4. Kevin Connauton, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 8th
Date of birth: 02/23/1990
Statistics: 71 GP, 13 G, 33 P (Chicago-AHL)
Acquired: Third round, 83rd overall in 2009 by Vancouver
The Good: Connauton took several steps forward last year, from a talented project into a quality prospect. He's a plus skater who one NHL source describes as "tremendous". He is very good at leading the rush and jumping up when he senses a chance to create an odd-man chance. He has skill, too, as he can move the puck at a solid level and has a cannon from the point that is accurate. An AHL All-Star this year, Connauton wasn't sheltered and played at a top level while facing off versus top players.
The Bad: Connauton's defense showed significant strides last season, and while he doesn't project as a quality defensive player, he's made enough improvement in that area where he may not have to be sheltered by his coach in the NHL.
Why didn't they just trade him for a first. Someone would have paid that. We get a second and a player who might replace Fortunus as our top AHL defensemen who's not good enough to make the NHL. Connauton is 23, never played in the NHL.