Weight: 170 pounds
Date of birth: January 15, 2001
Hometown: Ajax, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 1, 11th overall, 2017 OHL Priority Selection (Hamilton Bulldogs)
NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Preseason, C Prospect, November, B Prospect
Connor McMichael Captained his Ajax/Pickering minor midget AAA squad during the 2016-2017 season where he established himself as an offensive threat tallying 35 goals and 27 assists in 34 games. He would add 7 goals and 3 assists in 7 playoff games.
There was talk that, his OHL draft season, that McMichael showed brilliance and a solid two-way game but lacked in consistency. That’s not to suggest I agree with that take. Some OHL draft rankings had him pegged as a second-round pick. But the Hamilton Bulldogs saw the potential and used the 11th overall pick to select him at the 2017 OHL Priority Selection.
This is what OHL Central Scouting had to say about McMichael at the time:
Connor is one of the top players in this year’s class. He is a skilled centre that is dangerous every time he is on the ice. He is deceivingly quick and has very good separation speed. His pucks skills are elite and he has great one-on-one moves. Connor is a threat whenever he has the puck on his stick. He sees the ice better than most do at this age and has the ability to find the open man and put the puck in a position for that player to get a good chance.
McMichael’s rookie season saw him play 32 games for the Bulldogs in which he scored 5 goals and added 5 assists. On January 8, 2018, he became the center piece in a deal that brought Robert Thomas to the Bulldogs for a championship run – a run they succeeded in, capturing the OHL title.
At the time of the trade, Knights’ General Manager Rob Simpson had this to say: “He was a player that we were extremely interested in. He added, He’s got skill, he’s got excellent hockey sense, he can make plays and score and he has a deceptive shot as well. We are very happy to be able to bring him in and build around him.”
The Knights are recognized as being one of the top teams in the Canadian Hockey League in preparing players for the next level. And that bodes well for McMichael.
As of today, McMichael has appeared in 37 games for the Knights scoring 25 goals and 21 assists and his 46 points trails only Arthur Kaliyev of the Bulldogs among draft eligible players.
McMichael is an excellent two-way player with an extremely high hockey IQ. He is a very strong puck possession player. His anticipation is very good. He is a very effective forechecker and does not shy away from playing in the dirty areas. Once he adds more muscle and mass, he should become even more effective.
McMichael sees the ice extremely well. He will at times take chances making plays that most wouldn’t try, but that’s rare. He usually sticks to making the safe play. He puts the effort required to be successful in all three zones. He plays in any and all situations.
If there is an area I would like to see him continue to work on it’s his skating. He’s a good skater – strong on his skates, good edge work, can move east-west well. But I would like to see him add an extra gear to his first few strides and top end speed. I’m not concerned as that can be worked on, and by all accounts, McMichael is more then willing to put in the effort.
McMichael started off as a C prospect on NHL Central Scouting’s list of players to watch. In November, they moved him up to a B prospect. And he hasn’t slowed down, but he’s actually increased his pace. And I suspect he will continue to rise until draft day.
McMichael was selected to represent Team Orr at the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Here at OHL Writers, we selected McMichael as our draft eligible Player of the Month for December.