BRAMPTON, ON. — The Montreal Canadiens have been looking to add size to their abundance of speedy forwards. That prompted the Habs to draft Connor Crisp in the third round (71st overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. At 6-feet-3-inches and a healthy 225-pounds, he is the prototypical power forward that Montreal desires.
Crisp was passed over in the NHL Entry Draft in his first year of eligibility and was not in the top 210 North American skaters in the final rankings from Central Scouting in 2013. However, as I have repeated over and over, the Canadiens scouts saw the potential in his game and took a chance with a third round pick.
Connor was passed over by the other NHL teams due to his penchant to be injury prone. In the three years that he played for the Erie Otters of the OHL, he missed almost a third of his rookie season with a concussion. In his second season, he only played six games due to a shoulder injury and those two injuries prompted NHL teams to back away. In his third season, he posted solid numbers with the Otters, accumulating 36 points and 139 penalty minutes (PIM) in 63 games.
Crisp was traded to the Sudbury Wolves the following year and posted similar numbers (67 games played, 55 points, 120 PIM). In both of his final two seasons in the OHL, he was a top two-way forward.
Crisp began his pro career in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs, getting into 39 games and filled the role of enforcer piling up 102 PIM and only five points that season. In his second season with the IceCaps, he was hit again with the injury bug. It was quite literally this time, suffering a concussion in a fight and limited him to 10 games that season.
This season, he has spent the majority of the year in the ECHL with the Brampton Beast. This move has seen his role expanded, with the writing on the wall with fighting in hockey, it has allowed Crisp to work on his offensive side of his game.
In his first two pro seasons, he was asked to be an energy forward and fighter with a bottom three role. This season, Crisp has played in all situations with the Beast. With the abundance of offensive talent that the Beast possess, it is impressive that Crisp has 19 points in 26 games played with Brampton. He has also been a physical presence, using his size to his advantage without having to drop his gloves.
Connor has above average skating ability for his size and it shows at the ECHL level. He is a solid two-way forward that rarely forgets his defensive responsibility. With work and more game action, he will develop his shot into an NHL-calibre one.
He needs to prove to management, and more importantly himself, that he can stay healthy. This season he has done just that and more, excelling at several aspects of his game. With another full season in the ECHL and shedding the injury bug, Connor will finally be allowed to develop into the power forward that Montreal saw in the OHL.
Edited by Donna Sim