Connor hopes to sign with Jets before training camp
Restricted free agent forward had NHL career-high 66 points last seasonby Scott Billeck / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
WINNIPEG -- Kyle Connor is hopeful of signing a new contract with the Winnipeg Jets prior to the opening of training camp in September.
"Yeah, that's definitely the plan," the 22-year-old restricted free agent forward said prior to the start of The Players Cup at Southwood Golf & Country Club on Wednesday. Connor will take part in the annual tournament on the PGA Tour Canada's Mackenzie Tour as a sponsor's exemption. Jets forward Mark Scheifele played in the event last year.
"The player never wants to miss time in training camp," Connor said. "It's tough not getting that preparation and time with teammates in practice.
"I don't think that's the goal. ... But things happen, so we'll see. I'll be prepared if it happens."
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Connor had an NHL career-high 66 points (34 goals, 32 assists) in 82 games last season, his third in the League, and had five points (three goals, two assists) in six Stanley Cup Playoff games for Winnipeg, which was eliminated by the eventual Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference First Round.
The No. 17 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Connor has 128 points (67 goals, 61 assists) in 178 games and 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 23 playoff games.
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Connor is one of two RFAs the Jets have yet to sign, with forward Patrik Laine. They are among a notable group of NHL RFAs, including forwards Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks, Mitchell Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames and defensemen Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins, Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers and Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"I have friends, other players who are going through the same situation," Connor said. "I don't think it's anything to press the panic button on. It's kind of how these things go. It's definitely different. Usually, you already know what's going on and you have plans, everything like that. But right now it's no different from a training aspect."
Winnipeg's first preseason game is at the Edmonton Oilers on Sept. 16. The Jets open the regular season at the New York Rangers on Oct. 3.