Today's profile is on Youngstown Phantom center, Kyle Connor from the USHL.
Kyle Connor, Center, 6'1", 183lbs, Shoots Left
|2013-2014||Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)||56||31||43||74||-15||12|
|2013-2014||US National Team U18 (USDP)||8||5||3||8||0|
The United States development programme has produced a lot of good players in the last couple of drafts. Kyle Connor is likely to join that list at near the very top.
He has become more of a complete and all round forward. Connor's defensive game has definitely improved in the past year. In the USHL he was used at even strength, penalty kill and powerplay. He had great versatility and could play in any situation.
He has top end hockey IQ something that has helped him become a noted playmaker in the USHL. He is also a very good skater with all round mobility and speed that makes him deadly in all areas of the ice.
Connor's speed and hockey intelligence has made him one of the top players in the USHL this year. His speed is deadly and can often leave defenseman flailing to catch up with him. Kyle Connor finished top of the USHL in points this year, with 80 points through 56 games. His closest competition had 71 points.
His main area that he needs to improve is his physical strength. He's not as big as he could be and in the future he will need to be bigger and stronger. When he joins the NCAA he'll have the time to work on that and to bulk up.
Kyle Connor is expected to fall just outside of the top ten in this draft but I wouldn't be surprised if someone took a flyer on him between the eighth and tenth picks in the draft. He's got the potential to be a top line centre, if everything works out, and that will be enough to make someone grab him early.
If he's still available when the Dallas Stars make their selection at 12th overall I wouldn't be shocked if this is the player that Jim Nill picks. Connor has the hockey sense that the Dallas Stars seem to have put a lot of emphasis on since Jim Nill became GM. He has a lot of offensive talent and he's working on completely the package with his defensive efforts.
Connor is committed to the University of Michigan and will likely play the next couple of years there where ever he is drafted.
What do they say on the internet:
A smart two-way forward who sets up his linemates with well-timed passes...is mature and intelligent with the puck, and does not rush a play no matter the pressure he is under...has impressive hands and vision, but it is the creativity and hockey sense that make him most dangerous...sees lanes opening and hits his targets consistently...also has a decent one-timer, but is definitely a pass-first guy... plays well away from the puck, constantly moving in order to get open...not overly physical...comes back deep into his own zone to make himself available...needs to add considerable strength, but the potential is there.
Was part of Team USA's gold medal winning squad at the U18 World Championships last spring, putting up four goals and seven points in seven games last season. Connor is back with the Phantoms in the USHL this season and has had an excellent start with 18 goals and 44 points in 36 games. He is committed to the University of Michigan for the 2015-16 season. Connor is a very good skater, with excellent speed. He has extremely good stickhandling ability, and can make plays while moving at close to top speed. He is extremely agile, and uses this and his stickhandling ability to terrify defenders off the rush. Connor is an excellent playmaker who has the vision to spot the open man, and the skill to make passes through tight areas. He also is developing a good two-way game. While he's not afraid to give, or take a hit, he must get stronger to be more effective at it, and to be better at protecting the puck down low.