WWYDW: What To Do With Kyle Connor?

Welcome to this week’s version of What Would You Do Wednesday, where you are asked a question and debate among yourselves what the answer is. Unfortunately, the only prize you will receive will be the most Twitter mentions.  

This week’s WWYDW revolves around Kyle Connor.

The Winnipeg Jets
have a good problem; there is an abundance of good young talent on
the cusp of being ready for full time NHL action in the Jets’ farm system. One such player is
Kyle Connor, who signed an entry level contract with the Jets earlier this off-season.

Connor scored 71
points with the University of Michigan and oozes skill, speed and projects to be a top-six player.

The Jets have a
pretty set top-six, so Connor would most likely start off in the
bottom-six, with some powerplay time on the second unit.

If the Jets start
Connor with the Manitoba Moose in the AHL, this would allow Connor to
gain more professional experience through playing larger amounts of
minutes and becoming “the man.”

Now, where Connor
starts will also depend on how well he performs during training camp.

What Would You Do
Jets Nation?

Should the Jets start Kyle Connor with the Jets?

Does Connor start the year with the Manitoba Moose?

Does Connor get traded for a good young defenceman because the Jets
have a stockpile of young forwards?

  • Hank_Mardukas

    Connor will be playing top line minutes on the Moose, hopefully with Petan at C.

    The Jets simply don’t have a spot for him. They have 7 of the top 9 spots already filled forsure (some combination of: Ehlers, Scheifele, Wheeler, Little, Laine, Stafford, Perrault). That is pretty much guaranteed. Then you add Lowry and Armia who just singed 1-way deals and are therefor unlikely to be sent down due to waivers. Plus, recently signed Mathias is a lock for a bottom 6 role due to the contract he just signed. That leaves 2 open spots – either both on the 4th line or 1 on the 4th and one on the 3rd – that would be better served by guys like Burmi, Howden, Lipon, Dano, Copp etc. (It’s possible that both Dano and Copp start in the year in the A as well, but I’d imagine that will be determined in training camp.)

    It will be a great year of development for Connor playing the pro game in the AHL and if his transition is as quick as it was from USHL to NCAA he will be on the opening night Jets roster in 17/18 with that much more confidence and experience.

    • Skallagrimson

      What no Thorbs!!!!

      just kidding.

      I could see the Jets ending the year with this forward group, but Connor would probably benefit from first half of the year with Moose (and so would the long suffering Moose fans). Looking forward to camp to see how ready Connor is and if he sticks sooner rather than later.

    • FishWhiskey

      I like your lines except for two ittsy bittsy tings.

      Stafford is one of the laziest cherry pickers in hockey. He was a -23 last year. I would suggest giving Armia or Petan a shot. Little and Laine deserve better than to be saddled with a floater like Stafford.

      Why would you want Burmistrov on the fourth line? Or anywhere on the team for that matter. A HERO Chart comparison of Burmi and Copp says that Copp is a far superior player by all metrics.

      I mean, what’s the point of having all this talent if we don’t use it?

      The main reason players don’t rate Winnipeg as a great place to play is because they are expected to carry boat anchors. It’s come up in Trouba’s contract negotiation for god sake.

      Both Stafford and Burmistrov drag their line mates down. At least that’s what the stats say. And my eye balls easily confirm it.

      I have great respect for your opinion Garret so please enlighten me as to why Stafford should not be on the fourth line and Burmi in the press box or on waivers.

      • FishWhiskey

        You’ve hit the nail on the head. Drew Stafford is an overrated 3rd liner, and Burmistrov has been TERRIBLE since coming back to the NHL. Just about any of young talent would be better than Burmi, take your pick: Connor, Dano, Copp, Petan, Armia, Lipon, on and on. I do not understand why so many people value him so highly.

        Dano, on the other hand, is very underrated. He put up better numbers than many of our top 6. If the Jets cared at all about advanced stats, they would have him on the 2nd or 3rd line instead of Stafford.

      • HERO charts are made for three season samples, and neither of their HERO charts are three seasons.

        I have a bet on Twitter that Burmistrov’s shot differentials will bounce a large way. About 70% of Burmistrov’s career, he’s been a superior shot metric player than Copp… and a good percentage of that other 30% was Burmi on the wing with Lowry and either Stafford or Thorburn

        • Dr. Rocktopus

          I like burmi to bounce back also. Plus with Matthias in the line up him and burmi could be a good Pk unit. Oh I also like wheeler playing with Little but thats just my preferred balance of the lineup.

        • FishWhiskey

          Garret, it makes me sad when I hear a sharp hockey mind like you cheer leading for Burmistrov. Burmi has done nothing in his six years as a professional to deserve taking a spot on the roster from a developing prospect.

          The Jets have come to a fork in the road in terms of team culture. Up till now playing for the Jets has, to a large extent, been based on whether management “liked” a player or not rather than on talent and/or performance. Pavelec, Stuart, Thorburn and Burmistrov are prime examples of a culture of nepotism within the organization.

          If you have ever worked for a company that was staffed with friends and relatives of the boss and your job was essentially to carry the “gold bricks” you will know that nepotism within an organization is toxic. It is the main reason free agents don’t want to come to Winnipeg.

          This issue has come up in Trouba’s contract negotiations and I have been told, by people working in the NHL that Jets management are laughed at behind their backs for their nepotistic practices.

          If the Jets don’t clean house now and start operating as a meritocracy (reward for talent and performance) then all the drafting and talk of Stanley Cups will have been for nothing.

          The fan base and local media need to speak out, in no uncertain terms, that the team culture has to change. Staying quiet or worse yet, defending managements pet bums is not a recipe for success.

          I’m sorry if I sound a bit strident about this but I swear, my brother, the Jets will join the Oilers in hockey hell unless TNSE is held accountable for how they are spending the fans money.

  • Skallagrimson

    I hope Conner makes the lineup this year along with Liane, Petan, Morrissey, Hellebuyck and Lemieux. if the Jets don’t promote some of their top young prospects and keep 2 lines of older players that have reached their potential they won’t make the playoffs again. I would rather see the Jets miss the playoffs with a young team that is going to get better with experience than a lineup with Pavelec, Thorburn, Peluso, Stuart, Burmistrov, Matthias and Copp. The Jets future is now so let the kids play, make mistakes and learn in the NHL. That’s the only way this team will get better.

  • scruffy the yak

    I would be interested in seeing a bottom 6 with Connor/Matthias/ Perreault

    extras: Copp/Petan/Lemieux/Howden/Burmistrov. I am deliberately ignoring Scoreburn.

  • Dr. Rocktopus

    Hi guys, I’m new around here.

    What are the odds that they had Connor playing RW at dev camp for a reason? After Wheeler, there aren’t a lot of obvious choices for RW. Laine plays RW, but prefers LW. Ehlers was good at LW, but I hear he prefers RW. Those are two maybes. After that, who? Armia? Seems like a pretty big step down.

    • FishWhiskey

      Hello Doctor and welcome aboard. I have always appreciated your many fine insights over at AIH.

      Your point about Connor on right wing is well taken.

      I kept an eye on Connor in the NCAA Championships and again at the World Championships and he showed all the signs of being able to step right into the NHL. He looked superb at the World Championships setting up Austin Mathews with laser passes. Too bad he got hurt a couple of games in.

      The boy certainly has the tools. I think it is just a matter of finding his confidence and he will be a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully he can find his legs on the big team right out of the gate. But if it require a taste of Moose Stew then so be it. The check is in the mail!

      • Dr. Rocktopus

        Cheers, Fish – and likewise!

        I am optimistic Connor will crack the line-up. If it doesn’t work out, they can always send him down after a 9 game look.

      • Dr. Rocktopus

        Hmm. I wasn’t aware that Stafford prefers the right side. I guess he’s the logical choice for the 2RW spot, then. I don’t know. I just don’t love him there. He’s a quite good 3rd liner in my books, but a mediocre top 6.

        I asked about Connor and RW partly because I though it was odd they tried him out there in dev camp, and partly because the giddy 12 year old in me would love to see a second line of Laine – Little – Connor.

        If I had my way, though, I’d have a go with:

        Laine – Scheifele – Wheeler
        Connor – Little – Ehlers
        Stafford – Perreault – Dano
        Matthias – Burmistrov/Copp – Armia

        And see what sticks.

  • Eddie O rules!

    If Connor doesn’t make the Jets, I’d like to see them try him at Center in the AHL. If he could make the switch, and if I understand right he’s played there before, it would be huge for organizational depth. Anyone know how he was as a center?