CHICAGO -- Connor Bedard was asked if his first NHL season had gone by quickly or seemed long.

“I think both,” the Chicago Blackhawks center told on Saturday. “I mean, whenever you look back on something it’s going to feel like it went fast just because it’s done. Not that it’s done yet, a couple of games left, but it was a frustrating year. I think anyone would say that with how we did.

“So, there are some nights you’re lying (awake) thinking about it and it makes it a little longer. But overall, it’s still pretty special to be here and everything.”

Though the Blackhawks (23-52-5) have had a tough season, set to finish last in the Central Division and second-to-last in the Western Conference, it has been a special one for Bedard.

The No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft leads the Blackhawks and NHL rookies with 60 points (22 goals, 38 assists) in 66 games despite missing about six weeks with a fractured jaw he sustained against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 5.

He’s the seventh rookie in Blackhawks history with at least 60 points in a season, joining Steve Larmer (90 in 1982-83), Artemi Panarin (77 in 2015-16), Denis Savard (75 in 1980-81), Patrick Kane (72 in 2007-08), Jeremy Roenick (66 in 1989-90) and Darryl Sutter (62 in 1980-81).

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Even before he played an NHL game, he was considered the favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the League’s top rookie, and that expectation remains as the season comes to a close.

He has two games remaining as a rookie, starting when the Blackhawks play the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; HULU, ESPN+, SN360, TVAS).

It’s been a crazy season for Bedard, who entered it the most highly touted pick since Connor McDavid was selected No. 1 by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2015 NHL Draft. It wasn’t just about hockey for the 18-year-old; there were the massive expectations that were placed on him even prior to the draft. There was the media attention, especially playing in Chicago.

“I think he handles it all really well,” Blackhawks forward Jason Dickinson said. “He knows the situation and the position he’s in. It doesn’t seem to bother him, any of the talk, any outside noise. It doesn’t seem to get in his head.

“Maybe he’s just really good at hiding it from us. No, but he seems to be very level-headed about it all. He just wants to play hockey, and that’s really all it comes down to. He doesn’t care about everybody’s opinions and what they’re saying about him. As long as he’s playing hockey, he’s happy.”

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Bedard’s happy place is certainly at the rink, where he usually stays on the ice 20-30 minutes after practice ends. His focus is one of his biggest assets, along with a wicked wrist shot and tremendous passing ability. Still, every player always looks to get better and from the start of the season to now, Bedard said he’s improved most with his decision-making.

“I think (when) I started the year, you’re not used to maybe where people are going to be and stuff, but now I feel pretty comfortable with that,” he said. “There’ve been some games when I feel I’ve been holding onto the puck a lot and made a good amount of plays and stuff like that.”

Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson agreed with that assessment.

“He was always confident, but I think his confidence (improved in) maybe being able to settle down a little bit compared to forcing things as much,” he said.

“That’s always a tough thing when you first come into the League. You want to make thing happen all the time, but you have to realize you have to pick your choices. There are times when you may just have to dump it in. There are times when you have to dish it to someone compared to trying to beat them 1-on-1.”

Bedard’s biggest adjustment probably came off the ice. He said he’s gotten to know Chicago on walks -- “it’s something I do a lot, just stroll around and see what’s there,” -- and has adapted well to living on his own for the first time.

“I mean, everyone’s been supportive and that helps a lot. It’s good for me to become a bit more of an adult and learn life skills outside of that,” he said. “My family’s been down a pretty decent amount but obviously first time being on my own. It’s been an adjustment, but I think I’ve done pretty good and gotten better in that aspect of it.”

How about his cooking?

“I’m getting alright,” he said with a laugh. “I make the same four or five things every day, but we’re not cooking for ourselves too much. I feel we have a lot of food when we’re on the road or whatever. When we are at home, you’re always making your own dinner and I’ve been figuring that out.”

Bedard will head back to his hometown of North Vancouver at the end of the season. He’s looking forward to a calmer summer, which he didn’t have last year before and after the draft.

“I think this summer will be nice to not have all that stuff, as great as it was and as cool as it was,” he said. “It’ll be a nice change to maybe have a little more chill.”

There will also be more time to work on his game. Bedard should be happy with how his rookie season went. He has lived up to the expectations and he’s handled the pressure of being the Blackhawks’ next face of the franchise well. But the work is just beginning, and Bedard is ready to take the next step.

“I go home and list some things I want to get better at,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. You also see your friends and family but from a hockey standpoint, I’ll have what I need to get better at on and off the ice. I’m excited to try and improve on that.”