For the first time in his NHL career, Connor Bedard will go up against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. 

While he viewed it as a team matchup overall, he still tried to take in the opportunity as he would go up against a player he grew up watching. However, he also knows the composure he must have in the moment. 

“It's special for us going against guys like this and I think you can't take it for granted, but you can't go out there and be starstruck when he's coming down on you,” Bedard said. 

In his first season, the 2023 first-overall pick went up against other former first selections like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Auston Matthews and now adds McDavid to the list all within the first half of the season. Both forwards lead their teams in points as they enter the late-night matchup.

Like most young hockey players, Bedard idolized McDavid with the way he played with Leon Draisaitl and his speed but also the excitement he brought to every shift. 

“I wish I could implement it, but I don’t think I can move that fast or anything,” Bedard said. “He's the best player in the world and he’s so fun to watch and just the stuff he does every shift, it’s crazy. He’s someone I love to watch in those games with him and Leon.” 

The two Canadian forwards met each other over the summer at the 2023 BioSteel NHL camp where Bedard worked out with McDavid and some other Oilers players. There Bedard learned how McDavid trained for the NHL but also asked him questions about life as an NHL player. 

After he watched some of Bedard’s games throughout the year, McDavid became impressed with the skills he presented early on with his puck movement, but the one thing that stuck out to him was Bedard’s shot. 

“His shot is what really jumps out,” McDavid told EdmontonOilers.com. “I was just impressed with how smart he is, how skilled he is and how good he is with the puck. Any time you’re a player of his stature, you’re going to have a lot of different skills and he’s got all the tools in the toolbox.”

Bedard speaks on facing Connor McDavid

Although this isn’t Bedard’s first matchup against one of the league’s best players, head coach Luke Richardson hopes this can add a bit of a jump to the rookie’s game as he looks to extend his road game point streak. 

With the game on ESPN and some high media attention overall, the second-year head coach is still impressed with the way that both Bedard and McDavid handled the attention they received throughout their careers. 

“They're great athletes and I think they handle it very well,” Richardson said. “Crosby has kind of been that poster boy for it and [then] McDavid and now our Connor is doing the same thing. So, they're well prepared for it and they've handled it really well.”