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Blackhawks' Bullets: The Kid Has Returned and a Way To Early Prospect Watch.

Here we go again with another round of Blackhawks' Bullets! It's been a depressing past couple of weeks, much less a season for the Hawks. As of Thursday evening, the Hawks have dropped their last eight games, being outscored 25-9. But don't let the negative vibes fester! Connor Bedard has returned to the ice Thursday after missing a little over a month with a broken jaw. Also, since it's tracking that the Hawks will finish at the bottom of the standings, why not take a look at the top prospect for next year's draft?

Bedsy is Back

After what seemed like an eternity, the rookie phenom has returned to the Hawks lineup. Bedard suffered a hit to the face on January 5th against the New Jersey Devils that caused him to be placed on the IR with a broken jaw. A Bedard return wasn't expected to happen sometime next week, but it was reported by multiple sources that Bedard had two doctor appointments on Wednesday and was given the "ok" to play. In his return, Bedard secured the primary assist on Phillip Kurashev's goal against the Penguins, and oh, it was a beauty!

Despite missing 14 games, Bedard still leads rookies in points (34) and goals (15) and is second in assists with 19. To say that Bedard still isn't the favorite to win the Calder would be an extreme understatement; even in his first game back, Bedard recorded a point. I've said this before, but this kid is going to turn around the Blackhawks franchise.

Is it too early to look at next year's draft?

Well, the answer to that question is no (at least in my opinion). As it currently stands, the Hawks are in the 32nd potion (last, dead last) by four points, behind San Jose (35 points). So yeah, the early mock drafts among the Blackhawks nation have surfaced. There is one guy who has caught the attention of the NHL as a whole, and that skater is Macklin Celebrini. Celebrini is a 17-year-old forward born in Vancouver who currently plays for Boston University. The projected superstar already has a minor connection to Chicago as he played for the Chicago Steel (USHL) for the 2022-2023 season. During his time with the Steel, Celebrini recorded 86 points (46 goals, 40 assists) in 50 games with +27 plus/minus. This season for Boston University, the 17-year-old forward currently has 42 points (23 goals, 19 assists); not only is Celebrini playing for BU, but Celebrini participated in the WJC for Team Canada, where he recorded 8 points (4 goals, four assists). Celebrini is the most likely candidate to win the Hobey Baker (College Hockey MVP) as he is tied for third in points in the nation.

Per TDT Media, Jack Gaffney, "getting Celebrini is bigger than Caleb Williams," or even the equivalent to the Bulls "getting Michael Jordan." If the Hawks end up on top of the draft lottery once more, getting the Vancouver native is a must. Having him and Bedard on the same powerplay unit would be a dream come true. The Hawks play Saturday against Ottawa and then will travel to Phileadlpea to take on the Flyers before coming back home to take on the Hurricanes. I'd say Bedard will average 4 points in the next three games. The kid is ready to get back at it, and he won't be wasting time!

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