2020-21 Team: Erie Otters
Date of Birth: Jan. 21, 2003
Place of Birth: Ottawa, Ontario
Ht: 5-foot-8 Wt: 163
NHL Draft Eligibility: first-year eligible
The players who were hurt most by the missed OHL season are those who didn’t have a chance to come from overseas to play any kind of season or get into the U18 tournament, which is exactly what happened to Erie Otters forward Connor Lockhart.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Lockhart was selected third overall by the Otters in 2019 and was part of an exceptional group of first picks in the draft. Names like Shane Wright, Bennan Othmann, Brandt Clarke, Mason McTavish, Wyatt Johnston, and Benjamin Gaudreau made up the star-studded first half of the opening round. Of all of these players, however, Lockhart is the one who’s been left behind.
It’s not an ideal situation when you can’t get into a competitive game during your draft year, and that’s what happened to Lockhart. Most of the time, a player’s development from their rookie to sophomore seasons is huge. But for Lockhart, you’d have to bust out a crystal ball to see how much better he might have been this season had it happened, and for many teams, that’s too big a risk to spend draft capital on.
Yet, he’s an intriguing prospect nonetheless. He’s been a goal scorer since minor hockey. Competing against players his own age, he scored in boatloads, including 50 goals in 30 games with the ‘AAA’ U15 Ottawa Senators in 2017-18. In his lone U18 season with the Kanata Lasers, he scored 30 goals in 41 games. Lockhart 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. Lockhart never looked dominant in his rookie season with the Otters, but this is where you have to be cautious and consider what he might have done this season. It is almost certain that he would have been more confident, and in turn, see his goal-scoring ability return.
Lockhart can do more than just score, however. Despite being just five-foot-eight, he has a physical side to him that you will see every once in a while. He can get to the dirty areas, win puck battles and has a good net-front presence. Like any prospect, there are some negatives that teams will need to watch out for, like his size, but others have had long and successful careers despite a small stature. Teams will also be wondering where he is at in his development, and the answer to that is going to be hard to find. Proceed with caution, but Lockhart could become a serious talent if developed properly.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Connor Lockhart – NHL Draft Projection
Lockhart has moved steadily down the mock draft rankings, and it’s hard to disagree with that. He wasn’t on the ice for the entire 2020-21 season, which will affect his development in the short-term, and maybe even the long-term. Assessing his value is virtually impossible, and no team is going to use a high pick on a player they aren’t confident will be successful, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be.
“Connor Lockhart is an immensely talented offensive center who can dictate the pace of play and turn the game on its head with a flash of speed and skill. During his Bantam season with the Ottawa Jr. Senators, Lockhart put up a ridiculous 50 goals and 76 points over 30 games. He has led his league in goals over both of the past two seasons.” – Prospect Pipeline
“He will have almost certainly gotten stronger over the layoff, if not bigger as well. If that’s the case it will be more likely that he can pull off similar plays against even bigger and stronger players as he progresses through the pro levels. His intelligence to read the defenseman, solid body positioning instincts, and the ability to finish the play with a pass to the slot area are great things to see from such a young player.” – Dylan Galloway, FC Hockey
- Release and shooting
- Creativity and offensive awareness
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Defensive zone play
- Making clean and crisp passes on the breakout
Whoever decides to pull the trigger and draft Lockhart won’t consider him a player who can lead the team to Cup championships like Patrick Kane or Sidney Crosby, but they might see him in their middle-six and as a power-play specialist. It’s also going to be a team that is willing to be patient and develop him at a slower pace. Lockhart is the kind of player who could thrive in the right situation if given the chance.
Risk – 5/5, Reward – 2.5/5
You won’t see Lockhart with medals around his neck, but the awards he has won are impressive, including most goals in a season in HEO in U14 and U15. When he got to the U18 level, he picked up the most assists in HEO and won rookie of the year.
Connor Lockhart Statistics
Currently a journalism student at Algonquin College in Ottawa, I have always had a passion for the OHL and the Ottawa 67’s in particular. I have been attending games since I was young, and being involved with sports has always been a dream of mine. Sports writing fits perfectly into that. You can also find me talking and writing other sports (primarily Canadian football) on my website 13thmansports.ca!