Florida Panthers Top 25 Under 25: #16 Connor Brickley

Brickley emerged as a prospect to watch in '14-15, and there is every reason to believe he will continue to improve upon that performance.

Connor Brickley

Position: Left Wing

Birthdate: 2/25/1992 (23)

Acquired: 2nd round selection (#50 overall) 2010 NHL Entry Draft

2014-15 Team/League: San Antonio Rampage (AHL)


73 22 25 47 66 +8

Nationality: New Englander!

Size: 6'2"; 195 lbs.

Contract Status: Final Year of Entry-Level Contract ($592,500)

As an avid college hockey fan, I have paid attention to Connor Brickley, following him after he was drafted by the Panthers in 2010 and attended the University of Vermont. The problem was that there was not much to follow. Brickley endured injury after injury in Burlington, and finished his 4-year career with the Catamounts having played only 117 games. More problematic was that he never set the world on fire when he was playing games for Vermont. In eight games with the San Antonio Rampage at the conclusion of the 2013-14 AHL season (after leaving UVM), he had one goal and one assist, hardly anything to get excited about. Thus, prior to the 2015-16 season I had more or less written this prospect off.....until rookie camp.

Brickley showed up at rookie camp in 2015 and stood out. I recall watching him and having to look at the player's list to figure out who he was because he looked exceptional. Well, surprise, surprise, the young winger came to play last season. In 73 games with the Rampage he popped in 22 goals and added an additional 25 assists. He was among the team leaders in all offensive categories, and he did it all while playing a very solid two-way game. Also take note of the number of games played: 73. Brickley played a hard two-way game and was a force around the net while remaining injury free. Hello world, meet Connor Brickley.

From Hockey's Future:

Brickley is a two-way player with a dedicated work ethic. He plays bigger than his size and is strong on the puck and on his skates. Brickley possesses the requisite skills necessary to play at the pro level and made strides in terms of physical development and tactical play during his college career at the University of Vermont. Brickley plays the full length of the ice and plays mostly mistake-free hockey.

Brickley attended his first NHL training camp with the Panthers before being assigned to AHL affiliate San Antonio at the start of the 2014-15 season. Like teammate Garrett Wilson he has provided toughness and timely goal scoring for the Rampage in his first pro season. While Brickley is awaiting his first NHL call-up, he has been a steady force in his first pro season and his two-way play has been a big part of San Antonio's push for a playoff spot. At this point he projects as more of a checking-line player in the NHL with some limited offensive upside; a steady presence with leadership capabilities who should fit in well with some of the young skill players making their way into the Panthers' lineup

Hockey's Future makes an apt comparison of Connor to Garrett Wilson, as both had top-of-the-lineup offensive numbers last season while playing a tenacious two-way style of play. Wilson is both older and bigger than Brickley, and had a brief NHL call-up last season. Both young men typically play the left side as well. Either one of the two could find a place on the Panthers 3rd or 4th lines this coming season, but expect Wilson to have the leg up at this point due to age and experience. But this is not an altogether bad thing: most prognosticators expect this Everett, Massachusetts native to play on the Portland Pirates top line this coming season. If the injury bug hits the Panthers forward crew and Brickley is indeed in Portland, expect him to see time as a call-up.

If Brickley can maintain his .64 point-per-game pace, or improve upon it with first line minutes, expect him to get a new contract and find time as a 3rd, or more likely 4th line wing for the Panthers after the bottom-6 pool sorts itself out this season. As most prospects never become NHL regulars, it will be a fantastic accomplishment if Connor can take on a 4th line role. In the meantime, another injury free season of top minutes and production in the AHL will cement his status as an emerging top prospect for the Cats.

Where We Voted for Brickley:
Shane Todd JC Kevin Donny
20 15 15 19 16
Who We Voted 16th:
Shane Todd JC Kevin Donny
Jayce Hawryluk Jayce Hawryluk Jayce Hawryluk Ian McCoshen Connor Brickley