If you were to see Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Cory Conacher up close, you’d probably look right past him.
Generously listed at 5’8″ and 180 pounds he doesn’t stand out physically with their AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch. On the ice, however, he’s the defending AHL MVP after scoring 39 goals with 41 assists for the Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals.
With big talent and small stature as well as hailing from a small college program at Canisius, he’s got someone in Tampa Bay to emulate in Martin St. Louis. Like Conacher, St. Louis went undrafted and put up big numbers in college at the University of Vermont and Conacher is more than flattered by comparisons.
“There’s people out there that kind of relate me to St. Louis,” Conacher says. “But I’ve still got a long way to go. He was my mentor going into camp last year and he taught me a lot.”
“It’s a huge compliment to me to be considered even in the same range as him. Hopefully one of these days I can play alongside him in a regular season game. Obviously the lockout has to end and if that happens that’d be a dream come true. I look up to a guy like him.”
With the lockout in full effect, Conacher is finding himself up against NHL-level defenseman and through the Crunch’s first four games, he’s still piling up points. Conacher is enjoying the challenge.
“It gives you a bit of confidence when that happens. It’s not just me, it’s my awesome, awesome linemates (Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat) that we have. We had chemistry last year and it came back pretty quick so far this year.”
If he can keep scoring goals and defend his MVP award, he’ll have the Lightning front office hoping he can keep being “awesome” at the NHL level.