ANALYSIS: What makes a ‘generational’ hockey star?

One of the most anticipated evenings in the NHL in recent memory takes place Monday in Secaucus, N.J.: the 2023 draft lottery to determine which team will select Connor Bedard with the #1 overall pick on June 28 in Nashville.

But first, I have a question about one accolade in particular that has been bestowed upon the star of Monday night’s show.

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The term “generational player” has been used a lot to describe Connor Bedard. And there is no doubt the Regina Pats Captain deserves that kind of beyond 5-star rating for all that he has accomplished in the Western Hockey League and on the World Junior Tournament stage.

One-hundred-and-thirty-four goals in 134 WHL Games. A staggering 271 points in two-plus seasons. Then 10 more goals and 20 points in just seven playoff games — for a mediocre team at best.

Then there are 13 goals and 31 points in helping Team Canada win back-to-back World Junior gold.

But don’t Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Sidney Crosby, and Alex Ovechkin fit into that “generational talent” category as well?

One could make a case that three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane also deserves to be on that list from the past two decades.

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Perhaps we could use “ultra special,” “franchise-altering,” “elite,” “can’t miss,” or even “uncommon” as a more accurate description of the North Vancouver wunderkind — who, by the way, doesn’t even turn 18 until a week after the night one of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, or Montreal Canadiens are likely rewarded for their “tankful” efforts to position themselves accordingly in the Bedard Bowl sweepstakes.

A generation is described as a 15 to 20 year period. Connor Bedard is the sixth player of that time frame to be anointed as “generational”

In the true spirit of the phrase, that would seem to be five too many.

Unless of course, as an NHL fan, you believe there can never be enough players of that ilk.

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