If you haven’t heard the name Connor Bedard yet, get ready, because you’re going to be hearing it a lot over the next decade and beyond.
The 16-year-old North Vancouver native — who grew up a lifelong Canucks fan and says he still is one to this day — has burst onto the scene with the Regina Pats of the WHL after being granted exceptional status at 15.
Bedard has 44 goals and 41 assists through 54 games this season, and joined Donnie and Dhali – The Team for an interview on Monday, where he touched on a number of topics.
Bedard had some very good things to say about newly signed Canucks prospect Arshdeep Bains, who plays for the Red Deer Rebels.
“Yeah, I’m a big Canucks fan, so playing against him, it was good to see them sign him,” said Bedard. “I mean, just how smart he is. Him and King have been probably the most dynamic duo in the league this year and just playing against them is so tough. I mean, just the way they’re able to create plays, you know, Bains is one of the best passers in the league.
“Just watching his highlights and seeing how well he sees the ice is incredible, and he’s got almost 40 goals. The year he’s having is just insane.”
The 21-year-old Bains has 36 goals and 61 assists through 62 games played with the Red Deer Rebels this season, and was signed to a contract by the Canucks last month.
“He didn’t get drafted in the WHL or at the NHL draft but you could see the commitment he was making off the ice with training and working out in the gym,” said Brent Sutter, Bains’ former coach and current GM in Red Deer. “Him leading the WHL in scoring this year isn’t a fluke. Every year he’s gotten better and better and better. I’ve just always had a lot of confidence in him because of the person he is.
“He does everything with such a high level of intelligence and he sees the ice so well,” Sutter said. “He can make plays that other players have a hard time making. He’s got that vision and that sense of the game. Some of his hockey intelligence is impossible to teach — it just comes naturally to him.”
It’s very possible that Red Deer goes on a deep playoff run, but once their season is over, look for Bains to join the Abbotsford Canucks and look to make a solid impression at training camp next season.