Paul Stastny was an instant fan. So, too, were legendary University of Michigan head coach Red Berenson, former junior teammate JJ Piccinich and, most importantly, Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff.
Indeed, Kyle Connor has made an everlasting first impression at every scintillating turn of his life in hockey. And seemingly each impression after that has been an indelible one.
There is no justification — either willfully or through ignorance — for any faction of the hockey world to negate his astonishing level of achievement since his early years of minor hockey in Shelby Township, Mich. The 25-year-old left-winger with rocket fuel in his skate boots, hands of a diamond cutter, dogged determination, and wisdom well beyond his years is firmly established as an NHL superstar.
“He puts a lot of pressure on himself, and he expects himself to score every night and he expects himself to be one of the best players out there.” – Paul Stastny
“He’s quiet, kind of introverted, keeps to himself, but when you dig deeper and pull the layers back, you realize how much he loves the game. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, and he expects himself to score every night and he expects himself to be one of the best players out there,” says Stastny. “He’s just a very dynamic player, wants the puck all the time, very hard to knock off the puck, for someone when you look at him you wouldn’t say is small, you wouldn’t say he is big, just regular stature. Just someone who constantly wants to get better.”
Connor has spent the majority of his time in Winnipeg ripping down the left side on a line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, although the trio hasn’t been together much in ‘21-22 with absences by the veteran centre (COVID-19) and the captain and right-winger (COVID-19 and a knee injury).
The Jets with him are a bubble team in Central Division, during an NHL season of fits and starts, owing to the pandemic. There is still plenty of time for the squad to enhance its stature in the division and Western Conference.