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Scoring goals is what he continues to do best: Kyle Connor Jets Nation year in review

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Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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Kyle Connor, you might know him as the guy that likes to score goals for the Winnipeg Jets. Continuing with the Jets Nation year in review series, it’s time to talk about Kyle Connor. If you’re wondering what this series is about, well, it’s a kick off to the Jets off-season by recapping the 2023-24 season for each player, and looking ahead to what they might contribute to the team next season.
Kyle Connor is a left winger from Shelby Township, Michigan, and as I already mentioned, he likes to score goals. The 27-year old has been with the Winnipeg Jets organization ever since being drafted in the 1st round, 17th overall, in the 2015 NHL entry draft. This season, Kyle Connor played only 65 games due to a lower-body injury suffered in December from a knee-on-knee collision. That didn’t stop from Connor from producing at a high level, as in the 65 games he scored 34 goals and added 27 assists for 61 points.
The 34 goals were actually 3 more than the 31 he got last season where he played 82 games. It was a good sign to see that he would have been closely on pace to match or exceed his career high in goals, 47, from the 2021-22 season. Connor’s assists might have taken a dip this season, but when you’re the guy on a team whose main role is being the “goal scorer”, the thing that matters the most is the goals.
Before looking at some advanced stats about Kyle Connor’s game, it’s worth mentioning his performance in the playoffs this season. In the 5 game series loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Connor scored 3 times and added 2 assists for 5 points. He arguably was one of the most impactful players for the Jets in the series, and the rate at which he scores at in the regular season almost always seems to translate to the post-season.
The stat that I want to focus on with Kyle Connor is his shooting percentage. The reason why I want to focus on his shooting percentage is mostly due to him being classified as a player who is there to be the big goal scorer. You have to remember that shooting percentage numbers can be a little difficult to adjust to different team situations, but it still gives a good picture of a player’s scoring ability. It’s also important to remember that a typical good shooting percentage usually falls between 10-15%. Kyle Connor had a 15.4% shooting percentage in 2023-24, and according to Stat Muse, that puts Connor right around his best averages from earlier in his career.
It’s good to see that Connor is continuing to produce at a fairly elite level. You probably don’t see him as highly rated as some of the other elite goal scorers in the league because Connor plays in a smaller market. I would generally consider him still underrated in the league, which brings me to my next point about some trade rumours (mostly from Jets fans) surrounding Connor around trade deadline time.
The main argument that I saw from people saying that they wanted Connor to be traded was that the Jets were a defensive minded team. Some people seemed to suggest that he could be moved for another defender or a forward that plays more of the “team’s style”. The problem with that is that it’s very difficult to replace a consistent 30-40+ goal scorer. Perhaps Connor is being asked to play a certain way that isn’t ideal in the eyes of the fans, but as long as Connor keeps scoring, he deserves to stay on this Jets team.
Ok, maybe I got a bit sidetracked there, but all that last bit was to say that Connor is scoring at a rate that justifies his current 7 year, 50 million dollar deal that he signed in 2019. At just over 7.1 million a year for 2 more years, in his prime, the Kyle Connor contract has been well worth the value. In 2026, when Connor is 29, he’ll be a unrestricted free agent, but I fully expect the Jets to re-sign Connor. His next deal might be a short term one, in the 2-4 year range, depending on what the rest of the team looks like 2 years from now. I’d expect a similar dollar range too, at around 7-8 million per year.
What can you expect from Kyle Connor next season? A 40 goal season is very possible for Connor if he continues to excel on the 1st line with Mark Scheifele. Connor is underrated at other aspects of his game as well, such as his forechecking and skating ability. Great goal scorers need to have other components to their game that can help them generate their scoring chances, and that’s what Connor is able to do with the Jets. Goal scorers also just seem to have a natural ability to be able to find the back of the net whatever way possible, something that is not so much taught but rather just pre-engraved on their goal-scoring minds. Kyle Connor remains a goal scoring force, so look out for him on the ice in the 2024-25 season to continue to do what makes him a certified superstar on this Jets team.

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