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Regina Pats phenom Connor Bedard remains top North American prospect for NHL Draft

NEW YORK — Canadian junior hockey phenom Connor Bedard remains the No. 1 North American prospect for the upcoming NHL Draft, according to the final rankings released Tuesday by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.

The Regina Pats star finished the Western Hockey League season with 71 goals and 72 assists for 143 points in 57 games to lead all Canadian Hockey League players in scoring. Bedard, from North Vancouver, B.C., can become the first WHL player selected first overall since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011.

Michigan freshman Adam Fantilli, a teammate of Bedard’s on Canada’s 2023 world junior hockey championship squad, is ranked second among North American skaters. Fantilli, of Nobleton, Ont., scored 30 goals and 35 assists in 36 games to lead the NCAA in scoring and claimed the Hobey Baker Award as the best collegiate hockey player in the United States.

Leo Carlsson, a centre for Orebro of the Swedish Hockey League, ranks No. 1 among international skaters.

Brandon Wheat Kings netminder Carson Bjarnason, of Carberry, Man., is the No. 1-ranked North American goaltender and Alexander Hellnemo, a Swedish national who plays for Skelleftea’s junior team, tops the list of international goaltenders.

The NHL Draft is scheduled from June 28-29 and will be hosted by the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2023.

The Canadian Press