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Connor Bedard Makes Team Canada's World Juniors Roster As A 16-Year-Old, So Your Favorite NHL Team Should Start Tanking Now

Tom Pennington. Getty Images.

On July 7th and 8th, 224 young hockey players will have their dreams come true as they hear their names being selected at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal. Connor Bedard will not be one of those 224 players. 

Why? Well because he'll still have to wait another year before he's eligible to be drafted. The 16-year-old won't even be turning 17 until a week after the draft. 

But when you start watching the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship next Sunday, there are 3 players you'll be needing to watch the entire tournament. Shane Wright, who will most likely be the top overall pick in this upcoming draft, and Connor Bedard for Team Canada. And then Matvei Michkov on Team Russia. We'll talk about him later in the week. 

He was the first player to ever be granted exceptional status as a 15-year-old to play in the WHL. Other superstars like John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid were all granted exceptional status to play as an underager in the OHL. Same with Shane Wright who had a casual 39 goals and 27 assists in 58 games as a 15-year-old in Kingston. But Bedard was the first to get it in the Western League. 

Unfortunately this whole global pandemic thing kind of shut down the entire world for a bit so Bedard didn't get a full season in the WHL for 2020-21. He spent some time playing in Sweden for the first part of the year and then came back and had 12 goals and 16 assists in just 15 games with the Regina Pats. Nottabigdeal. This year he seems to be "slowing down" a little with 24 points through 24 games. But then he comes out and makes Team Canada as a 16-year-old joining names like Crosby, McDavid, Lindros, Bouwmeester, Spezza and someone named Gretzky. Decent company to find yourself in. 

All I'm saying is that if your favorite NHL team is dog shit right now and it looks like you're staring a full rebuild right in the face, sucking for a few years to land Connor Bedard seems like a pretty fair price to pay. Looking at you, Flyers. 


P.S. - I'll be doing more in-depth World Juniors previews throughout the week. Thinking Group A preview on Wednesday, Group B preview on Friday, full tournament preview Monday of next week.