Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones was watching the 2023 NHL Draft lottery from his couch in Dallas. When his team landed the No. 1 overall pick, Jones knew what that meant for the organization.
"Everyone was excited, for sure," Jones said. "There's obviously a lot of great players up there at the top of the draft that can play this year. But when we saw we had one, obviously that's got a different feeling to it. It's got a different touch to it. We're excited to have Connor here."
Jones got to know Bedard a little bit when the two of them went to Vegas together for the NHL Media Tour recently. They were Chicago's two representatives.
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Jones could already tell how much Bedard lives and breathes the sport.
"He loves the game of hockey," Jones said. "It's been his whole life and he's been working towards this moment for a long time now. You saw at the rookie camp the show he put on for them. He just wants to play the game. He probably wants to get over all the media, get to Pittsburgh and just play that first game."
Bedard is going to change life for the Blackhawks, and he will likely make a significant impact as early as his rookie season. He's that good.
Jones will try to help Bedard along the way as much as he can, although he's confident Bedard will adjust pretty quickly.
"He's going to be playing a lot of minutes for us, I imagine," Jones said. "He's going to be playing against the top pair, especially on the road — top-pair D, top lines when it comes to centermen, good centermen on faceoffs and defensively. I just told him to hang in there.
"He's obviously a special player. He's going to figure it out quickly himself. There's not a whole lot we can say. But mentally, just be smart about the way he plays and know we're always there for him. We've got his back just like we have everyone's back on the team."