Born: December 9, 1996
Hometown: Shelby Township, MI, USA
Team: Youngstown (USHL)
CSS Rank: 13th among North American skaters
The USHL’s 2014-15 leading scorer hopes to hear his name called early in the 2015 NHL Draft. Kyle Connor is NHL Central Scouting’s 13th-ranked North American skater, following a career season with the Youngstown Phantoms.
Last year, Connor was the lone non-NTDP skater on USA’s gold medal team at the U-18 World Championship. The left winger averaged a point per game, with four goals and three assists in seven games for the U.S.
He finished the 2013-14 USHL season with 31 goals and 43 assists, good for second in league scoring. An interesting note is that Tyler Vesel, sixth-round pick of the Oilers in 2014, finished three points behind Connor that season.
He took in up another notch this year, in his third season, taking over the top spot in USHL scoring. Connor recorded 34 goals and 46 assists for a career high 80 points. In four playoff games, Connor finished with three goals and one assist.
Scouts applaud Connor’s top-end speed and goal-scoring ability.
|Photo by Youngstown Phantoms. |
“In my years of scouting, he’s the most gifted puck handler I’ve seen at this level,” a scout told The Hockey News. That unnamed scout compared Connor to Los Angeles winger Marian Gaborik.
Speed seems to be the name of the game when it comes to describing Connor as a player.
"I like to use my speed to my advantage," Connor told NHL.com. "I think that's one of my assets. Use my speed, my playmaking to make the players around me better and just produce offensively and be held accountable in the defensive zone."
"The thing about Kyle is he's just as fast with the puck as he is without it," Youngstown General Manager and Coach Anthony Noreen said. "If you give him an inch, he's going to beat you. And once he beats you you're not going to catch him."
Connor is committed to playing at the University of Michigan, which is a long-time dream of the Michigan native.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
- NHL.com Staff Writer Mike Morreale writes: “The 6-1, 177-pound University of Michigan recruit led the United States Hockey League with 80 points, and his 34 goals were fourth, one behind the league leaders. His nine game-winning goals led the league and his 32 power-play points were tied for first. He’s shown great quickness in tight spaces and makes things happen with the puck on his stick.”
- A scout, per The Hockey News says: “Excellent speed.. jersey-flapping speed. Fast hands, first-shot goal scorer. Used to be an off-the-rush scorer, now he can wheel off checks down low.”
- TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button calls Connor a, “dynamic offensive player.”