2023 Draft: Bedard under scrutiny at NHL judging session


« The NHL Judging Session is a rite of passage on a player’s path to the NHL, and it’s an event that teams and prospects look forward to attending, » said the vice-president. of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr.

READ ALSO : Draft 2023: The order of the first 30 picks is established

The judging session, which will take place June 4-10, allows the 32 teams to evaluate the top physical and medical prospects for the 2023 draft, June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

“The evaluation session is the last showcase for prospects before the draft, and it is a week of interviews and medical and physical examinations during which players can interact with members of the NHL staff. and teams, added Marr. It allows them to learn more about the future stars of our sport. »

There will be 65 forwards, 34 defensemen and seven goaltenders at the judging session. They are all on Central Bureau’s final lists of North American and European skaters and goaltenders.

« One of the exciting technological changes this year is the development of a player app, » said Central Bureau Director David Gregory. “In the past, players would come and meet us, they will again, and we’ll make sure everything goes well for them. Thanks to the application, they will know as soon as they arrive their precise schedule and the place where they will sleep. Their profile will be updated daily.

“There are a hundred young people running around to get to a physical or medical examination and there is always someone who is not in the right place at the right time. The app will allow us to contact the players, and they will also know where they need to be. It’s great to see technology allowing us to improve the flow and experience for players. »

Teams can schedule interviews with prospects at the KeyBank Center from June 5-9. Medical exams will be held on June 7, and seven of the eleven physical exams will be held at HarborCenter on June 10. No player will be able to take part in a physical test until he receives the all-clear from the doctors.

Bedard (5-foot-10, 185 pounds), a right-handed center for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL), is ranked No. 1 on Central Bureau’s final list of North American skaters and he’s expected to be selected with the No. 1 draft pick, which belongs to the Chicago Blackhawks. The latter won the repechage lottery on May 8. The Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets complete the top-3.

The 17-year-old led the WHL in goals (71), points (143), shots (360), point per game average (2.51) and goal average per game (1.24) in 57 regular season games. He also maintained a plus-39 rating, won 53.6 percent of his faceoffs and had 45 power play points. His 35-game point streak (44 goals, 46 assists) from Sept. 24 to Feb. 1 was the longest of the WHL season, tied with another player.

Bedard added 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in seven games when Regina lost to the Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the WHL playoffs. He was the first WHL player since 2012 to score 10 or more goals in a single series.

University of Michigan freshman center Adam Fantilli (6-2, 195) will also be in attendance. He won the Hobey-Baker Trophy as NCAA MVP as well as gold with Canada at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship (WJC) in January and the World Championship in May. The 18-year-old, second on the final list of North American skaters, led the NCAA with 65 points and tied for first with 30 goals in 36 games. He added 15 points (10 goals, five assists) in seven playoff games.

William Smith (6-0, 181), third among North American skaters, is one of 13 players from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP) Under-18 team invited at the assessment session. The list also includes goaltenders Trey Augustine (6-1, 183) and Carsen Musser (6-4, 215).

Smith, a right-hander, ranked second in the NTDP with 127 points (51 goals, 76 assists) in 60 games, including 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in 22 games against NCAA opponents. He was also named Best Forward and Most Valuable Player to his team at the 2023 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, when he led gold medal-winning USA with 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists). He thus equaled an American record at this tournament, established by Jack Hughes in 2019.

The 18-year-old signed with Boston College next season.

Leo Carlsson (6-3, 198), first on the final list of international skaters, is one of 23 international players to have been invited.

Carlsson has 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) and seven power play goals in 44 games with Örebro in the Swedish Elite League. The 18-year-old also had six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games with Sweden at the WJC and five points (three goals, two assists) in eight World Championship games.

Other international players include center Dalibor Dvorsky (6-1, 201; third on the final list), AIK in the Swedish second division, and left winger Eduard Sale (6-2, 174; fourth), from Brno in the Czech Republic.

Dvorsky could become the fourth Slovak player chosen in the first round of the draft in the last two years, after the striker Juraj Slafkovsky (first, Montreal Canadiens), defenseman Simon Nemec (second, New Jersey Devils) and forward Filip Mesar (26th, Canadiens) in 2022.

Carson Bjarnason (6-3, 186), first on the final list of North American goaltenders, should also be present. Bjarnason was 21-19-6 with a 3.08 goals-against average, .900 save percentage and three shutouts in 47 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. The Wheat Kings did not make the WHL playoffs.


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