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2021 NHL Draft Feature Profile: Connor Lockhart

Connor Lockhart was just ranked 104th for North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He is a right-handed centreman for the Erie Otters of the OHL.

The 5-foot-8 163-pound Ottawa native played for the Ottawa Senators AAA and Kanata Lasers AAA teams during his youth hockey career. He played phenomenally well, good enough to be taken third overall in the 2019 OHL draft by the Erie Otters. Since 2011, seven of the eight third overall picks taken in the OHL draft went on to be drafted to the NHL.

Connor has a good release and can snap the puck off before the goaltender realizes, and he is also willing to go to the net and score dirty goals. He is a nifty skater and exceptionally creative player, opening up passing lanes for his teammates both when he has the puck and when he doesn’t. He can do more than just score; however, he also has a physical side to him. This allows him to get to the dirty areas, win puck battles, and have a good net-front presence.

A player comparable to Connor would be another former Erie Otter in Alex Debrincat. Both are offensively dynamic small forwards that do not let their small stature hinder their playing ability.

During his rookie campaign in the 2019-20 OHL season, Lockhart recorded 9 goals and 27 points in 57 games, finishing 16th overall in OHL rookie scoring. He unfortunately has not gotten his sophomore season yet due to the coronavirus pandemic, a season that likely would have boosted his draft stock.

Here is a highlight package from his first year put together by the OHL:

Although he could not play, that did not stop him from achieving. He was named academic player of the month for November 2020, taking a full course load that included both Grade 11 and 12 academic classes. He did this so that he will have more time in his schedule for increased demands during his draft year. By front-loading his course load, it exemplified his ability to adapt to new ways of learning, of time management, of self-motivation and of prioritization. This was especially impressive during such a difficult time. Also, he played well enough during his rookie campaign to be one of only 13 OHL players to be invited to Canada’s National Summer U-18 Team Selection Camp.

Connor had high praise when speaking about CoreFive. This is what he had to say about the assessment and development program:

Coaching Report and Debrief

“The accuracy of my coaching report was crazy, creepy in fact. Talking to a number of my teammates, it’s hard to imagine something that accurate could be produced without a personal interview. I liked it because while it contained a lot of positive statements, there were also number of comments related to things I could improve on. The report forces you to think about things from different perspectives and one that rang true for me was how I responded to criticism. At times, I looked at criticism as a bad thing, a negative. I now look at it from a different perspective, reframing it as something positive, something that can help me be better both on and off the ice."

Character Development Program

"I really enjoyed the Route 66 program. It covers a lot of things that are important to your overall development. It was kind of a wake-up call to remind us to be aware of the various roles we play in our life, our relationships with others and the importance of maintaining a healthy mindset and lifestyle. There are many pieces to the development process, things like sleep, nutrition and managing anxiety. I thought that using Otter’s alumni as guest speakers for a number of the topics was really beneficial. I found the “What would you do?” activities really interesting as we dealt with real life scenarios. I thought the discussions were very helpful in understanding how my teammates think and a major factor in building the strong bonds required for team success."

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