2019-20 Team: Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Date of Birth: June 25, 2002
Place of Birth: Wainwright, AB, CAN
Ht: 5-foot-8 Wt: 163 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
NHL Central Scouting: 43rd (among NA skaters)
Elite Prospects: 43rd
Dobber Prospects: 59th
McClennon brings high energy and goal scoring to the ice each and every night. After a very successful Bantam career, he was selected by the Winnipeg Ice with the second overall pick in the 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft behind Kaiden Guhle.
While he is undersized at 5-foot-8 and just 163 pounds, he plays a much bigger game. He has transferred his Bantam success over to the major junior level. McClennon has 35 goals and 78 points in 93 WHL games so far. He has been most effective when he has played on the same line as Peyton Krebs, a 2019 second-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2020 Edition
McClennon’s draft season got off to a slow start, partially thanks to Krebs missing time with an injury. He played for Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup where he had just a goal and an assist in five tournament games. When he returned to the WHL he started to heat up until a broken collar bone ended his season in January.
When he returns to the ice next season, he should be one of the top producers on a very dangerous offensive team. He has great speed but just needs to work on getting a quicker first step. While McClennon has a great shot, he has shown that he is more comfortable being a complementary player. He will need to gain confidence in his own abilities to become a more independent goal scorer.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Connor McClennon – NHL Draft Projection
McClennon was not invited to the CHL Top Prospects Game, whose rosters were announced before his injury. When factor that in along with his collar bone break, it is unlikely he goes in the first two rounds of the draft. Most scouts and mock drafts have him as a mid-to-late third-round draft pick. He should still be selected within the top 100 picks and could prove to be diamond in the rough.
“McClennon isn’t a huge driver of offense on his own — despite an excellent motor and quality shot — but has the offensive instincts to be effective in a complementary role. He has enough skill and finishing ability to have an NHL future, with the potential to carve out a career similar to Jordan Eberle.” Larry Fisher, The Hockey Writers
“I see a player with a high level of hockey sense who can make plays and score goals. McClennon is a small forward without elite speed, but I still think he skates very well and often is the zone entry guy for his club team. He competes well and kills penalties in the WHL. I like his tools, I like his track record the last few years and I think he’s going to be a very good pro.” Corey Pronman (from Ranking the 2020 Draft top prospects at midseason, The Athletic, 1/29/20)
“I’m trying to get bigger and stronger to play against the bigger opponents but I’m also trying to get faster. Being a smaller player, you need speed and the ability to be elusive is a huge factor in playing against the bigger guys. I’m lucky to have a good training partner in [former WHL player] Adam Huxley who has been pushing me in the right direction in preparing for next season.” Connor McClennon
- Finishing ability
- Hockey IQ
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
The ceiling is high for McClennon, who has shown he can produce at every level he’s played at so far. He is a raw product who will need time to become a more complete player. While he may never be a Hart Trophy candidate, he has the chance to be a very good secondary scorer and playmaker at the NHL level.
Risk – 4.5/5 | Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10 | Defense – 6/10
McClennon won back-to-back Bantam championships in the CSSBHL in 2017 and 2018. He was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2016-17 with the most goals (54), assists (45) and points (99). He led the 2018 U17 World Hockey Challenge with eight goals and 11 points. He won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.