The NHL’s best prospect since Sidney Crosby will have to put his rookie campaign on hold.
Chicago Blackhawks rookie phenom Connor Bedard, the No. 1 overall pick in the most recent NHL Draft, has been placed on injured reserve after fracturing his jaw Friday night.
Bedard was hit in the face by Brendan Smith of the New Jersey Devils midway through the first period. He left the game and never returned.
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The blow made the rest of the game difficult. Even Devils young sensation Jack Hughes delivered a big hit, and Smith later dropped the gloves against Nick Foligno in the second period, just after several members of the two teams brawled on the ice.
The Chicago Blackhawks also placed Foligno on IR with a broken left finger, which he suffered in his fight with Smith.
The Blackhawks won the draft lottery last year, giving them the right to select Bedard.
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He has lived up to the hype, leading the team (and all rookies) with 15 goals and 18 assists. However, it’s still tough in Chicago, as they have an 11-26-2 record: his 24 points are the second-lowest mark in the league.
The Blackhawks have a long list of injured players, forcing them to acquire forward Rem Pitlick from the Pittsburgh Penguins for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft.
Bedard has long been compared to Crosby, a future Hall of Famer, since he was in high school. In his NHL debut, he took the first confrontation against his childhood hero.
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Bedard’s schedule is unknown, although it seems reasonable that he will return for the All-Star Game next month, for which he was selected.
At age 17, Bedard led the CHL with 143 points in just 57 games and led Canada to the world junior gold medal last year.
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