Joe Connor Drafted by Tampa Bay Lightning

Incoming freshman forward Joe Connor was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round of the 2024 NHL Draft. He was the 195th overall selection. Connor was someone that we (and other fans and evaluators) expected to be taken last year, in his first year of eligibility, but somehow the NHL collectively did not think to select the New Hampshire native. After a breakout campaign with Muskegon in the USHL, Tampa Bay righted the wrongs of the league by making Connor their man.

Connor is a 5-foot-10, 175 pound left shot winger who had a very successful first full USHL season, totaling 60 points (31 goals) with the Lumberjacks last year, and added 5 more points in 8 playoff games. He previously played at Avon Old Farms (Connecticut) in the New England prep school ranks. He’s been seen as one of the better players in New England in his age range for many years now. He is the third player to come to Northeastern having been drafted by Tampa Bay: Francois Bouchard was selected in the 1994 draft as a supplemental pick by Tampa, and had a four year career at Northeastern; and Matt Marshall was a fifth round pick by Tampa in 2007, but never played for the Huskies after transferring to Northeastern after a four year career at Vermont. Northeastern has never had an alumnus play for the Tampa Bay Lightning before.

Scouting Report

Joe Connor is one of my favorite prospects to come to Northeastern in some time. A complete player in all three zones, he has a tireless motor and is competitive at every part of the ice. He is a fluid skater with great athleticism, and despite not being the biggest player on the ice, he is incredibly hard to play against both when he is in the offensive zone, or when he is on the defensive. He has a hard, heavy shot which can pick corners, but he is not afraid to get into the dirty areas of the ice and fight for prime real estate in the slot. In their 2024 Draft Guide, Elite Prospects wrote: “North-south speed and non-stop movement power Connor’s game. He gives himself a chance on every puck by hustling where most players coast. When he gets the puck, he charges ahead, fires in stride, and crashes the net for the rebound.” Further evaluators call Connor one of the best “pests” in the draft; specifically, the line was “Gritty little ball of hate is a major pain in the ass.” To me, this sounds like Northeastern might just have their own version of Brad Marchand on the roster for the next couple years. As one evaluator put it to me late last year: Joe Connor has All-American potential at Northeastern. Get excited folks, this kid will be a fan favorite early and for a long time.


Given the vacancies greated in the Huskies’ top six with the graduation of Alex Campbell and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, there are openings in the top two lines at left wing. Naturally, Connor could slide in there seamlessly. Quinnipiac transfer Christophe Tellier is the other player I would expect to fill a top six left wing opening, likely the top line slot considering his experience. That would leave the second line for Connor, who should transition well to Hockey East and the Division 1 level with the success he had last year in the USHL. Connor should also profile on the Huskies’ powerplay and could even see time on the penalty kill given the nature of his game. In the Madigan/Keefe era it’s been uncommon to see a freshman start in the top six right off the bat, but Joe Connor has the profile and makeup to break that mold and establish himself immediately as a contributor and a fan favorite.

Congratulations to Joe on being drafted by Tampa Bay! Can’t wait to see him on the ice in the Fall. Less than 100 days, friends.

As always, go Huskies!