(Chicago) The first overall pick in the most recent NHL Draft, Connor Bedard, has signed his entry-level three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks said Monday the deal will end after the 2025-26 season and Bedard will take home an annual salary of $950,000, the maximum allowed. The contract was announced on Bedard’s 18th birthday.

“Signing Connor is a huge step in laying the groundwork for our organization,” Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said. We are excited to see him grow and play a big part in the progress of our team for years to come. »

Bedard became the second first overall pick in Blackhawks history, joining Patrick Kane, who first heard his name in the 2007 draft.

Kane helped form a core team that won three Stanley Cups from 2010 to 2015. The American’s stint in Chicago ended in February, when he was traded to the New York Rangers .

Standing five-foot-nine and weighing 185 pounds, Bedard has spent the past three seasons with the Regina Pats of the WHL.

A native of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Bedard was the first WHL player and the seventh player in Canadian Hockey League history to be awarded exceptional status.

In 2021-22, he became the youngest player in WHL history to score 50 goals in a single season. Last season, he had 71 goals and 143 points in 57 games, which was the league’s highest point tally since 1995-96.

Internationally, Bedard had 17 goals and 36 points in 16 games with Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship. He is fourth in scoring at the tournament behind Peter Forsberg (42 in 14 games), Robert Reichel (40 in 21) and Pavel Bure (39 in 21).

“Being drafted by one of the original six teams was a surreal experience and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the team’s future,” Bedard said. The Blackhawks organization and the city of Chicago have such a rich sporting history and I am honored to be a part of it. »