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2015 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #16 – Kyle Connor

Kyle Connor

Position: Center
Current Team: Youngstown Phantoms, USHL
Date of Birth: December 9, 1996
Place of Birth: Shelby Township, Michigan
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 185 lbs
Shoots: Left

Kyle Connor is a player with some decent play-making potential to go with speed and OK size from the center position. He’s heading to the University of Michigan in the fall where he will continue his development, though he reminds me a lot of a guy in the same position last year whom the Jackets (clearly) liked in Sonny Milano, also from the US Development program… and we know how that whole “college” thing went for him. Much like Milano, Connor has decent enough size, skates very well, and has incredible vision and stick handling as a play-making center. He’s not the most physical of players, which is something he’ll need to improve upon to make it in the NHL. He made strides at improving his two-way play, but he’s clearly not there yet on the defensive end.

Scouting Reports

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. – Elite Prospects, Future Considerations

Connor is deceptive and has that game-changing ability that makes him a coveted player for the Youngstown Phantoms. For a lanky 6’1″ forward, he still manages to generate a great deal of power in his legs and has some of the best agility I’ve seen of any prospect this year. Kyle is known for catching defensemen flat-footed and maneuvering through them like a knife through butter. His stick skills match his high octane speed, making Connor a deadly offensive player. He easily can pull defenders out of position before dishing to one of his open teammates for an odd-man rush. Considered more of a playmaker, Connor is equally adept at goal scoring by using his slick hands in tight.

The future Michigan Wolverine isn’t only an offensive-minded forward. He has committed this season to playing a better all-around game and learned what it takes to be two-way center. As the year progressed, Connor was used more and more on Youngstown’s penalty kill revamping it to become one of the best in the USHL. – Shawn Reznik, The Hockey Writers

Highly energetic USHL pivot with slick puck handling ability, Kyle Connor drives the offense for the Youngstown Phantoms. Connor was a standout for Team USA at the 2014 Under-18 Tournament as an underage forward producing at a point-per-game and he’s clipping along over that rate in his third season with Youngstown. Named USHL Player of the Week for the week ending January 25th, Connor’s four goals and five points in three games added to his impressive season point totals. Connor sits at 19 goals and 48 points through 38 games which ranks him second in USHL scoring. Committed to the University of Michigan next year, Kyle Connor has a bright future as a two-way forward who’s capable of becoming a top line player at the next level based on his superb skating skills, strong hockey sense and driven motor. – Brendan Ross, Dobber Sports

A Good Fit in Columbus?

Possibly. He reminds me so much of Milano, and clearly the brass here in Columbus think *he’s* a good fit. One thing Connor will need to do is to get bigger and to use his skating and vision on the defensive side to go along with it. There’s no denying his vision, stick work, and passing skills.

Connor in Action