Connor Bedard

Leftover Blackhawks items from NHL Scouting Combine

The NHL Draft is less than three weeks away

NHL Top Prospect Fitness Testing
Connor Bedard stole the attention at the NHL Scouting Combine, but there were a few other Blackhawks items and notes to take away from Buffalo.

The NHL Scouting Combine was last week in Buffalo and all the attention was on Connor Bedard. Rightfully so, as he is arguably the most-hyped draft-eligible prospect since Connor McDavid.

Here are some leftover Blackhawks notes and items from the combine:

  • The Blackhawks interviewed between 65-75 prospects, and that number could've been a bit higher if an illness didn't lead to a few cancellations. For example, projected first-round pick Colby Barlow was scheduled to have an interview with the Blackhawks but his was canceled because he was sick.
  • Gabe Perreault — the son of Blackhawks development coach and former NHL player Yanic — interviewed with 23 teams, and the Blackhawks were the first team he met with. He said Patrick Kane and Trevor Zegras are two players he likes watching and tries modeling his game after. I'm not sure he'll be around at No. 19 overall, but he could be an option for the Blackhawks if he is available.
  • I asked Adam Fantilli, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA player this past season, what he thought of Blackhawks prospect Frank Nazar after playing together at Michigan. His response: "He's a great player. He had that surgery, that was tough, but when he came back, he was able to play the role that we needed him to play and he did absolutely amazing for us. I always said, if anyone's going to be able to come back and have an impact after a surgery like that, it's going to be him, and he was able to come back and be a huge part of our team through the playoffs and into the Frozen Four. I think he's going to be amazing at the next level."
  • Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson said he's not against drafting Russian players, but he did acknowledge the need to do a deeper dive on each player — "case by case" — because of the circumstances, whether it's contractual obligations or other external factors. 

    "You're always asking — even this predates any of the current situation in the world, is you're always trying to get a sense of their willingness to come and want to play in North America," Davidson said. "That's always a question you have, but on the face of it, as a general rule, I don't think there's apprehension. I think you just have to do a little more work, given the circumstances right now."
  • Davidson said he isn't "chasing another goalie" and is "comfortable" with Petr Mrazek and Arvid Soderblom going into next season. The Blackhawks reportedly checked in on Cal Petersen before Los Angeles traded him to Philadelphia, and it's because they likely would've gotten a future asset with him since the Kings were looking to unload his contract.
  • Davidson said "it's pretty quiet" on the restricted free-agent front regarding players like Caleb Jones and Philipp Kurashev, which isn't to say they're not planning on re-signing them. It's just where things are at in the calendar. The draft is the primary focus right now.
  • I loved this Bedard quote when he was asked by a reporter about the potential similar situation he might be walking in to of trying to turn the Regina Pats around and soon the Blackhawks: "I think it's pretty unfair for you to say about rosters and talking about players and what not. For me, going to Regina, I had a lot of good players with me and I don't think I was turning the franchise around. We were all trying to win games together and wherever I end up, if I'm playing in the NHL, it'll be the same thing. There's no difference between guys on teams, you're all in this together, so I don't think I would think it at all like that."

    On the ice, Bedard is a franchise-changing talent. Off the ice, he says all the right things and is the kind of leader you want to build around. He's absolutely future captain material.
  • And finally, the Blackhawks posted a 27-second video on their social media accounts on Sunday of some draft prospects during the fitness testing portion. The video opened and ended with Bedard. He's going to be the No. 1 overall pick, if you think there's any doubt.

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