A banner year for Kyle Connor will culminate at the 2015 NHL Draft.
The Youngstown Phantoms forward was named the United States Hockey League Player of the Year and Forward of the Year, and is projected to be a first round pick at the draft in Florida.
"Being named both player and forward of the year is a great honor," Connor told the Phantoms website. "It all goes back to my teammates and coaches this year always challenging and pushing me to be better. After the season we had two years ago we wanted to come back strong and they pushed me every day on the ice and in the weight room."
Connor led all skaters with 80 points in 56 games. The total also set a new single-season record for Youngstown, eclipsing his own record of 74 set a season ago. His 46 assists placed him second in the USHL, too, with 34 goals ranked Connor fourth league-wide.
He is the first Phantoms player to win the award.
"This is definitely the best junior league in all of North America and any team can win on any night," Connor told NHL.com. "This league is a tough league but it does an excellent job of developing players and getting them ready for the next level."
Connor is currently committed to the University of Michigan in the fall. The Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League holds his CHL rights.
Born: December 9, 1996
Hometown: Shelby Township, MI, USA
Team: Youngstown (USHL)
CSS Rank: 13th among North American skaters
FC Rank: 12th overall
ISS Rank: 13th overall
Douglas Luken of Future Considerations: “Such a smart, confident player who makes ridiculous plays at such a high speed. His speed creates great offensive chances and wreaks havoc on the forecheck. Everything he does is with a purpose, which is the reason he is so effective. The kid is an emerging star who is a genuine game breaker.”
Dennis MacInnis of International Scouting Service: “Natural goal-scorer with tremendous shot. Can beat the opposing goalie from all over the ice thanks to a lethal shot and a quick release.”
Greg Rajanen of Central Scouting: "He's a solid two-way player and plays hard in both zones. Nice stride and quickness and good in tight with the puck. Saw him against the [United States National Team Development Program] U-18 team and elevated his game against them and wants the puck. And when he gets it he makes things happen."
As a lead-in to the 2015 NHL Draft, CalgaryFlames.com will outline potential targets for the Calgary Flames with the 15th overall pick in the first round on draft day on June 26th.