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2019 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Connor McMichael

Could the Kings select the London Knights center with the 22nd pick of the draft?

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

As the 2019 NHL Entry Draft approaches, the Los Angeles Kings have their work cut out for them, including making decisions on two first-round picks: the fifth pick and the 22nd pick, thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs. From now until the draft, the staff of Jewels from the Crown will be taking a look at some draft-eligible players to help introduce some young men who could very possibly be future Kings.

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“With the 22nd pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings select, from the OHL London Knights, Connor McMichael.”

Connor McMichael could be considered the hidden gem of the draft. He’s one of the best skaters out there, combining jaw-dropping acceleration and high-end speed and a penchant for being a puck-hound. But, before we get into the strengths and weaknesses, let’s get the basics out of the way…

HOCKEY CARD STATS

Born: January 15, 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
2018-19 Team: London Knights (OHL)
Position: C
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 174 lbs.
Shoots: Left

2018-19 Season: London Knights
Regular Season: 67 Games, 72 Points (36G, 36A), 19 PIM, +15
Playoffs: 11 Games, 5 Points (2G, 3A), 2 PIM

RANKINGS

#21—FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
#23—MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
#24—NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North American Skaters)
#25—ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
#26—TSN/McKenzie
#29—HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
#29—ISS HOCKEY

STRENGTHS

When you’re looking at a later first-round center, I would image your checklist should look something like this:

  1. Excellent two-way player
  2. Extremely high hockey IQ
  3. Strong puck possession player
  4. Very good anticipation skills
  5. Effective forechecker
  6. Plays in the dirty areas

McMichael checks all six of those boxes and more. His ice vision ranks amongst the highest in this draft class and puts in the sweat equity necessary to be successful in all three zones while playing in any and all situations.

As with almost all 18-year-olds, McMichael will benefit from more muscle on his frame, which will aid in puck protection and give rise to a greater physical force many feel he will evolve in the coming years.

WEAKNESSES

McMichael disappears in the playoffs. In his first OHL playoffs, he was held off the score sheet while the Knights were swept out of the playoffs. This season he was held to five points in 11 games and was pushed down to the third line. Consistency is an issue and it’s said at times that he doesn’t impact the games when it matters. One could argue that scouts are over-critical, given his evolution into a 36-goal scorer this past season (which ranked third among under-18 forwards this season). He needs to get stronger in the weight room if his development is going to continue at the NHL level.

WHY THE KINGS SHOULD TAKE A CHANCE

Have we mentioned before that the Kings need centers? Shoot, the whole league needs center depth. McMichael won’t be an immediate impact player at the NHL level, but it is highly conceivable he will ascend into a top-six role as he develops into a legitimate pro. He’s a skilled center that threatens the offensive zone on each shift. He excels in a fast-paced environment, is deceivingly speedy with elite puck skills and plays well in the defensive zone. Scouts report that he has a knack for knowing how to be in the right place at the right time.

INTANGIBLES

“McMichael is an excellent two-way player with an extremely high hockey IQ. He is a very strong puck possession player. His anticipation is very good. He is a very effective forechecker and does not shy away from playing in the dirt areas. Once he adds more muscle and mass, he should become even more effective.” – Dominic Tiano/OHL Writers

HIGHLIGHTS