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While things weren’t as bad as they were during the hooking-and-grabbing era of the 1990s, most hockey fans will welcome a bit more scoring in the game. If you’re part of that camp, then Connor Bedard can’t arrive on the NHL scene soon enough. Even if you want to put a major asterisk next to his numbers since he’s still playing junior hockey, the center knows a thing or two about finding the back of the net.

Don’t believe me? That’s certainly possible, given that most NHL fans aren’t following the Regina Pats on a nightly basis. In that case, let’s check out some video evidence from the WHL club’s February 11 game against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The North Vancouver native, as you might expect, lit it up.

Connor Bedard scored a hat trick in addition to dishing out two assists on Saturday night

Connor Bedard on the ice during the 2023 Kubota CHL Top Prospects Game
Connor Bedard continues to prove his NHL credentials in the WHL.

With the Super Bowl taking place on February 12, it would be reasonable if most sports fans had their mind on the gridiron. Earlier in the weekend, though, Connor Bedard put on a show in Western Canada.

For a bit of context, the center is an elite offensive force and seems like a sure-fire first overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. And when his club fell behind 2-0 in the first period, he was the logical player to answer the bell.

While you could be a bit critical of the defense — Moose Jaw’s forwards and defense give Bedard a nice pocket of space to allow Bedard to receive a progressive pass — the goal was typical of the center. He’s adept at moving laterally across the face of goal and pulling the puck back to the short side; when you have a goaltender moving side-to-side and place the puck as well as the North Vancouver native did, it’s probably finding the back of the net.

The goals kept piling up, and with Regina holding a 5-4 lead, Bedard was back at it.

After a neutral zone turnover, the Regina captain received the puck at the blue line. He drove toward the faceoff dot and toe-dragged around a defender. Instead of moving fully across the net and going near-side, however, he picked out the far corner for his second goal of the night.

Later in the third period, Bedard found the net again, albeit in different style. He danced through the neutral zone, fed a teammate on the wing, and kept driving toward the net. A centering pass bounced around and ultimately made it past the goalie, giving the center a less-than-aesthetic hat trick.

In case you feel like three goals aren’t enough to have a good night in the office, the presumptive first overall pick added two assists on the evening. That five-point haul brings him to 96 points (48 goals and 48 assists) through 39 games this season.

And, at the risk of trying to extrapolate a scouting report from three goal-scoring clips, it’s easy to see elements of what makes Connor Bedard such an exciting prospect. Beyond the fact that he has a lethal shot, he’s also able to take advantage of people knowing that he has a signature scoring method. His first goal was a textbook example of his preferred method, and the second used a similar move to set up a shot to the opposite corner. The third tally wasn’t flashy, but you know that coaches and scouts everywhere will love seeing the prospect get into the dirty areas to make something happen.

Didn’t feel like the clips did Bedard’s full performance justice? Don’t worry, there are bound to be plenty more hat tricks in the future.


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