Season Review – Cory Conacher got off to a Lightning hot start to the season (pun intended), when he was skating for the Tampa Bay. The AHL MVP and Calder Cup MVP the previous season caught on with the Bolts, and managed to snag a plum spot skating with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. With 12 points in his first 7 games, he was on a sure pace to be rookie of the year. His pace slowed and he went on a pointless skid of 6 games followed by another 6 game points streak. When he was dealt to the Senators in a deadline deal for Ben Bishop, he had 24 points in 35 games. He played 12 games in a Senators uniform, netting 2 goals and 3 assists.
Playoffs – He got into 8 of the Senators’ 10 playoff games, scoring 3 goals, including the series winner in the first round defeat of the Canadiens.
Contract Status – Conacher has 1 year left on his entry level contract, with a cap hit of $925K
Importance To Franchise – Conacher is in that area where he could be a full time NHLer or he could end up in the minors. His size is a deterrent, but he doesn’t let that affect his game. It depends on whether or not the start of his season was the real Conacher or if he is the spot-player who didn’t exactly gain the coach’s confidence.
Needs to Improve – His game in, game out competitiveness needs to be more consistent. He has good skills, and good speed, but needs to give 100% effort every night to overcome his lack of size. He is still young in his learning curve, and he will be given the opportunity to grow, whether it is in the NHL or some more seasoning in the minors.
Grade – B. He didn’t light the Senators on fire like some had hoped when he came over, but the young player inserted some enthusiasm and timely playoff goals into the lineup.