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Conner Bleackley (born February 7, 1996) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player. He is currently playing with the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL. Bleackley was originally selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft,[1] but was not signed to an entry-level contract, forcing him to re-enter the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, whereupon he was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the fifth round, 144th overall.

Conner Bleackley
Conner bleackley red deer rebels 1.jpg
Born (1996-02-07) February 7, 1996 (age 23)
High River, Alberta, Canada
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Right
ECHL team
Former teams
Idaho Steelheads
Chicago Wolves
San Antonio Rampage
Texas Stars
NHL Draft 23rd overall, 2014
Colorado Avalanche
144th overall, 2016
St. Louis Blues
Playing career 2016–present

Playing careerEdit

Bleackley was selected by the Red Deer Rebels in the 1st round (21st overall) of the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft from AAA Bantam club the Okotoks Oilers.[2] After playing a further half season of midget hockey with the UFA Bisons of Strathmore in the Alberta Midget Hockey League he made his WHL debut in the 2011–12 season.

In only his second full season with the Red Deer Rebels he was named team captain as a 17-year-old for the 2013–14 season.[3] Bleackley whilst showing positional versatility broke out offensively with the Rebels, producing a career high 29 goals and 68 points in 71 games. His outstanding play was further rewarded when he was chosen to skate in the 2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.[4]

Bleackley draft stock rose and he finished the season rated as a top prospect[5] who was viewed as a possible first round selection heading into the 2014 NHL Entry Draft before he was selected by the Colorado Avalanche.[6] In Bleackley's first NHL training camp, the Avalanche were critical of his conditioning and promptly returned him to the WHL without an entry-level contract.[7] In the 2014–15 season, Bleackley continued his scoring pace from previous seasons with 27 goals and 49 points in 51 games. On February 6, Bleackley suffered a strained groin, effectively ruling him out until the post-season in which Red Deer suffered a first-round exit.[7]

During the off-season in the lead up to the 2015–16 season, Bleackley returned to the Avalanche rookie and training camp with ambition to earn an entry-level contract.[8] With an improved physical performance, Bleackley was later returned for his final season of junior after competing in a pre-season game with the Avalanche. Prior to the commencement of the WHL season, Bleackley was relinquished of the captaincy by the Rebels, with coach Brent Sutter explaining the intent to focus on reaching his potential.[9] With a guaranteed berth at the 2016 Memorial Cup, Bleackley struggled in the early stages of the year offensively. Bleackley picked up his offensive production and scored 41 points in 47 games before suffering a broken kneecap against the Everett Silvertips on January 23, 2016.[10]

With the Avalanche intending not to offer Bleackley a contract, at the trade deadline on February 29, 2016, his rights were included in a trade alongside Alex Tanguay and fellow prospect Kyle Wood to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Mikkel Boedker.[11] Citing his injury history, the Coyotes also declined to offer Bleackley a contract and instead chose to receive a compensatory second-round draft pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft; Bleackley will be required to re-enter the same draft.[12]

After his re-selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues, on July 2, 2016, Bleackley was finally signed to a three-year, entry-level contract.[13]

At the conclusion of his entry-level contract, Bleackley was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blues, releasing him to become a free agent on June 25, 2019.[14] Unable to attract NHL interest, Bleackley was signed to a one-year ECHL contract with the Idaho Steelheads on September 3, 2019.[15] He was invited to attend the Steelheads AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars training camp prior to the 2019-20 season. On October 5, 2019 after a successful camp he was signed to a professional try-out contract with Texas to remain on the roster.[16]

International playEdit

As a 17-year-old he was chosen to compete with the team representing Canada Pacific at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge, and as an 18-year-old he help Team Canada capture the bronze medal at the 2014 IIHF World U18 Championships.[17]

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2011–12 UFA Bisons AMHL 26 13 17 30 41 2 0 0 0 0
2011–12 Red Deer Rebels WHL 16 2 0 2 6
2012–13 Red Deer Rebels WHL 66 9 9 18 28 9 2 1 3 0
2013–14 Red Deer Rebels WHL 71 29 39 68 48 1 0 1 1 0
2014–15 Red Deer Rebels WHL 51 27 22 49 49 5 1 1 2 4
2015–16 Red Deer Rebels WHL 55 13 33 46 49
2016–17 Chicago Wolves AHL 45 2 8 10 8 2 0 0 0 5
2016–17 Missouri Mavericks ECHL 14 7 10 17 14
2017–18 Tulsa Oilers ECHL 40 19 19 38 82
2017–18 Chicago Wolves AHL 7 0 1 1 2
2017–18 San Antonio Rampage AHL 13 1 0 1 7
2018–19 San Antonio Rampage AHL 57 5 11 16 35
AHL totals 122 8 20 28 52 2 0 0 0 5

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2013 Canada Pacific U17 5th 5 3 1 4 12
2014 Canada WJC18   7 1 1 2 4
Junior totals 12 4 2 6 16

Awards and honoursEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Conner Bleackley selected by Avs with No. 23 pick in draft". Denver Post. June 27, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "Rebels pick Conner Bleackley". Red Deer Rebels. May 5, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  3. ^ "Hockey's Future: Conner Bleackley". HockeysFuture.com. October 21, 2013. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Red Deer Rebels' Conner Bleackley fond of High River roots". Calgary Sun. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  5. ^ "Red Deer Rebels' Conner Bleackley readies for NHL Scouting Combine". National Hockey League. June 20, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  6. ^ "Conner Bleackley: 2014 NHL Draft Prospect Profile". In Lou We Trust. May 23, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Avalanche draft pick Bleackley working toward his time in the NHL". Denver Post. July 7, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  8. ^ "Prospect Bleackley relishes learning". Colorado Avalanche. September 18, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  9. ^ "Colorado Avalanche prospect Conner Bleackley stripped of captaincy". bsndenver.com. October 15, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  10. ^ "Rebels lose Bleackley to broken kneecap". thecoachessite.com. January 26, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  11. ^ "Alex Tanguay, prospects traded to Arizona for Mikkel Boedker". Denver Post. February 29, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  12. ^ "Coyotes' Bleackley to re-enter draft". thescore.com. June 15, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  13. ^ "Blues add depth, agree to terms with 9 players". St. Louis Blues. July 1, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  14. ^ "Blues extend qualifying offers to 9 players". St. Louis Blues. June 25, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  15. ^ "Forward Conner Bleackley joins Steelheads". Idaho Steelheads. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  16. ^ "Texas Stars announce training camp roster". Texas Stars. September 24, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  17. ^ "High River's Conner Bleackley Poised and Ready For NHL Draft". HighriverOnline.com. June 20, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  18. ^ "Team Orr beats Team Cherry in CHL Top Prospects Game". The Globe and Mail. January 16, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  19. ^ "Rebel paces Pacific into top five". OkotoksWesternWheel.com. January 9, 2013. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  20. ^ "Canada Claims Bronze at World Under-18 Championships". Okotoksonline.com. April 28, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Nathan MacKinnon
Colorado Avalanche first round draft pick
2014
Succeeded by
Mikko Rantanen