red Wings play as well as GM Yzerman hopes they will in 2022-23, they have no chance of acquiring him. The player is Regina Pats star Connor Bedard and TSN draft analyst Craig Button has said Bedard reminds him of Yzerman.

“Connor has all the skill, but what impresses me is his intensity like Stevie Y’s, a killer’s instinct,” Button told reporter Gare Joyce for his story in the New York Times.

Bedard is the first 17-year-old in 35 years to reach 100 points in the Western Hockey League. He’s dynamic and ultra-competitive.

“Bedard is fast and elusive,” said Sportsology’s Russ Cohen who does draft analysis for Sirius Radio. “He has more energy per shift than most hockey players I’ve seen. He has a strong wrist shot and his dekes are pro-level already. His quickness, edgework, and elusiveness make him a generational talent.”

Red Line Report Chief Scout an Publisher Kyle Woodlief believes Kontinental Hockey League forward Matvei Michkov of St. Petersburg could challenge Bedard. He broke Nikita Kucherov’s scoring record as a U17 player.

“Bedard and Michkov are the clear top two, and both would be No. 1 overall material in almost any draft year,” Woodlief said.

Woodlief says Bedard-Michkov is the best NHL duo since Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel were dueling before the 2015 draft.

Tight Race

“There’s not much separating Bedard and Michkov; both are quite small, but phenomenally skilled.” Woodlief said. “(They are) so skilled that each could become a 50-goal scorer, not 35 or 40 goal scorers, in the NHL. ”

According to Cohen, the only negative for Michkov is that he’s tied contractually to the KHL until 2026.

“He has magic hands,” Cohen said. “He’s already strong away from the puck. When he’s playing at full speed he’s very hard to handle. He has quick strike ability…But the contract could scare a few teams away.”

The early read on the Bedard Sweepstakes: it’s a battle between the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes. But veteran writer Sam Carchidi of Philly Hockey Now believes the Philadelphia Flyers are also in contention. The Montreal Canadiens are also perhaps in the hunt.

But it’s all guesswork until the season starts.

But after Steve Yzerman’s free agent signing spree, no one is listing the Detroit Red Wings as a possible Bedard Sweepstakes entry.  Even if the Red Wings don’t make the playoffs, they would still have to be in the lower 11 to have a shot at Bedard.

Deep Draft

Under current rules, you can only move up 10 spots in the draft if you win the lottery.

Red Wings fans probably don’t anticipate studying the top draft favorites as much as they have for the last four seasons. But they can’t be sure.

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This 2023 draft has other potential stars. Cohen likes Michigan-bound center Adam Fantilli at No. 2, ahead of Michkov “(Fantilli) will be a top line center in the NHL someday,” Cohen said. “He’s very fast, very dangerous in the slot.

Woodlief has Slovak Dalibor Dvorsky projected at No. 3. “He would have been my No. 1 overall if he would have been available this year,” Woodlief said.

Woodlief has some good news for fans if their Red Wings should falter this season and miss the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season.

Said Woodlief: “The 2023 draft is quite deep compared to most recent drafts.”