Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard has become the youngest All-Star in NHL history

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard became the youngest player in NHL history to be selected for the All-Star Game on Thursday. Bedard, who is currently 18 years and 171 days old, would surpass Buffalo Sabers forward Jeff Skinner, who previously held that record.

The 2024 All-Star Game will be held on February 3, when Bedard will turn 18 years, 203 days old. Skinner was 18 years and 259 days old during the 2011 All-Star Game.

The Blackhawks selected Bedard with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and he did not disappoint.

Entering Thursday, the center had scored 15 goals and assisted 18 in 37 games played. He leads Chicago in both categories as well as all rookies in the NHL. Bedard was also named Rookie of the Month in both November and December.

The Blackhawks are 11-24-2 and are in eighth place in the Central Division.

Why was Bedard chosen?

You could be cynical and say the league only wants the biggest names in the game for marketing purposes, and thus wants Bedard — the league's most promising and exciting rookie — front and center in a marquee event. You can be a harsh realist and say there are simply no other viable options on a Blackhawks team that is languishing at the bottom of the standings and riddled with injuries.

But the truth is, Bedard deserves to be in the All-Star Game. It's hard to overstate how much he loved it. Not only has he scored 15 goals and 18 assists in 37 games as an 18-year-old, he's doing so with very little help, on a roster full of bottom-six players and AHL/NHL players. Bedard's teammates this season were deep forwards like Nick Foligno, Filip Kurashev, Ryan Donato, and Anthony Beauvillier, not typically very talented players. Yet he continues to produce.

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And it's not just the numbers, it's the incredible way he often spreads them out — whether it's picking up Nikita Kucherov's pocket and launching a 2-on-1, or stealing the puck along the goal line against Florida and covering a no-look cap. , a short flick from the side, or simply shot after shot by goalkeepers through the patented push-pull feature. Bedard has somehow lived up to the ridiculous hype surrounding him, and he's not even 18 and a half years old yet.

This kid belongs in the All-Star Game, and will undoubtedly be a starter there for years to come. — Mark Lazerus, NHL senior writer

Why this matters to the NHL

No player in NHL history has entered the league with as much hype as Bedard. Social media wasn't what it is today when the likes of Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby came onto the scene. The entire hockey world knew about Bedard long before he arrived in the league.

Since his arrival, he has done nothing to quell the commotion. He has attracted a large number of hockey followers and non-hockey fans to watch his matches. It's been talked about in places that don't usually talk about hockey. As it gets bigger and bigger, it will continue to benefit the NHL.

For the league to have him in the All-Star Game — and justifiably be in it — will only continue to build that platform. —Scott Powers, Blackhawks senior writer

Required reading

(Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/NHLI via Getty Images)

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