One of the better draft-eligibles in the CHL, Connor Zary tore up the WHL
Connor Zary (C), Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
A competitive centreman, Zary has one of the more unique skillsets in the whole draft as he can regularly out skill his opponents and can also outwork them. He can be an annoyance for the opposing team due to his high energy and his knack for finding ways to score.
GP: 57 G: 38 A: 48 P: 86 +/-: 30
Playing on one of the better teams in the WHL, Zary was second on the team in points but actually led Kamloops in points/game at 1.51 and the dynamic centreman also was second on the team in goals. Zary was the main catalyst for Kamloops leading the WHL in goals, really impressive for a player in his draft year.
Zary was a problem for opposing teams on the power-play, among CHL draft-eligible the Kamloop Blazer tied Marco Rossi in points on the man-advantage with 38 as well as finishing third in power-play goals.
More from Draft
- Uneventful. Boring. Dull. The 2023 NHL Draft
- Meet the Ottawa Senators NHL Draft Picks
- Ottawa Senators Potential Options at #7: Frank Nazar
- Ottawa Senators Draft Profiles: Carson Latimer
- Ottawa Senators Draft Profiles: Benjamin Roger
Teams that are efficient on the power-play in the NHL tend to excel and Zary could add a ton of value to an NHL squad looking for a boost on special teams. The numbers definitely suggest Zary has definite offensive talent as he also was 3rd among all CHL draft-eligibles in shots with 257, good for 4.51 shot/game.
As mentioned in past articles I enjoy seeing prospects end the season better than they start, the progression throughout the season is an essential factor, Zary ended the season great with 7 goals and 17 points in his final 9 games.
A competitive two-way forward, Zary projects as a player with top-six upside, with third-line value if he doesn’t reach his full potential.
When you watch Zary nothing really pops out on the screen, but somehow he finds ways to produce at a high-level, this is a reason I’m a little sheepish on Zary, hence the ranking. The majority of his offence though comes through his great hockey IQ, which is a huge plus for any evaluator, he won’t dazzle but he will be effective.
Zary was also trusted to kill penalties with Kamloops, so his coaches obviously value the talented centreman on both sides of the puck, something NHL teams will eat up. The Hockey Writers are impressed with Zary’s offensive game:
"“Boosting his strong offensive instincts is Zary’s hockey IQ and work ethic. It’s helped him develop into a prospect with no real weaknesses to his game”"
I agree with everything here except for the no weaknesses part, I believe Zary could use more pace in his game, if he can improve his skating just a smidge he could be that much more effective.
Draft Day Fall?
This is unlikely, Zary is viewed by many scouting services in the 10-15 range, so him falling into the Senators lap at 28 would be highly unlikely. With no injury or character concerns, the Senators would have to make a trade to attain his services.
Zary does fit the mold that the Senators like in their centremen, a responsible two-way game with good offensive instincts, if Pierre Dorion views Zary highly, he should try and work a trade-up.