Connauton with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2014
February 23, 1990|
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)|
Columbus Blue Jackets
83rd overall, 2009|
Kevin Connauton (born February 23, 1990) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman currently playing for the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was drafted 83rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Connauton has also played for the Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche.
Connauton played Junior A with the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) before joining the Western Michigan Broncos of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) in 2008–09. He joined the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the 2009–10 season. Connauton set franchise records for most goals and points by a defenceman, while being named a WHL West First Team All-Star.
Connauton began his junior career in the AJHL with the Spruce Grove Saints in 2007–08. He recorded 13 goals and 45 points over 56 games – first among rookie defencemen and third among defencemen overall – to earn a rookie of the year nomination and a unanimous selection to the AJHL North All-Rookie Team. He garnered interest from the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, who put him on their protected list in October 2008, but opted to play college hockey instead in the NCAA. He signed with the Western Michigan Broncos of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) in April 2008 and initially intended to join them for the 2009–10 season, due to an already full defensive corps. However, after Jesse Perrin departed for the Central Hockey League (CHL) in August 2008, Connauton was invited to join the Broncos for the 2008–09 season. He went on to record a 7-goal, 18-point campaign as a freshman to earn an honourable mention to the CCHA All-Rookie Team.
Going into the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Connauton was ranked 202nd among North American draft-eligible prospects. He was subsequently selected in the third round, 83rd overall, by the Vancouver Canucks. He was one of three CCHA players taken in the draft and the highest overall. He was originally eligible for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but was not chosen. Canucks director of collegiate scouting Stan Smyl highlighted Connauton's break-out pass as one of his strengths, while associate head scout Thomas Gradin noted his skating abilities.
Following his NHL draft, Canucks management encouraged Connauton to join the major junior ranks in hopes of bettering his progress. He accordingly signed with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL on July 29, 2009. Prior to joining the Giants, he attended his first NHL training camp with the Canucks, but was an early cut, being assigned to junior on September 16, 2009. Connauton established himself as a high-scoring defenceman in the WHL. He broke Jonathon Blum's record for goals by a Giants defenceman on January 3, 2010, with his 19th goal of the season. He was later named WHL Player of the Week with a four-goal, 10-point effort in five games from December 27, 2009, to January 3, 2010. In the last month of the regular season, he then broke Brent Regner's mark for most points by a Giants defenceman of 67, set the previous season, with two points against the Kelowna Rockets on March 11. Connauton finished his first WHL season atop the league's scoring list among defencemen (he finished with five more goals than Tyson Barrie, who tied him in point-scoring) and rookies with 72 points in 69 games. He was named to the WHL West First All-Star Team, along with Giants teammate Craig Cunningham. In the playoffs, the Giants advanced to the semifinals, but were eliminated in six games by the Tri-City Americans. Connauton recorded three goals and 13 points over 16 post-season games.
On April 28, 2010, Connauton signed three-year, entry-level contract with the Canucks. He was assigned to the Canucks' minor league affiliate, the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL), out of training camp in September. During his AHL debut on October 8, he scored his first goal, a game-winner against goaltender Ben Bishop in a 4–3 win over the Peoria Rivermen. Connauton finished the season with 23 points (11 goals and 12 assists) over 73 games. He added one assist in six playoff games, as the Moose were eliminated by the Lake Erie Monsters in the first round. The following season, Connauton was assigned to a new AHL team, the Chicago Wolves, who had become the Canucks' new minor league affiliate. At mid-season, he was selected to participate in the 2012 AHL All-Star Game. He was one of two Wolves representatives, joining forward Darren Haydar. During the All-Star skills competition, he won the hardest shot competition, recording a slapshot at 99.4 miles per hour.
On April 2, 2013, the Canucks traded Connauton and a second round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft to the Dallas Stars for Derek Roy. At the time of the trade Connauton was leading the Wolves in goals by a defenceman, 7, and was second for points by a defenceman, with 25.
On June 27, 2018, Connauton signed a two-year contract with the Coyotes. In the 2018-19 season, Connauton appeared in 50 games with the Coyotes, contributing with 1 goal and 8 points in a bottom six role from the blueline.
On June 25, 2019, Connauton was traded by the Coyotes, along with a third-round 2020 draft pick, to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Carl Söderberg. Connauton was waived and re-assigned to begin the 2019–20 season with Avalanche AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles. Leading the blueline with the Eagles, Connauton posted 5 goals and 27 points through 38 games while making 4 regular season appearances in a recall to the Avalanche. With the COVID-19 pandemic ending the AHL season, Connauton was added to the Avalanche's return to play roster, and made 4 playoff appearances in registering 1 assist.
As a free agent leading into the pandemic-delayed 2020–21 season, Connauton agreed to join the Florida Panthers training camp on a professional tryout basis on December 27, 2020. Remaining with the team upon completion of camp, Connauton was signed by the Panthers to a one-year, two-way contract on January 14, 2021, and was added to the club's taxi squad.
|2005–06||CAC Canadians AAA||AMHL||36||10||11||21||60||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||CAC Canadians AAA||AMHL||33||11||13||24||79||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||Fort Saskatchewan Traders||AJHL||1||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||Spruce Grove Saints||AJHL||56||13||32||45||59||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||Western Michigan Broncos||CCHA||40||7||11||18||44||—||—||—||—||—|
|2014–15||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||54||9||10||19||29||—||—||—||—||—|
|2015–16||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||27||1||7||8||21||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honours
|North All-Rookie Team||2008|||
|CCHA All-Rookie Team honourable mention||2009|||
|West First All-Star Team||2010|||
|CHL All-Rookie Team||2010|
- Vancouver Giants franchise record; most goals, single-season, by a defenceman - 24 in 2009–10 (surpassed Jonathon Blum, 18 in 2007–08)
- Vancouver Giants franchise record; most points, single-season, by a defenceman - 72 in 2009–10 (surpassed Brent Regner, 67 in 2008–09)
- Bodnar, Adam (April 18, 2008). "Hockey Signs Four During Spring Signing Period". Western Michigan University. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- "Connauton fires bullets for Giants". Edmonton Journal. January 8, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2010.[permanent dead link]
- Mahiben, Dhiren (September 7, 2009). "Kevin Connauton becoming a Vancouver Giant". Vancouver Canucks. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- Mills, Tammy (October 23, 2008). "Early arrival Connauton making impact for Broncos hockey team". MLive.com. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- Jim Connelly (June 27, 2009). "Day 2 Turnaround: College Hockey Fares Well on Saturday at NHL Draft". USCHO News. Archived from the original on August 4, 2009. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- "NHL draft 2009: Collegians, recruits light up the board". ESPN. June 29, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- Pap, Elliott (November 16, 2009). "Q&A with Canucks prospect Kevin Connauton". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved January 21, 2010.[dead link]
- MacIntyre, Iain (June 29, 2009). "Pair of picks from later rounds has Gillis & Company excited". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on July 5, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- "Defenceman Kevin Connauton joins Vancouver Giants from NCAA's Western Mighigan". Western Hockey League. July 29, 2009. Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- "Vancouver Canucks reduce pre-season roster". Vancouver Canucks. September 16, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- "Giants' Connauton Named Boston Pizza WHL Player of the Week". Western Hockey League. January 4, 2010. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- Lyndon Little (March 12, 2010). "Rockets burn Giants early but need a late blast to win". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved March 15, 2010.[dead link]
- "Top Scorers - 2009-10 Regular Season - Defencemen". Western Hockey League. Archived from the original on March 11, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
- "Top Scorers - 2009-10 Regular Season - Rookies". Western Hockey League. Archived from the original on March 10, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
- "WHL Announces 2009-10 Conference All-Star Teams and Award Finalists". Western Hockey League. March 18, 2010. Archived from the original on March 22, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- Vancouver Canucks (April 28, 2010). "Canucks sign defenceman Kevin Connauton". Canucks.com. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
- "Game Summary". Manitoba Moose. October 8, 2010. Archived from the original on October 13, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2010.
- "2012 All-Star rosters unveiled". American Hockey League. January 4, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
- Dallas Stars Staff (April 2, 2013). "Dallas Stars Acquire Kevin Connauton and second-round pick in 2013 From Vancouver in Exchange for Derek Roy". DallasStars.com. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- The Canadian Press (October 25, 2013). "Chiasson, Benn each score 2 goals to carry Stars to 5-1 victory over Flames". NHL.com. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
- Mike Halford (November 18, 2014). "With blueline ailing, Columbus claims Connauton off waivers". NBC Sports ProHockeyTalk. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
- "Coyotes Add Depth to Blue Line by Claiming Connauton". coyotes.nhl.com. January 13, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
- "Coyotes sign Connauton to two-year contract". Arizona Coyotes. June 29, 2018. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- "Avalanche acquire Connauton, Third-Round pick from Arizona". Colorado Avalanche. June 25, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
- "Florida Panthers agree to terms with Kevin Connauton". Florida Panthers. January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
- "Kevin Connauton". Western Michigan University. Retrieved January 21, 2010.