BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Blackhawks officially met with Connor Bedard at the NHL Scouting Combine this week in Buffalo, where all 32 teams were eligible to interview members of the 2023 class ahead of the June 28-29 NHL Draft in Nashville.
Bedard said on Friday that he met with a "pretty good amount" of teams, but clearly the most notable one is the Blackhawks, who hold the No. 1 overall pick. And it was all positive.
"I met them last summer once and then to see them again here was good," Bedard said. "We had some conversations with them of course. I enjoyed that, getting to know them and what not. It was good, I had fun with it."
Bedard is saying all the right things as he prepares to be the first player off the board later this month. He doesn't want to get ahead of himself and is trying to enjoy the moment, but it's no secret his NHL home will eventually be Chicago.
"It'd be awesome," Bedard said. "The history with that organization and that city with sports would be unbelievable. We'll see what happens. If they do select me, that would be a huge honor."
The Blackhawks interviewed between 65-75 players, with each one lasting a maximum of 20 minutes. GM Kyle Davidson said it's been a "really busy" week.
"Normally, we’ll do interviews Monday through Friday, but this year we actually only did Monday through Thursday, so we’ve really condensed everything," Davidson said. "All the interviews have been fun. The players have been interesting and keep you engaged sometimes. Over and over and over again, it can get a little monotonous with the interviews, but they’ve been good this year.
"We've held some meetings in the evenings too, which have been really, really productive. Really happy with the information that we’ve gotten, but also really happy with some of the steps we’ve taken internally with some of our lists and stuff."
The Blackhawks aren't putting too much weight into the interviews, but it does help them put a bow on the process.
"You try not to put too much stock into one thing," Davidson said. "It’s like going to see one game and a player has a really good game. You don’t necessarily want to move them, fly up the board or anything like that. It’s all information. For the most part, I think we have a lot of that information already. But getting eyes on the players, getting to know them a little bit as people. But I don’t know how much it changes.
"It just rounds your understanding out. Having said that, maybe something comes up that you did not know. Before we have the physical testing and all that, you don’t want to say it’s not going to change things a ton because you don’t know until you have that information. But traditionally, it just gives you that final piece to the puzzle. But there’s so much information that we already have that you don’t want the one event at the end of the year change things drastically."