Every team needs a player who is often forgotten. Just someone hanging out as part of the roster, he might get out in a few productive moments throughout the season, and then look completely invisible for most of his team-used time. Kevin Connauton was that for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2021-22 season.
In a campaign where most fans want to forget it completely – and rightly so – Connaughton served as a youth. A waiver of waivers was claimed from the Florida Panthers in December, as a mere Of course, why not Kind of pick-up. Best case scenario, you get a guy who can just be a body on your blue line and not totally horrible – and worst case scenario is you put him back in concessions and send him to Lehigh Valley if he really stinks.
Before setting foot in Philadelphia, Connaughton played games for five different organizations in his nine years in NHL hockey. Never play an entire season anywhere, just drift. Hell, the Flyers waiver claim was the third time he’s changed teams in this way. Only always the depth man who can finally be shaken off. You have to feel the man.
Anyway, let’s see what the comfy guy has done this season for the cool and awesome pilots.
Connaughton played 13 games for the Panthers in the six or so weeks he was in Florida before changing teams again. And for the rest of the season, he played only 26. Through those games, Connaughton scored one goal and earned three points while averaging 13:36 TOI per game. It was really just hanging around.
What can you say more than that? Indisputably, when he transformed from a trophy contender at the Panthers, to a team that struggled to even score any form of goal, his core metrics dropped dramatically. In Florida, he was riding around in a 5-on-5 shooting attempt on the ice with a ratio of 55.49; When he was on the Flyers, which fell like a bag of bricks thrown off a rooftop, heading all the way to bad 43.16. This massive drop was the same for every other measure. Expected percentage of goals? particle. Ice goals? Wowza, that’s a 26.67 percent drop. All the little stats on the Flyers were in the low forties and that’s a sign of a really terrible player who makes their team a lot worse when they’re on the ice.
Of course, it would be better if he didn’t have Keith Yandel attached to him for the vast majority of his playing time on the Flyers, but not that much.
Connauton must have been the cutest guy ever in the locker room, because for some reason, after playing just 26 games and putting together the numbers you’re likely to get when throwing an AHL-deep defender up against some tough competition, the old-fashioned fell 32 years on a new contract. It’s for two years, but it’s a two-way deal – which means he’ll get a different salary in the AHL and the NHL. Therefore, we should not necessarily expect him on the Blue Line at the start of the season. But he will definitely be in the organization and lose his head every now and then.
It’s a deal that doesn’t really matter at all, and Connauton could provide at least some veteran companions for a young group of Lehigh Valley defenses that could include the likes of Ronnie Attard, Yegor Zamula, Adam Ginning and Mason Millman. There is some value in having a guy who might be comfortable playing in the AHL into his mid-30s. So, thanks Kevin.
Connaughton has been quite harmless this season. Just there For a grand total of 354 minutes, I’ll be here in case I need it again.