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Red Wings add depth while signing a local product in Chris Conner

Updated 2x at 1:08 PM: Well, he’s neither big nor strong, but the Red Wings have at least added a depth forward who should help the Grand Rapids Griffins in former Pittsburgh Penguin Chris Conner:


…  Former Michigan Tech Star and Westland Native has Skated in 139 Career NHL Games with Pittsburgh and Dallas …

Detroit, MI… Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the club has signed free agent forward Chris Conner to a one-year contract.  In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

Conner has registered 16G-24A-40P in 139 career NHL games as a member of the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins. The 27-year-old native of Westland , Mich. originally began his professional hockey career in 2006 with the Iowa Stars (AHL) after spending four seasons with the Michigan Tech Huskies (WCHA) during which he tallied 69G-60A-129P in 151 games played. Conner has recorded 72G-102A-174P in 218 appearances at the AHL level with Iowa , Peoria and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Chris Conner

Right Wing

Born Dec 23 1983 —Westland, MI

Height 5.08—Weight 175—Shoots L

                            —- Regular Season—- ——Playoffs——

Season   Team                 Lge   GP   G   A Pts PIM GP   G   A Pts PIM


2000-01 Chicago Freeze         NAHL   56   17   28   45   18

2001-02 Compuware Ambassadors     NAHL   19   4   9   13   23

2001-02 Chicago Freeze         NAHL   30   18   15   33   30

2002-03 Michigan Tech           WCHA   38   13   24   37   8

2003-04 Michigan Tech           WCHA   38   25   14   39   12

2004-05 Michigan Tech           WCHA   37   14   10   24   6

2005-06 Michigan Tech           WCHA   38   17   12   29   18

2005-06 Iowa Stars             AHL   15   2   3   5   0   7   1   1   2   2

2006-07 Iowa Stars             AHL   48   19   18   37   24 12   2   5   7   2

2006-07 Dallas Stars           NHL   11   1   2   3   4 —————

2007-08 Iowa Stars             AHL   55   13   26   39   17 —————

2007-08 Dallas Stars           NHL   22   3   2   5   6   1   0   0   0   0

2008-09 Dallas Stars           NHL   38   3   10   13   10 —————

2008-09 Peoria Rivermen         AHL   30   16   12   28   10 —————

2009-10 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pen   AHL   59   19   37   56   21   4   2   2   4   2

2009-10 Pittsburgh Penguins       NHL   8   2   1   3   0   1   0   0   0   0

2010-11 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pen   AHL   11   3   6   9   2 —————

2010-11 Pittsburgh Penguins       NHL   60   7   9   16   10   7   1   0   1   0


      NHL Totals                 139   16   24   40   30   9   1   0   1   0

Update: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan confirms, and MLive’s Ansar Khan offers the following biography...

The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Westland native has 16 goals, 24 assists and 30 penalty minutes in 139 games over parts of five NHL seasons with Dallas and Pittsburgh.

Conner scored the game-winning goal, on a penalty shot against Joey MacDonald, in the Penguins’ 4-1 win over the Red Wings on Jan. 18 at the Consol Energy Center.

He played four years at Michigan Tech and wasn’t drafted.

No contract details yet. It’s probably a two-way contract. Guessing he’ll compete for a spot in training camp, but the team already has 13 forwards on one-way deals and a 14th, Cory Emmerton, who must clear waivers to be sent back to Grand Rapids.

And Khan went to the same place I did—the Sports Forecaster—to learn about the 27-year-old:

ASSETS: Displays blazing speed and plenty of energy every shift. Works extremely hard and can play either wing position. Produces points at lower levels.

FLAWS: Is fairly tiny by today’s NHL standards and lacks the strength to win battles in the corners regularly. Also lacks a little hockey sense and confidence at the highest level.

CAREER POTENTIAL: Speedy depth winger with a lack of size.

Update #2: The Free Press’s George Sipple confirms...

Wings general manager Ken Holland confirmed in a text message that Conner signed a two-way contract.

He’ll likely be a depth forward, as the team already has 13 forwards signed to one-way contracts, plus Cory Emmerton, who would have to clear waivers to be sent back to Grand Rapids (AHL).

Conner (5-8, 180) is a native of Westland who starred at Michigan Tech from 2002-2006. He set career-highs with seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 60 games for the Penguins last season. He also played in seven playoff games for the Penguins, scoring one goal.

In 139 career NHL games, between the Stars and Penguins, Connner has 16 goals, 24 assists and 40 points.

As does the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness, who ponders what impact Conner might have upon the depth chart:

Conner, 27, will have to fight for a roster spot heading into camp.

After re-signing Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, the Wings have 13 forwards heading into camp on one-way contracts.

Cory Emmerton is on a two-way deal, but if the Wings were to send him back to Grand Rapids he would have to clear waivers to do so and any team could claim him.

There’s also a good possibility that Kris Draper will receive an invite to camp to compete for a roster spot.

Draper has said he wants to play another season, preferably with Detroit.

Last year, the Wings offered Kirk Maltby a two-way deal to come to training camp. Maltby did not make the team and decided to retire from hockey rather than reporting to the Griffins.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



We got Stanley.

Posted by jmb on 07/07/11 at 02:05 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

I know he beat McDonald on a penalty shot last season, but don’t let him take a penalty shot in the playoffs.


Posted by cs6687 on 07/07/11 at 02:13 PM ET


He’ll go into the corners, initiate contact with the defenseman and knock the much larger guy down, it’s great fun to watch.

Goodbye Chris Conner.

Posted by NathanBC on 07/07/11 at 02:13 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

Kick ass!

Posted by The Meal from Longmont, CO on 07/07/11 at 02:15 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Thank the Lord !!!! Bylsma Boy Toy is with the RW’s Thanks Guys

Posted by Evilpens on 07/07/11 at 02:54 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I don’t hate this.  Wings could use another guy like this IMHO…

Posted by Primis on 07/07/11 at 03:23 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I’m sure Tick Tock had a talk with Uncle Mike about bolstering speed in the forwards position.  It just seems…Babcockian to have fast forwards.

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 07/07/11 at 04:33 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

He’s not a Bad little player but he has limitations

Posted by Evilpens on 07/07/11 at 04:59 PM ET


Hell of a player at Mich Tech when I got a chance to go to games. Obviously not built for the NHL but you never know what might happen.

Posted by Joe on 07/07/11 at 05:17 PM ET


I cannot beleive the pens let Conner go!  Cheers to the WIngs…I watched this guy at Tech and he can score!  Not a big forward but really quick and simply fun to watch!  Cannot wait to see him in a Winged Wheel Sweater!!! grin

Posted by trig34 from oxford, mi on 07/07/11 at 05:37 PM ET


-great work ethic. Fantastic hustle.
-lots of speed
-so much speed that he causes D to blow assignments off controlled breakouts. Sometimes that ripple-effected into a goal for his line
-more physical than you would think, given his size

-even-strength-only player (he’s far too small to take up lanes on the pk)
-no hands. At all. I’d feel more comfortable with Hal Gill on a breakaway than Conner.
-very small. He’s listed at 5-8, but is probably closer to 5-1.
-stronger defensemen make him a nonfactor on the forecheck/cycle. If the other team has big, mobile D, just scratch him, because he can’t contribute in any way against guys like that.

Conner IS a very useful player, but the situations in which he can be useful are sort of specific.

I expect him to make Detroit, not Grand Rapids, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t play every night.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/07/11 at 07:02 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

This is just another GRG re-stock player.  Does anyone actually believe he’ll play even ten games with the red wings?  Who cares…...

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/07/11 at 08:35 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Who cares…...

I do. Shut up.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/07/11 at 08:42 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I was given the OK to post this puppy so I did. Conner and Exelby aren’t exactly household names, but they’re going to help the Griffins and give the Wings some solid call-ups-in-waiting.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/07/11 at 08:44 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

  Who cares…...

I do. Shut up.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/07/11 at 06:42 PM ET

a crazy hockey fan saying this, and i’m sorry, but info on career ahl/nhl tweeners is worthless.  I feel bad that you care.  It’s just pathetic.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/07/11 at 10:04 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

There is no such thing as worthless information, just different priorities.

Your priorities seem to be more concerned with complaining about your favorite team and calling other people pathetic.

My priorities are more focused on non-stupid things.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/07/11 at 10:11 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

I’m sorry, I apoligize for being a realist who would rather have some worth in life rather than worrying about a friggen dwarf AHL pickup.  He’s not a prospect.  What’s his potential?  Temporary injury fill-in on the fourth-line.  Wow really wanna know about this guy.  Pfff.  Some non-stupid focus.  Let’s debate whether Legace will be our back-up this year, or better yet what’s Alexi Yashin up to while we at it.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/07/11 at 10:18 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

You’re not being a realist, you’re being a jerk.

For somebody who cares so little about Conner, you sure seem to know a lot about him.

I’d tell you about his potential, but you already told us all that you don’t care.  You care more about arguing on a hockey blog about how much you don’t care.

That’s a pretty stupid priority.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/07/11 at 10:21 PM ET


Conner will make the Wings after they trade for a top 6 forward later in the year.

A line with Conner Helm Eaves would electrify the Joe.

I see a Filppula, Hulder, and prospect being traded for a top 6 forward.

Posted by Tech fan from Hockeytown on 07/24/11 at 09:06 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.