Chicago Blackhawks Scout of 14-Years Gets Honest About Connor Bedard

May 16, 2023  (2:25 PM)

Scott Powers of The Athletic recently interviewed Mike Doneghey (Chicago Blackhawks scout) and asked some hard-hitting questions on the upcoming NHL draft, which has been deemed to be 'organizationally changing' by many with Connor Bedard on the table.

Here is the Q/A, via Scott Powers:
Let's start off with Bedard regardless. What makes him so elite in your eyes?

His hockey IQ, his shot, his competitiveness, his leadership level. He checks every box that you could want organizationally to get us going in the right direction.
I tried to watch a lot of video of all the top players leading up to the lottery to get a better idea of their game. The obvious thing that stood out about Bedard was his shot and just how he can get it off in so many different ways. How unique is that ability in scouting amateur players? What goes into that?

But I think for Connor, he's been working on that craft, like I think we've all seen YouTube videos where he's out in his backyard in Vancouver shooting pucks at different angles, different ranges. So, I think he's worked on his shooting craft for a lot of years now, even since he was a really young kid. But you are right, he can score in a variety of ways. He can drag and pull it under pressure and shoot it through the defenseman's legs. He can use his body to protect the puck coming down the wing and snap it in stride. He can split the D and the puck ends up on his backhand and then his forehand. He just has really good release points, really good accuracy, really good quickness.
Question: Do you envision him as a center or a wing in the NHL or is there even an answer at this point?

Well, I think right now, all we've ever known him is as a center. So until he proves that he's not a center, I think he's gonna be a center. He just had 71 goals, but he had 70-some assists, too. He doesn't carry the puck a lot. He's good at give-and-go and moving pucks and getting to open areas. So he can make a lot of good plays. So I think right now he is a center and he'll have every opportunity to prove otherwise.
Question: With his size, is there any concern about his ability to play defensively as a center? He obviously didn't spend a lot of time in the defensive zone in junior and seemed responsible enough. Where do you think he is defensively?

I think his attention to detail because of his hockey IQ is high end. He is 5-10, but he's got a thickness about him. He's 185-190 right now and he's really strong. He doesn't get bounced off pucks. But just as good as he is offensively reading plays, he's just as good defensively. And I think what happens with a lot of those guys that are sub-6-foot is they have to learn how to create body position and stick position and use sticks. And maybe they're not cross-checking guys to knock them off pucks, but they have their own way of defending that's effective. It's almost like Duncan Keith was in a way. He knew how to defend with his stick and body position and chip pucks the other way to jump-start the offense. And so a lot of guys that aren't big, brawny, bruising players, that's how they defend.
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Chicago Blackhawks Scout of 14-Years Gets Honest About Connor Bedard

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