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Blackhawks place Bedard on IR with fractured jaw

Connor Bedard Chicago Blackhawks Connor Bedard - The Canadian Press

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks placed rookie center Connor Bedard on injured reserve on Saturday with a broken jaw.

Bedard got hurt when he was leveled by New Jersey defenseman Brendan Smith midway through the first period of Friday night’s 4-2 loss to the Devils.

Nick Foligno also went on IR with a fractured left finger, adding another name to Chicago's long list of injured forwards. In desperate need of reinforcements, the Blackhawks acquired forward Rem Pitlick from Pittsburgh for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft.

The 18-year-old Bedard has been Chicago's best player in his first NHL season, living up to the hype after he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft. Heading into Saturday's action, he was leading all NHL rookies with a team-high 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games.

Bedard was selected for the Feb. 3 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto, and the Blackhawks play in his hometown of Vancouver on Jan. 22. There was no immediate word on a timeline for the return of Bedard, who was hit after he carried the puck into the Blackhawks’ offensive zone.

Smith was not penalized on the play, but there was a series of skirmishes between the teams after Bedard departed. Foligno, who has served as one of Bedard's mentors in the veteran's first season in Chicago, left the game after he fought with Smith in the second.

The depleted Blackhawks have dropped five in a row and seven of eight overall. They are 6-19-2 in their last 27 games under second-year coach Luke Richardson.

Bedard and Foligno join a long list of injured players for last-place Chicago.

Fellow forwards Anthony Beauvillier (left wrist), Tyler Johnson (right foot), Taylor Raddysh (left groin strain), Joey Anderson (left shoulder) and Andreas Athanasiou (groin) are also out. Taylor Hall will miss the rest of the season after he had right knee surgery in November.

Seth Jones, the team’s best defenseman, is on IR with a shoulder injury. He hasn’t played since Dec. 10.

The 26-year-old Pitlick has 21 goals and 33 assists in 123 career NHL games with Nashville, Minnesota and Montreal. He was selected by the Predators in the third round of the 2016 draft.

Pitlick spent the first part of this season in the minors. He had eight goals and 16 assists in 32 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.