C/LW Kyle Connor
Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
by Steve Kournianos
Position: Center/Left Wing
Height/Weight: 6’1″ 180 lbs
Born: December 9, 1996, Clinton Township, MI
Central Scouting Rankings (Prelim/Mid/Final): “A” / 14th NA / 13th NA
Obtained: Agreed to tender contract with the Youngstown Phantoms on April 25, 2012
Notes: Won 2014-15 USHL scoring title with 80 points in 56 games…He also led the league in power play assists (25) and game-winning goals (nine), and placed second in goals (34) and shots (256)…His second-half points-per-game average increased by 0.31 compared to his first half of the season (1.23 to 1.54)…Finished second in USHL scoring in 2013-14 with 74 points (31 goals, 43 assists)…tied for seventh in overall scoring with seven points (four goals, three assists) to help Team USA win 2014 U18 World Championship…Drafted by Saginaw Spirit in 12th round (274th overall) in 2012 OHL Priority Selection…Committed to the University of Michigan for the 2015-16 season on April 25, 2012.
Kyle Connor has a lot in common with Dylan Larkin. Both are Michigan natives who committed to Red Berenson’s program in Ann Arbor, and both are electrifying offensive talents. Only difference is that Larkin was already drafted (15th overall by Detroit in 2014), while Connor is almost guaranteed to go around the same spot this June. For Connor, his dominanation of the USHL almost served him to a fault; some were puzzled as to why the rise in his production from the previous season was not meteoric. Nevertheless, he is too explosive a two-way forward to nitpick the little things. Connor has excellent speed and quickness, and his ability to read plays allows him to literally blow past defenders before they can react. He can accelerate with the best of them, and can shift into high gear if he see’s the defender’s gap is vulnerable. Connor has victimized a lot of defensemen with his skating, much like the aforementioned Larkin. But he’s also a finisher who can sneak into scoring areas and unload an excellent and quite deceptive shot. He is an excellent playmaker, specifically on the power play, as he can deliver both hard and soft accurate passes from either his forehand or backhand. Connor doesn’t like to rush things either. He’s very calm under pressure and maintains the same compete level, and he uses excellent stickhandling skills to maintain possession and keep his options open. One of his many attributes is the way he kills penalties; he’s like a shark and can telegraph passes while using a very active stick. Very smart player who uses his head the whole game. Although he hasn’t filed out yet and should not be classified as a physical forward, he still takes the puck to the net and has shown courage in taking the puck across neutral zone danger areas. Strong and diverse skill-set translatable to the NHL.