Kyle Connor still has time to join the 50-goal club this season
Photo credit:James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
Earlier this year, I wrote a piece discussing how @Kyle Connor is due to enjoy a 50-goal season and that we could see it as early as this season. That seems to be coming to fruition in 2021-22.
Connor currently sits at 85 points (42 goals, 43 assists) in 71 games. With eight games left in the season, he may have what it takes to complete this mission. If he can record 50 goals, he’ll become the first player in modern-day Jets history to record such a feat. @Ilya Kovalchuk recorded 50 goals in both 2005-06 and 2007-08, however, since the Jets returned to Winnipeg, no player has hit that mark.
Connor is also on the brink of setting a new franchise record for most points in a single season. That record is currently held by captain @Blake Wheeler when he registered 91 points in 2017-18.
This season, Connor has set career-highs in both goals and assists, breaking records that he previously set in 2019-20 – another season where he was on pace for 50 goals. During the 2017-18 campaign, his first full season, Connor recorded 31 goals, and his future was looking bright. It seems almost inevitable that whether it’s this season or in the near future, Connor will surpass the 50-goal threshold.
He has been consistent on a non-consistent team, and he really stands out as one of the most elite players on the roster. At 5-on-5, he’s produced 25 goals, not many of them are as flashy as @Trevor Zegras’ markers, but it’s his consistency that makes him very lethal.
On the ice, his Expected Goals For Percentage (xGF%) is 53.03 per cent – that’s the highest in his career. His Corsi For Percentage (CF%) sits at 49.73 per cent and his Fenwick For Percentage at 49.28 per cent. He’s also been very consistent on the power play, registering 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists). A career-high in that category, as well.
Those are all solid numbers, and they help solidify the argument that Connor could join @Auston Matthews, @Leon Draisaitl and @Chris Kreider in the prestigious 50-goal club.
Recently, Connor recorded a point in his ninth straight road game. He joins @Neal Pionk, @Mark Scheifele and @Todd White (Atlanta Thrashers) as the only players in Jets/Thrashers history to do so. He also trails Kovalchuk for the most road points in a single season. Kovalchuk registered 27 goals and 53 points in 38 road games during the 2005-06 season.
For Connor, he currently sits at 49 road points (24 goals, 25 assists). With that milestone also on the horizon, Connor certainly has some work to do before the regular season ends on May 1.
TSN’s Craig Button believes that Connor is a favourite to win this season’s Lady Byng Trophy, which is presented each year to a player that exhibits “the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” A list of past winners includes @Jaccob Slavin, @Nathan MacKinnon, @Sasha Barkov and @Pavel Datsyuk – who won the trophy four season’s in a row.
Connor would become the first skater in franchise history to win this accolade. If he can hit the 50-goal marker, and capture the Lady Byng Trophy on top of that, I think the debate is probably over.
Right now, Connor is easily one of the most underrated superstars in the league. No one should be sleeping on No. 81.
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