Regina’s Bedard, Oshawa’s Ritchie earn praise on ‘players to watch’ list from NHL Central Scouting

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Published October 26, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Oakville native and Oshawa Generals forward Callum Ritchie is one of only three OHL players to receive an 'A' rating on the NHL Central Scouting's October 'Players to Watch' List for the 2023 NHL draft. TERRY WILSON/OHL IMAGES

Connor Bedard, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, tops the list of players who earned an ‘A’ rating on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary players to watch list released Tuesday.

The list, presented by BioSteel, is a compilation of draft-eligible prospects from all the major development leagues throughout North America and Europe. It will be updated throughout the season as scouts evaluate players.

Calum Ritchie, Oshawa Generals’ super sophomore also cracked the list, one of just three OHL players with an ‘A’ rating, which signifies the player has the potential to be taken in the first round of the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.

Ritchie, a 6’2” centre from Oakville, picked up 45 points in his rookie season last year and added seven playoff points in six games. He is averaging a point a game this season after nine games.

Bedard (5-foot-10, 183 pounds), a 17-year-old right-shot center, has 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists), seven power-play points (two goals), four game-winning goals and a 56.7 face-off winning percentage (131-for-231) in 12 games for Regina of the Western Hockey League this season.

Elite puck handling and shooting skills and a high hockey IQ reminiscent of Steve Yzerman makes Bedard hard to stop, scouts say. Bedard could become the second player from Regina selected No. 1 in the NHL draft and the first since Doug Wickenheiser (Hailey’s brother) in 1980.

Bedard had 51 goals and 100 points in 62 games as a 16-year-old with Regina in 2021-22. He also had eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games to help Canada win a gold medal at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Other players considered likely to be selected in the top half of the first round are forwards Adam Fantilli of the University of Michigan; Matvei Michkov of SKA St. Petersburg of Russia’s KHL; Brayden Yager of Moose Jaw (WHL); and Dalibor Dvorsky of AIK in Sweden’s second division.

[PDF: NHL Central Scouting 2022-23 preliminary players to watch list]

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