When the ping pong balls bounced out of favor for the Detroit Red Wings in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, all hope for acquiring a generational talent was not necessarily lost. During this time last year, hockey scouts and analysts would speak the name of Russian superstars,
Matvei Michkov in the same breath as Bedard, so much so that there was an argument to be had in ranking him ahead of Bedard. Now, with the draft less than two months away, scouting reports have him ranked anywhere from 3rd-6th best prospect available. So did his game completely fall off? Not at all.
Sure, there have been slight knocks on his defensive game but not nearly enough to warrant falling out of the top two draft-eligible players. It was a combination of a.) Bedard took his game to a nuclear level and showed the world he could and will live up to the hype, but also b.) the political climate in Russia came to a boiling point.
It is believed that NHL general managers have a slight hesitancy to draft the 5-foot-10, 150-pound Russian due to his 3-year commitment to the KHL and potentially longer if he cannot leave his home country to play in North America.
Should the Red Wings be one of those hesitant organizations? Absolutely not. Admittedly, there is a bit of irony in me believing that. It’s a decision that the Red Wings certainly have to weigh out as the 2023 NHL Draft continues to inch closer and closer.