Connor Bedard appears certain to win Calder Cup after Blackhawks center’s 3rd Rookie of the Month nod

CHICAGO — It didn’t take long for Connor Bedard to return to his old form — and exceed it.

In his first full month of play since returning from a broken jaw, the Chicago Blackhawks center posted four goals and 13 assists to earn NHL Rookie of the Month honors for March. His 17 points in 14 games topped his previous high month of 15 points in December.

It’s Bedard’s third Rookie of the Month award, which he also won in November and December. Here’s the breakdown by month:

— October: Lukas Dostal, Anaheim Ducks goaltender

— November: Bedard

— December: Bedard

— January: Brock Faber, Minnesota Wild defenseman

— February: Pyotr Kochetkov, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender

— March: Bedard

At this point, Bedard winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year appears to be a fait accompli.

He leads all rookies (minimum 10 games) with .95 points per game, totaling 57 points through his first 60 games. His 21 goals and 36 assists also are tops among rookies despite Bedard missing 14 games after breaking his jaw Jan. 5 against the New Jersey Devils and undergoing surgery.

After returning in mid-February, Bedard put up two goals and four assists in his first three games, then went on an eight-game goal drought that extended into March, though he still was producing assists.

Bedard went on a tear during a four-game homestand in mid-March.

He had two goals and an assist against the Arizona Coyotes on March 10. The next game, he had a goal and four assists against the Ducks — his first five-point game and only the fifth by an 18-year-old in NHL history.

He wrapped up the homestand with a goal and an assist against the San Jose Sharks on March 17.

Bedard turned up his game a notch in March, playing some wing and taking 54 shots on goals and averaging 21 minutes per game — both season highs for a month.

He continues to make his mark in the NHL and franchise record books.

— His 17 points and 13 assists in March represent the most points and assists in a month by a rookie since Florida Panthers center Anton Lundell had 17 and 14 in January 2022 (15 games).

— Bedard’s 13 assists set a Hawks rookie record for one month, besting Brandon Saad’s 12 in March 2013.

— Only two other Hawks rookies have compiled at least 17 points in a month: Steve Larmer in December 1982 (19) and March 1983 (17) and Jeremy Roenick in December 1989 (18).

— And Bedard joined Eddie Olczyk as the second 18-year-old Hawk to reach 20 goals. Olczyk had 20 goals and 30 assists in 70 games in 1984-85.