Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Where does Connor Zary rank among the NHL’s many Con(n)ors?
1 month ago
If the National Hockey League had a nickel for every time there was a generational player named Connor, they’d have two nickels, but it’s odd that it’s happened twice.
The Calgary Flames even have their own Connor (Zary), who has made waves since his promotion to the NHL in early November. Therefore, we’re going to rank all the Connors, Conors, and O’Connors currently playing in the NHL.
17. Connor Carrick
Right-shot defenceman Connor Carrick is the only player who hasn’t played in the NHL this season. However, the 29-year-old has a significant amount of experience having played 242 games between the 2013-14 season and the 2022-23 season while scoring 13 goals and 50 points.
He’s currently playing with the Coachella Valley Firebirds, Seattle’s American Hockey League team, where he has four goals and nine points in 27 games played. It wouldn’t be all too surprising if he’s eventually called up to the NHL.
16. Connor Brown
You’d think playing with two superstars and a fellow Connor (guess where that one ranks) would help put points on the board. However, it’s been anything but that for Brown this season, as he has just three assists in 28 games played for the Edmonton Oilers.
Brown’s number’s prior to the 2022-23 season were actually quite good, scoring 90 goals and 216 points in 444 games played. With that being said, this is a list heavily impacted by success in 2023-24, as well as potential going forward. The 29-year-old suffered an ACL injury that doesn’t bode well for his future, and has clearly impacted his game since returning.
15. Connor Dewar
The 24-year-old was selected in the third-round of the 2018 draft by the Minnesota Wild, and has played 153 career NHL games where he has 14 goals and 32 points.
It appears that the centreman is about to pass his career-high in goals of six that he set in 81 games during the 2022-23 season, as he’s already reached that mark in just 37 games in 2023-24. However, he’s on track for just 17 points, one below his total from last season.
14. Drew O’Connor
Drew O’Connor is the first of two O’Connors on this list, who both went undrafted. The 25-year-old plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins and has five goals and 13 points in 37 games played, with the point total already a career-high.
For O’Connor’s career, he has 13 goals and 30 points in 115 games. Not great, of course, but also not bad production for a guy that was passed on in the draft multiple seasons.
13. Conor Timmins
In his two seasons with the Leafs, the 2017 second-rounder has been productive. In 2022-23, he scored twice with 14 points in 25 games, and is slightly below the same pace in 2023-24, scoring a goal and six points in 13 games.
That’s a surprising amount of production from a defenceman seen as a seventh defender. He’s behind guys like Timothy Liljegren and Jake McCabe on the right-shot depth chart, but the 25-year-old isn’t a bad player to have in the press box.
12. Connor McMichael
McMichael evidently isn’t on the same level as another Connor McSomething, but the former first-round pick has become a useful player for the Washington Capitals.
In 35 games played this season, the 22-year-old centreman has seven goals and 14 points and will surely blow past his career-high of nine goals and 18 points he set in 68 games played in 2021-22. McMicheal helped the AHL’s Hershey Bears win their 12th Calder Cup during the 2022-23 season, scoring six goals and 10 points in 20 games.
11. Logan O’Connor
Logan O’Connor is only one of two players of the 17 who have their name on the Stanley Cup, so that helped bump his rank to 11th.
So far in the 2023-24 season, O’Connor has five goals and 13 points in 37 games. The 27-year-old undrafted forward set a career-high in both goals and points in 2022-23, scoring nine goals and 26 points and becoming a useful bottom six player for a perennial contender.
10. Connor Clifton
The right-shot defenceman has tons of playoff experience, playing 46 games from the 2019 playoffs until the 2023 playoffs, having played with the Boston Bruins during that time.
After setting a career-high in 2022-23 with five goals and 23 points in 78 games, Clifton got paid in free agency as he signed with the Buffalo Sabres for three years, $10 million. As it stands, he has no goals and 10 assists in 36 games played, but has been suspended this season.
9. Connor Ingram
Now, we’re getting to the players that could rise in the foreseeable future, and Ingram has helped the Arizona Coyotes push for a playoff spot in 2023-24.
The 26-year-old has started the majority of the games for the Desert Dogs, posting a .916 save percentage and 2.61 goals-against average in 23 games played. His four shutouts this season are tied for the most with Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry.
8. Connor Zary
Now we get to the main event of this article, Connor Zary.
If we’re looking solely at points, Zary is fourth amongst all Connor-adjacent players as he has eight goals and 19 points in 29 games played. However, he only ranks eighth as his track record in the NHL is minimal.
Still, if we revisit this list in a couple years, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Zary jump ahead of some players still remaining on this list.
7. Connor Murphy
Out of any player on this list, Murphy has played the most number of games in his NHL career. The 30-year-old right-shot defenceman was selected with the 20th overall pick by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, and has played 670 games with 40 goals and 139 points.
Sadly for him, he’s only played for two teams in his career – the Coyotes and the Chicago Blackhawks – neither of which were good teams when he played for them. For context, Murphy has only played nine career playoff games, all during the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season, where he had four assists. Get this man on a good team!
6. Conor Sheary
Sheary is one of only two players on this list that have a Stanley Cup to his name, but he was a big part of Pittsburgh’s two Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.
For his career, Sheary has 121 goals and 260 points in 553 games, but has slowed down considerably in 2023-24, scoring just a single goal and eight points in 22 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, Sheary scored 15 goals and 37 points in 82 games with the Washington Capitals in 2022-23.
5. Conor Garland
The 27-year-old right-wing is one of the most consistent scorers on this list, regularly scoring 12 or more goals in his five seasons prior to 2023-24. For his career, he has 87 goals and 211 points in 360 games played with the Coyotes and the Vancouver Canucks.
Since joining Vancouver before the start of the 2021-22 season, Garland has 40 goals and 115 points in 196 games. He’s a little bit off the pace this season, scoring just four goals and 17 points, but the league’s best offence in Vancouver doesn’t need Garland to be a 45-plus point scorer anymore.
4. Connor Bedard
This one may be a little bit of a hot take, but Connor Bedard isn’t the second best Connor-adjacent player in the league quite yet.
Still, the talent is certainly there as the generational talent has 15 goals and 33 points in 39 games on a terrible Chicago team. Much like the other generational Connor, Bedard suffered a major injury in his rookie season as he fractured his jaw as Brendan Smith caught him crossing the blue line with his head down.
3. Connor Hellebuyck
Connor Hellebuyck isn’t just the third best Con(n)or, but he’s also one of the best netminders in the entire league, and has been for quite a while now. For his career, the 340-year-old has a .917 save percentage and a 2.64 goals-against average in 473 games played.
His success has continued in 2023-24, as the Jets are surprisingly the best team in the league with 54 points as of Jan. 6, 2024. Hellebuyck has a .921 save percentage and a 2.28 goals-against average, with the former being on track to be the best in his career.
2. Kyle Connor
Another Jet and arguably one of the most underrated scorers in the league. For his career, Connor has 226 goals and 452 points in 492 games played and consistently scores 30 goals in a season, failing to do so just twice in his career. Once was in his rookie season playing just 20 games, and the other was during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season where he scored 26 goals in 56 games.
It looks like Connor is on pace to do the same, scoring 17 goals in 26 games, along with 28 points. The only thing that could stop him is his current injury, as he’s been out of the Jets lineup since mid-Decemeber, and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, so 3-5 more weeks remaining.
1. Connor McDavid
Was it ever in question who’d rank first? It’s very hard to hype up an Edmonton player, but McDavid could be one of the best players to ever lace up skates when it’s all said and done. So far in his career, he has 317 goals and 903 points in just 602 games played, becoming the fifth-fastest player to reach the 900-point plateau.
After a slow start in 2023-24, McDavid is third in league points with 53 points along with 14 goals. However, it still feels like McDavid is underachieving, as he put up an insane 64 goals and 153 points in 82 games during the 2022-23 season. Let’s hope that when his contract is up, McDavid heads far away from the Pacific Division.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
Which Con(n)or do you think is the NHL’s best? Let us know in the comments!
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