February 26, 2024

Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard (jaw) could return next week

The Chicago Blackhawks hope star rookie Connor Bedard can return to game action next week after missing six weeks with a fractured jaw.

Bedard, the No. 1 pick of the 2023 NHL draft, suffered the injury Jan. 5 when on the receiving end of a big hit from New Jersey Devils defenseman Brendan Smith.

The 18-year-old underwent surgery and returned to the ice just seven days later. Reports at the time said he would miss six to eight weeks of the season before being ready to return.

“We’re hoping after that six-week mark [after surgery], so that will be a week from today, I guess,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson told reporters Monday.

Richardson said Bedard was told he did not need to have imaging done on his jaw this week because “everything was on pace and looks to be on the same timeline that they thought.”

Despite Bedard missing over a month with the injury, his 33 points and 15 goals still lead all rookies this season.

Information from Field Level Media was used in this report.