Kevin Connauton has played like he wants to keep his roster spot on the Dallas Stars.
The rookie defenseman, acquired in a trade on April 2, 2013 that sent Derek Roy to the Vancouver Canucks, has only played three of the Stars’ 27 games this season thus far. With the recent unfortunate injuries to Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley, however, that is likely going to change.
Connauton has played two straight games for the Stars, and Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs he came through in a crucial moment when he assisted on Shawn Horcoff‘s game-tying power play goal late in the third period. Overall, Connauton had five shots on goal, including three in a 1:31 span in overtime.
Looking more closely at Connauton’s performance against the Leafs, Dallas attempted 20 shots at Toronto’s net during 5-on-5 and surrendered only five, equating to an 80 percent Corsi-For Percentage (CF Percent) with Connauton on the ice. The only Stars player with a higher on-ice CF Percent was Sergei Gonchar at 86.5 percent (32 Corsi-For, 5 Corsi-Against). Overall, the Stars attempted 95 shots against the Leafs, and Connauton contributed significantly to that total which should really encourage Stars fans going forward.
After only playing 10:13 against the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night, Connauton played 15:22 against the Leafs, including 35 seconds on the power play. As somebody who has battled all season for a consistent spot in the lineup, this game was exactly what Connauton needed to prove he belonged and will improve his confidence. The more confident Connauton becomes, the more likely Stars fans will see him unleash his 99.4 mile-per-hour slap shot.
Right now it is Connauton’s time to shine and prove he belongs on the Stars’ defense, and he better take advantage of it. Thursday night was a great start for him.