Two-way forward with a strong defensive stick and great awareness. Needs to work on his offensive toolbox but possesses a lethal one-timer and can play in all situations.
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July 2023 – Connors continued his ascent in 2022-23 by accruing 26 points through 32 games, earning him Hockey East All-Rookie Team honours. His defensive awareness and stick checking abilities are the marquee aspects to his game, but the last couple of seasons he has shown a vast improvement in his offensive ability. As a draft eligible he posted 25 goals and 56 points in 61 games with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL and maintained that level of production in his NCAA rookie season. Connors figures to be utilized more as a defensive pivot at the professional level, but his continued offensive production will become too much to ignore at one point. He is a prospect of interest to watch next season if he can improve his shot selection and accuracy. If he does this, he will become a sleeper pick in dynasty and keeper leagues with deep prospect pools to stash. Sean Crocker
December 2022 – Passed over in his first year of draft eligibility, Connors finally heard his name called when the Kings decided to take a chance on him in the fourth round of last summer’s NHL Draft. In his rookie season with the UMass Minutemen of the NCAA, Connors has put up 17 points through 16 appearances, enough to earn him a look on Team USA’s 22-man roster at the upcoming World Junior Championships.
It has not always been sunshine and roses for the centre, as he went undrafted in his first year of eligibility before the Kings took a chance on the centre in 2022 after he put up a strong 25 goals and 56 points with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL Connors still has his work cut out for him as he continues to develop his offensive toolbox to go with his tremendous defensive prowess. His wrist shot and slapshot tend to be weaker and occasionally struggle to get off the ice. His one-timer, ironically enough, is one of his best traits as an offensive threat. Still, the foundation of his game is centred around the defensive aspect, and that can only help him as coaches will look to trust his ability to break up plays in the defensive end and generate offence in transition. Once he can become a difference maker rather than a mere passenger on his line, Connors has the upside of a middle-six forward with ability on both special teams. He will need a few seasons at the NCAA level before being considered to join the professional ranks, but he has the chops to get there. Sean Crocker