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USHL forward Trevor Connelly is ‘one of the most dynamic offensive threats’ in 2024 NHL Draft

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
16 days ago
In hockey, the toughest thing to do is generate offence. As a result, players that can score or create chances are a hot commodity, regardless of any other warts in their game.
When it comes to the 2024 NHL Draft, forward Trevor Connelly is a tremendously talented offensive player. However, his game has a few warts in it, and he’s been involved in some controversy off the ice that could diminish his draft stock.

Scouting report

A product of Tustin, California – the same town that Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Wolf spent a good deal of time in growing up – Connelly is a February 2006 birthday, placing him roughly in the middle of the age range for first-time draft eligible players. He’s a left shot winger listed at 6’1″ and 161 pounds.
Connelly worked his way up through high-end hockey in the United States, spending time with several California teams (and the North Jersey Avalanche) before landing in the United States Hockey League. He’s spent two seasons with the Tri-City Storm, the same team that Flames prospects Arsenii Sergeev and Ilya Nikolaev spent time with. He’s also represented the United States at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, World Junior-A Championships, and Under-18 World Championships.
He’s committed to Providence College.
On the ice, Connelly’s really good, though he’s not exactly a two-way forward. Here’s what Dobber Prospects’ David Saad wrote about him in April:
Connelly continues to establish himself as one of the most dynamic offensive threats in this year’s draft. His ability to string together improbable routes through multiple defensive layers is matched by few. He also showed some progressing maturity at the WJAC, where he was involving his teammates a lot more, and playing effective playmaking hockey without losing a step. Tri-City definitely lets him run a lot wilder, and when Connelly gets his engine revved it’s something to behold. He’s a monster in transition and is one of the fastest, most mobile skaters the draft has to offer. On regular occasion you can find him taking laps in the offensive zone simply because nobody can catch him. As far as raw speed and skill goes Connelly is arguably a top 5 option in this year’s draft. That said, he comes with his fair share of cons. Connelly can at times go too wild and skate himself into disaster, or he will look off his options too quickly and turn the puck over with a bad pass/poor shot. He will never be a two-way forward either and there’s plenty of reason to suspect the defensive end of his game. You will almost definitely have to take the good with the bad with Connelly, but he’s really that good. There’s significant first line potential here.
FloHockey’s Ryan Sikes summarized the allure of his offensive talent in this way back in February:
His skillset checks all the boxes scouts look for in an NHL draft prospect.
Connelly can skate with speed. He can create and make plays on his own. He can read plays and sense when to attack and has an advanced awareness of where everyone is on the ice, attracting a ton of attention, so he can help his teammates get in position for quality scoring chances.
Here’s how Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis described Connelly in his rankings before the Under-18 Worlds:
From an on-ice perspective, Connelly has so much going for him. He’s been the best player on the ice in both tournaments he represented the United States in and has been lighting up the USHL all season long. He should be able to crack 80 points this year, making him one of the most productive wingers in the draft class. Off the ice, though, is what teams are concerned about. It just depends on which teams you talk to, really.
In terms of pure on-ice talent, Connelly has a lot of the attributes – especially with the puck – that makes scouts get amped about his potential. His game seems to have holes away from the puck, so he’s not a complete player by any stretch.
But there are some lingering questions about his past off-ice conduct and possible baggage. Here’s how FloHockey’s Sikes put it in the same piece:
Connelly’s character was brought into question when he and a teammate posted an offensive picture on social media depicting a swastika made of children’s building blocks in a library. The picture was quickly removed, but not before a screenshot of the post circulated.
Connelly was removed from his team ahead of the USA Hockey National Championships that same spring as a result of the post.
Since then, the California native has taken various steps to educate himself and rebuild his reputation. 
Connelly visited the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum, read numerous books about the Holocaust and continues to volunteer in nearby communities, as well as with initiatives geared towards making hockey more inclusive.
Connelly can flat-out score and create offence. But given how off-ice issues have caused some embarrassment for several NHL clubs in recent years – including the Flames – some scrutiny regarding his past and how he’s possibly matured since his youth will likely factor in for whatever team selects him.

The numbers

Connelly scored 31 goals and 47 assists for 78 points in 52 games with Tri-City (of the USHL, not to be confused with the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans). He was second in the entire USHL in points, third in assists and seventh in goals. Only Muskegon forward Matvei Gridin had more points. Among the six players with more goals than Connelly were fellow 2024 draft prospects Sacha Boisvert (36) and Michael Hage (33).
Connelly scored at over a point-per-game pace at all three international events he played at in 2023-24: 10 points in five games at the Hlinkas (they won bronze), 11 points in six games at the World Junior-A Championships, and nine points in seven games at the Under-18 Worlds (they won silver).

Availability and fit

In terms of skill fit, Connelly ticks a lot of boxes. He’s a high-end offensive player, though he’s a winger, which arguably makes him a little less valuable than an equally-talented centre. Teams won’t thumb their noses at a player that can generate offence like Connely can.
In terms of availability, Connelly generally appears somewhere in the teens on most draft rankings. He’s appeared as early as 11th (on a few rankings) and as late as 27th (Craig Button’s ranking), but he’s typically somewhere between 17th and 20th on most lists. The scouting consensus is that he’s a first round player, but there’s a bit of variation in terms of where in the first round he lands.

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