Connor Bedard

Connor Bedard wins EJ McGuire Award ahead of NHL Draft

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Connor Bedard, the consensus No. 1 pick in Wednesday’s NHL Draft, has picked up a bit of hardware prior to his big day in Nashville, winning the NHL’s EJ McGuire Award of Excellence.

Bedard, who will in all likelihood be drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night, was awarded the trophy, which is given to the prospect who best exemplifies a “commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.”

NHL Central Scouting, who rates prospects each year, has given out the award since 2015.  It is named after the department’s former director EJ McGuire, who died in 2011 after battling leiomyosarcoma.

Other notable winners have included forward Travis Konecny, who was then drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers, and forward Nico Hischier, who was the No. 1 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils.

Bedard has been a highly-touted prospect for years, and he took his stock to another level in his final season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. In 57 regular-season games, Bedard racked up 71 goals and 72 assists, and followed that up with 10 goals and 10 assists in seven postseason contests.

He is NHL Central Scouting’s No. 1 North American skater, and has been the consensus top-rated player in this year’s class for the entire season.

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