Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard still has a bad taste in his mouth following the NHL season. Bedard is not satisfied with how he and his team played during the 2023-24 campaign. Chicago missed the playoffs and had one of the worst seasons in recent memory, finishing with a 23-53-6 record.

“We obviously wish for more success as a group, but that's what we're trying to grow and become better every year,” Bedard said, per “I thought we took some steps to that along the year.”

Bedard made the remarks while playing for Canada at the 2024 IIHF World Championship. He, like most other NHL players and teams, are no longer in the running for this year's Stanley Cup. The Western Conference teams still in contention are the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars.

Bedard's rookie season for the Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (98) in action against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period at Arena.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks center came into his rookie season with high expectations. Bedard finished the campaign with 61 total points, including 22 goals. His plus-minus was abysmal, with a -44 mark. That is an area where the young center needs to see some improvement in the next few seasons. Chicago needs him to improve his production in order to make a run for the postseason. There's a lot of pressure on Bedard, as he is a no. 1 overall NHL Draft pick in the 2023 class.

“I don't think I was overly happy personally too. We're players. We're trying to win every game. We're not thinking about the process or anything like that. We're going out and trying to win every night. That's how we see it and that's our approach to every game,” Bedard added.

The good news for Bedard is that he is winning the respect of his peers. The center's teammates are singing his praises this offseason, despite Chicago's season struggles. Even though his offense wasn't always there, Bedard's leadership was always present.

“He's a special player,” Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones said of Bedard, per “I think what separates him maybe is his maturity. He's so passionate about the game and he loves the game so much. He wants to do well and you can see at times this year when the team wasn't doing well, he was getting frustrated. An 18-year-old coming in scoring 22 goals … he was really all the offense at times during games. His release is one of the best in the League already.”

The center will now skate for Team Canada as the NHL playoffs continue. The good news for the Blackhawks center is that he has his team in the semi-finals of the IIHF World Championship. Canada takes on Switzerland Saturday for a chance to go to Sunday's title game.

The Oilers lead the Stars 1-0, in the NHL Western Conference Final. Game 2 is on Saturday night. In the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers are tied 1 apiece. Bedard must wait until next season to get his chance to take the Blackhawks to the playoffs, but he is surely thinking about it already.