Kyle Connor struggled when he was virtually gifted a spot with the Winnipeg Jets last season, but responded well to being sent down by being one of the Manitoba Moose. He led the Moose in goals and showed that he was clearly capable of playing professional hockey. He came to the Jets not quite ready for the NHL and that is okay. He will probably challenge for a spot again or at least position himself as the first call-up if he does not make the team.
Connor has accomplished a lot since being drafted 17th overall in 2015. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker, he made the NHL, he led his AHL team in scoring. He has done all this with very little time to adjust to his new realities. Seeing how he does after a season of adjusting to professional hockey will tell us even more about the talented 20 year old.
Tim: After dominating the NCAA, Kyle Connor jumped into the pro ranks and looked great at the AHL level. It didn't come instantly, but his adaptation to the pro game was mighty impressive. It will be fun to see how Connor is folded into the Winnipeg Jets roster this year. Will he be placed in the top six with high-end skill players? Will he be asked to add pop to the third line? Regardless, the Jets are adding more offensive pop and some blazing speed.
Brian: He might have had a weak start in the NHL, but it turns out that a little AHL seasoning is exactly what Kyle Connor needed to take his game to the level we expected. Can't wait to see what he can do now.
Andy: Connor made the Jets out of training camp this last season, to the surprise of some. But his rookie campaign was mired a bit due to his up and down play. Going from 2nd line, to 3rd line, relegated to 4th line, then bench, then the Moose would have defeated weaker players. Not Connor though. He came thru, built a great half season with the Moose and was rewarded with a recall to the Jets. Here's to hoping a full season with the big club will not be far off, as he'll be able to use his smarts, experience and larger frame to good use.