Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Is Conner Bleackley headed back into the draft this June?

Conner Bleackley is getting a chance to show his stuff with the Red Deer Rebels at the Memorial Cup, which isn't a bad thing for him.  He has fought through injuries this season, and has yet to sign an Entry Level Contract with the Phoenix Coyotes, who acquired his rights from the Colorado Avalanche in the Michael Boedker trade.

I couldn’t find the article online with a quick Google, but I’d read that the moment Conner Bleackley showed up at the Avalanche training camp, Patrick Roy was seriously disenchanted, and if I remember correctly some scouts were fired over it. He apparently was not his type of player at all, not the player he felt the Avalanche can use in their system.

Which surprised me a little bit, lots of glowing reviews on him before the draft, how he might land in Montréal with our first-round pick, lots of heart and grit and character, blah blah blah. But it didn’t surprise me that the Avs flipped him to the Coyotes in the Michael Boedker trade, considering.

Looking at his stats, his production is headed the wrong way, points total diminishing both years since he was drafted.

We Canadiens fans and draft nerds had our mini-breakdown about Daniel Pribyl signing a contract with Calgary this spring a few years after we let his rights expire, and we had some back and forth over Brady Vail not being offered a contract. These were sixth and fourth-round picks, respectively. And both are still very far from the NHL.

But to completely whiff on a first-round pick like the Avalanche did with Conner Bleackley, a 23rd overall selection, that they weren’t going to even offer him a contract, is staggering.

That there’s that much of a disconnect within the organization that the scouting and hockey ops staff are that far apart that immediately on a player, doesn’t reflect well on that organization, in how Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy have set up this team.