Chicago and forward Connor Bedard have agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract for the No. 1 overall draft pick.
The NHL team said Monday the deal through the 2025-26 season, announced on Bedard’s 18th birthday, will mean a $950,000 US annual salary cap hit, the maximum allowed.
“Signing Connor is a huge step in building a new foundation for our organization,” general manager Kyle Davidson said. “We’re excited to see him grow and play a large role in pushing our team forward for many years to come.”
Bedard became the second No. 1 pick in franchise history, joining Patrick Kane, who went first overall in 2007 and helped form the core of a team that won three Stanley Cups from 2010 to 2015. Kane’s tenure in Chicago ended in February when he was traded to the New York Rangers.
The five-foot-nine, 185-pound Bedard spent the past three seasons with the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats and on the international stage.
The native of North Vancouver, B.C., was the WHL’s first player — and seventh in Canadian Hockey League history — to be granted exceptional status, allowing Bedard to play in the major junior ranks at 15. In 2021-22, he became the youngest WHL player to score 50 goals, finishing with 51 in 62 games. Last season, his 143 points (71 goals, 72 assists in 57 games) were the most in the league since 1995-96.
Internationally, his 36 points on 17 goals and 19 assists in 16 world junior championship games rank fourth on the tournament list behind Peter Forsberg (42 points in 14 games), Robert Reichel (40 in 21) and Pavel Bure (39 in 21).
“Being drafted by an Original Six team has been such a surreal experience and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this team’s future,” Bedard said. “The organization and the city of Chicago have such a rich sports history and I’m honoured to be a part of it.”
WATCH | Chicago picks Bedard 1st overall at 2023 NHL draft :