CHICAGO — Thanks to him, it was one of the most anticipated Blackhawks’ games in a number of years, with high ticket demand to see the prospect in action against the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
While the hosts as a whole didn’t have the night they wanted on Saturday against the Golden Knights, Connor Bedard didn’t disappoint.
Just 1:30 into his first game at the United Center, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft got the first home goal as he fired his first shot of the night past Adin Hill. It got the 19,867 fans fired up as they got their first regular season glimpse of Bedard in a 5-3 loss to Vegas.
It’s the second goal of the center’s career, with his first coming against the Bruins in his second overall game back on October 11.
So how did Bedard’s first game at home in Chicago compare to other highly-touted Blackhawks rookies?
Patrick Kane – October 6, 2007
The only other No. 1 pick in Blackhawks’ history made his debut against the team that would go on to win the Stanley Cup title that year.
Detroit was the first home opponent for Patrick Kane on October 6, 2007 as 18,768 fans, with a heavy amount rooting for the Red Wings, witnessed the beginning of a storied career for the center.
Kane would get his first point that evening, assisting on the first goal of the year for another player whom many had high hopes for with the Blackhawks, Tuomo Ruutu. He had the secondary assist on the score and then scored the only goal in a shootout to get the Blackhawks a 4-3 win.
It was a rare setback for Detroit, who went 54-21-7 en route to the franchise’s 11th and most recent Stanley Cup.
Jonathan Toews – October 10, 2007
Four days late, with Kane on the ice, Jonathan Toews made his NHL debut at the United Center on October 10, 2007 against the Sharks.
Just 6:17 into his first game, the future captain scored his first NHL goal with his rookie teammate providing the secondary assist in front of a light crowd 10,122 fans.
The Blackhawks would go on to lose that game to the Sharks 2-1.
Jeremy Roenick – October 10, 1988
The eighth overall pick of the 1988 NHL Draft had a quiet debut in his first game at home against the Rangers on October 6, 1988.
Jeremy Roenick didn’t even get a shot on goal in limited time on the ice in a 2-2 tie with New York at Chicago Stadium. He would play in 20 regular season games that season with nine goals and nine assists while also taking part in ten playoff games.
Denis Savard – October 9, 1980
The third overall pick of that year’s NHL Draft has himself a strong home and NHL debut against the Sabres at Chicago Stadium.
Denis Savard had three assists on the night – two primary and one secondary – in a 4-3 win over Buffalo. He would finish with 47 assists along with 28 goals in that first season.
It was the start of the center’s Hockey Hall of Fame career in which he played in 881 games for the Blackhawks in two stints with the team.
Eddie Olczyk – October 11, 1984
It was a special night for a native of Chicago and the third overall pick of the 1984 NHL Draft on October 11, 1984 as he suited up for the Blackhawks against the Red Wings.
In his first home game at Chicago Stadium, Eddie Olczyk had a third period goal in the 7-3 victory over Detroit.
Olczyk would finish with 20 goals and 30 assists in 70 games his first of three seasons in his first stint with the Blackhawks. After five stops in the NHL, he would return to the team to finish his 16-year career with two more campaigns with the Blackhawks in 1998-1999 and 1999-2000.
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