A top prospect ahead of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft and exceptional status grantee, Connor Bedard continues to shock the hockey world and sits third in league scoring after a four-point night in the WHL. The New York Rangers announced that they’ve signed defenseman Hunter Skinner to a standard three-year, entry-level contract. Vegas Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs and Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Wolf earned WHL Player of the Week and Goaltender of the Week honors for the week ending Mar. 28.
Connor Bedard Continues Exceptional Start
Bedard has lived up to the hype in his rookie WHL season and then some. The North Vancouver native became the first WHL player to be granted exceptional status, and he has proven that it was for a good reason. He has points in each of his first nine games and recorded a four-point effort in the Regina Pats’ 9-4 victory over Swift Current on Monday night. He immediately became the key piece of the Regina Pats’ offense on a team that missed the playoffs last season, and he’s done as a 15-year-old. He ranks third in league scoring with seven goals and ten assists in nine games played.
Fans will be spoiled over the next two years, with two players granted exceptional status vying for the top spot in the 2022 and 2023 NHL Entry Drafts. Shane Wright tore up the OHL as a 15-year-old last season with 39 goals and 27 assists for 66 points in 58 games played. Bedard is following in his footsteps as the likely first-overall selection in the 2023 Draft. However, it’s not a lock, as Russian phenom Matvei Michkov is making a compelling case to go first overall in 2023.
Bedard started the 2020-21 season on loan in Sweden with HV71 in the J20 Nationell, where he recorded two goals and two assists in four games played. During the 2019-20 season, he amassed 43 goals and 41 assists in only 36 games played for West Van Academy Prep in the CSSHL U18.
Rangers Sign Hunter Skinner
The Rangers announced that they’ve agreed to a standard three-year, entry-level contract for Hunter Skinner. Drafted 112th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season in the OHL with the London Knights, where he scored six goals and 26 assists in 62 games played. He ranked ninth in team scoring and third among defensemen, trailing San Jose Sharks prospect Ryan Merkley and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alec Regula. He began the season in the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies, where he recorded seven goals and ten assists in 26 games played, and he ranked third among ECHL defensemen in goals and tenth in shots on goal with 74.
Skinner will head to the AHL for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. His NHL entry-level deal will take effect at the beginning of the 2021-22 season. He also represented Team USA at the 2021 World Junior Championship, winning a gold medal and playing one of the team’s seven games. The Rangers have several good young defensemen either on their roster or in the pipeline., and Skinner is on that list.
Krebs & Wolf Earn WHL Weekly Awards
Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs and Flames prospect Dustin Wolf were named WHL Player of the Week and Goaltender of the Week, respectively, for the week ending Mar. 28. Krebs is off to an impressive start to his fourth and likely final WHL season with six goals and 11 assists in nine games played. Last week, he recorded three goals and eight assists in four games. He is tied for third in league scoring and first in both assists and points on the Winnipeg Ice. THW’s Ben Fisher listed Krebs as one of the Golden Knights’ untouchable prospects back in November, and it’s clear to see why.
Drafted 17th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Krebs spent the 2019-20 season in the WHL amassing 12 goals and 48 assists for 60 points in 38 games played. He missed a chunk of time due to an Achilles injury. He spent five games this season in the AHL with the Henderson Silver Knights where he recorded one goal and four assists. He represented Canada at the 2021 World Junior Championship, winning a silver medal and recording three goals and five assists in seven games played.
Wolf amassed two victories in two appearances as the Everett Silvertips won all three of their games of the week. He recorded three straight shutouts to begin the 2020-21 WHL season and ranks first in both goals-against average (0.25) and save percentage (.991). Drafted 214th overall by the Flames in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season with the Silvertips recording a 34-10-2 record with a 1.88 GAA and a .935 SV%. He represented Team USA at the 2021 World Junior Championship, winning a gold medal and recording a shutout victory in his only start of the tournament.
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