Injuries may have messed with Kevin Connauton's Arizona Coyotes season before it ever started. After a strong showing last year as a January waiver wire pick up, the Coyotes signed Kevin Connauton to a two year deal, presumably to compete for a bottom-four role. But with an injury leading into training camp and the quick ascension of Jakob Chychrun, Coyotes fans didn't see a lot of Kevin Connauton in the '16-'17 season. And what little time he did play (Only 24 games with 13:08 average ice time, lowest among Coyotes defenders) wasn't particularly memorable (only 1 assist tallied in those 24 games).
On one level, Connauton's season was frustrating, but also about what you would expect for a team's seventh defenseman. And with all six of the defensemen ahead of him on the depth chart returning next season, it's hard to see where Connauton fits in going forward. But with another year in a Coyotes sweater and a pending expansion draft, it's important to diagnose what exactly the Coyotes have in Connauton. Is he more than just a depth defenseman?
What do the numbers say?
As previously stated, examining Connauton's '16-'17 season might be an exercise in folly. He didn't play enough games, and didn't get enough ice time in the games he did play to give him a true evaluation. As more or less a direct result of that, Connauton only notched a single point. So counting numbers aren't going to be the way to gauge Connauton.
But when we look at rate and pace statistics, it paints an interesting picture of Connauton (courtesy www.corsica.hockey):
|Games played||Avg TOI/G||CorsiFor%||CorsiFor60||CorsiAgainst60||FenwickFor%||Goals For||Goals Against||PDO|
Now, most of those numbers aren't great. But, relative to the rest of the Coyotes defenseman, Connauton actually generates a good bit of offense. His Corsi For% was the second best tally on the team last year, behind Anthony DeAngelo and Connor Murphy. That meshes well with what we know of Connauton as a player from his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the end of his '15-'16 campaign in a Coyotes sweater -- he can generate offense. His HERO Chart (from Dom Galamini at Own the Puck) says as much: