As expected, Connor Bédard is off to a good start in the National Hockey League, but even before his draft, he had an idea of the kind of player he wanted to become.
Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman recalled in his column Wednesday that the 18-year-old said he was inspired by one player in particular, who is now a direct rival in the Central section.
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In an interview with former player Colby Armstrong, Bédard mentioned the name of Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov. Even though one plays center and the other plays on the wing, there are still similarities between their two styles.
“I watch a lot of hockey and try to break down guys’ play and learn from it. Someone I mentioned is (Kaprizov), he replied when asked about a player who inspired him. If I had to choose one, it would probably be him. But it’s difficult to choose just one.
Informed of this flattering comparison, the Wild’s Russian forward explained how Bédard’s style was similar to his own. For him, it’s above all their way of shooting the puck that makes the difference. Before his arrival in the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks’ first-round pick’s quick wrist shot already enjoyed an enviable reputation.
“The way he opens his hips on a breakaway and uses his hips when he throws,” Kaprizov explained briefly, according to Sportsnet.
Thus, the latter encouraged Bédard to “play his way” and not to stop at mistakes and turnovers. The British Columbian still has things to learn, having scored four points in seven games while maintaining a differential of -4.
As for Kaprizov, he unsurprisingly leads the Wild with nine points in six games this season.