Monday, October 3, 2016

Kyle Connor Is Lighting it Up for Winnipeg in Preseason

Highly touted rookie Kyle Connor is making a push to grab a spot on the Winnipeg Jets roster this preseason. The 19-year-old, who notched 71 points in 38 games with Michigan as a freshman last season, tallied his third goal in as many games during the Jets' 4-2 win over Ottawa at MTS Centre.

Connor clearly has the attention of Jets coach Paul Maurice, who says that it isn't a must for Connor to take a top-six role in order to make the team. But he wouldn't tip his hand about how he intends to shape the roster when he talked to media after the game. Instead he gave a thorough breakdown of Connor's game and hinted that there is a lot to learn regardless of how good he appears to be after three preseason NHL games.

"We've seen the speed and you saw that shot tonight. We're excited about this young man on those fronts," Maurice said. "The other question is what all young players have to answer: How ready are they for the battles along the wall, (or) getting pucks out? It's almost like having a confidence not to make plays. … When a guy hits that peak level of confidence, they won't force anything."

The Jets have two preseason games remaining, at Edmonton on Thursday and at Minnesota on Saturday. Winnipeg begins its regular season on Thursday October 13 with a home game against the Caroline Hurricanes.