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Pool Pro projections: Connor Bedard (far) ahead of all CH players
This year, many eyes will be on Chicago in the NHL, as the prodigious Connor Bedard makes his debut on the Bettman circuit. Touted as the best prospect since Connor McDavid, expectations are high for Bedard.

That’s often what happens when, at 17, you burn up the WHL and CMJ before being drafted first overall. He won’t get much help in Chicago, but he may be worth the price of admission alone.

On the other hand, what’s noticeable is that even though he won’t have much support in town, just about everyone expects to see him score a ton of points. Pool Pro magazine, for example, sees him scoring 38 goals and 85 points in his rookie season.

Obviously, he’s got the talent to pull it off, but for an 18-year-old, that would be a completely exceptional mark. In fact, since 2000, only Sidney Crosby (102 points) scored 85 points or more in his NHL rookie season when he was 18.

And what’s more, even though he’s never skated in the NHL, Bedard is far ahead of all Habs players in terms of projected points for next season, according to Pool Pro.

Nick Suzuki (73 points) and Cole Caufield (41 goals, 69 points) lead the CH, 12 and 16 points respectively behind the Blackhawks rookie’s projected production.

Obviously, Bedard’s potential is much higher than Suzuki’s and Caufield’s, and I’d obviously take the 18-year-old ahead of the other two if I were general manager of a team. That said, I wonder if it’s realistic to have such high expectations for Bedard this year considering the core around him.

Taylor Hall is all well and good, but Corey Perry and Nick Foligno aren’t going to help him offensively. Lukas Reichel might help him if he explodes this year, but otherwise, it’s very slim.

Bedard will almost certainly rack up more points than Juraj Slafkovský(Pool Pro sees him scoring 36, but sees a 60-point ceiling in an optimal world), but I don’t know if it’s realistic to expect him to score more than a point a game in his first year.

And if he makes me lie, I’ll be the first to apologize.

In bursts

– Very nice gesture.

– News of today’s signing in Boston.

– Good question.

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