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2014 NHL Draft Prospect: Connor Chatham

Rena Laverty

The Player

Connor Chatham

Forward

Plymouth Whalers(OHL)

2013-2014 stats: 54 games 13 goals 18 assists 31 points 51 PIMs

Height: 6'2" Weight: 220 lbs.

Final Central Scouting Rank: 46th among NA skaters

What are his strengths? Weaknesses?

Chatham is best described as an 'energy guy'. He goes out every night and skates hard, hits people, makes things happen, and even though you're not going to count on him for consistent offensive procduction, he will chip in the occasional goal or two. Even at the NHL level, an energy guy is usually someone that barely scrapes six feet tall, if that, and weighs 180, maybe 190 lbs. Connor Chatham provides that at 6'2 200" lbs. Chatham gets up and down the ice extremely well for a player of his size, and brings a strong, consistent effort on a night-in, night-out basis.

The downside is that for all that effort, and all the good things Chatham doesn't out on the ice, it didn't really add up to much in the scoring column. Chatham doesn't quite have the hockey sense and hands to be a big-time offensive producer. Also, while he plays a great north-south game, he could stand to use his size more effectively when battling along the boards.

How was his draft year? Trending up or down?

Chatham missed the cut-off to be in the 2013 NHL Draft by about six weeks, and that extra year seemed to be a blessing for him. Chatham moved from Omaha of the USHL to play for Plymouth of the OHL, and his stock really rose from a mid-to-late round pick to start the year, to a player expected to go in the first two or three rounds of the draft.

Draft projection?

Chatham's lack of scoring potential means he likely won't go that much higher than he's projected. Teams aren't going to use a first round pick on a forward that only scored 31 points in 54 games in the CHL. But Chatham's unique skillset makes him an attractive pick in the second or third round of the draft.

Pro upside?

Chatham's ceiling as a player is fairly low, as it's unlikely he develops the offensive ability to become a 30-goal scorer, but he's also a fairly low risk pick. He's not going to get smaller or slower. He'll be a solid third or fourth liner that plays heavy hockey every night, and any offensive production beyond that is gravy.

Where will he go next?

Because of his style of play and the fact that he's fairly developed, he'll be ready for the pros sooner rather than later. Chatham will play one more season for the Plymouth Whalers before heading to the pros. He'll most likely spend a season or two honing his game in the minor leagues, but could compete for a roster spot fairly quickly as a lower line player.