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The 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held at Sphere in Las Vegas from June 28-29. The first round will be on June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 will be June 29 (11:30 a.m. ET; ESPN+, NHLN, SN, SN1). is counting down to the draft with in-depth profiles on top prospects, podcasts and other features. Today, a profile on center Kamil Bednarik of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team.'s full draft coverage can be found here.

Kamil Bednarik was a busy athlete growing up in Elmhurst, Illinois.

In addition to improving his skills on the ice, Bednarik was a competitive swimmer with the Torpedo Swim Team.

"My mom (Miriam Bednarik) is the swim coach, so I swam for her team when I was little and played hockey at the same time," Bednarik said. "I was going back and forth between sports, but I was growing up at a good time in the Chicago area when the Blackhawks were winning all those Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015). It was amazing to watch. It was then I knew I wanted to be out there in the NHL one day, to have a chance to win a Stanley Cup.

"It's a dream of mine to be drafted and play in the NHL. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to play in the NHL, so it's definitely really cool going through this process."

Bednarik started playing hockey shortly after he began skating at the age of 3. Now 18, the center played two seasons with the Chicago Mission AAA team and one with the New Jersey Rockets Under-16 team before joining the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

Bednarik had 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) in 61 games with the NTDP Under-17 team in 2022-23 but made major strides with the Under-18 team this season, when he had 65 points (26 goals, 39 assists) in 61 games. He is No. 28 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.

Best of NHL Draft prospect Kamil Bednarik

"I like his progression," David Gregory of Central Scouting said. "I like how he's impacting the game more significantly all the time. The best players are always going to have some kind of impact, and you can't not see him when you watch that team. I've seen his game grow in the defensive end, too, and for a centerman, that's a good thing."

Bednarik (6-foot, 187 pounds) models his game after former Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, and that willingness to play a 200-foot game was not lost on NTDP U-18 coach Nick Fohr, who had no issues giving Bednarik ice time on the power play, penalty kill and even in overtime.

"I'm like the guy they put over the boards if the team needs a goal, but at the same time, they'll put me out there if we need to defend one," Bednarik said. "I'm really good down low, below the goal line, but feel once I get up there by the blue line, it's a little nerve-racking because you're one of the last guys back. ... So I've worked at that.

"I've been working on showcasing my skill a little bit more too, because sometimes I like to just make the safe play. I'm fine with making a mistake, but I try to make the least mistakes possible. So I think just working on that confidence is something I want to master in my play."

NTDP U-18 assistant coach Matt Gilroy said he sees plenty of potential in Bednarik, who is committed to play next season at Boston University, Gilroy's alma mater. The former defenseman won the Hobey Baker Award as the top men's player in NCAA ice hockey in 2009 before going on to play five seasons in the NHL (2009-13).

"He plays 200 feet, and at a young age being able to play both sides of the puck is important," Gilroy said. "He fills into different roles up and down the lineup. Whatever coach gets him is going to be really happy because he's also a great guy in the locker room."

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Boston University coach Jay Pandolfo agreed.

"He just does everything really well, probably a lot of things that go unnoticed," he said. "He's got some offense in his game, he's a 200-foot centerman and just does all the little things well. He plays a mature game for a young kid and his work ethic is off the charts, and I think whoever drafts him is going to get a very good player. For us, we can't wait to have him because the NTDP coaches have told us we're going to love coaching him because he wants to learn and is so low maintenance."

Although Bednarik will have to wait to see which team will select him in the 2024 draft, Central Scouting director Dan Marr said he may not have to wait too long.

"He's a solid two-way center that competes and produces with his skills and attributes and is one of those unique players who can excel with his skills and smarts and also excel equally in battle and physical situations," Marr said. "He's the type of player who can play harder when the going gets tough, and he might draw late first-round consideration, particularly with a team that has multiple first-round picks."

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