Flyers Prospect Watch: Connor Bunnaman is “happy to be a Flyer”, opens up on time in AHL

Dave Hakstol, Connor Bunnaman
Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol instructs center Connor Bunnaman (82) during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Newark, N.J. The Devils won 2-0. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

For the past few seasons the Philadelphia Flyers have been inconsistent when it comes to scoring goals. One game they would dominate with a ton of goals, and the next game they would putter. As the Flyers search for more consistency, just who remains down on the farm that could help the organization? Say hello to Center Connor Bunnaman. I was fortunate enough to have a phone interview with him recently, and he can’t wait to showcase his skills as a member of the Flyers organization.

Connor Bunnaman was born on April 16, 1998, in Guelph, ON, CAN. The Flyers selected Bunnaman in the 4th round of the 2016 NHL Draft. They were high on him after he produced a solid 2015-16 season for the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL. Bunnaman tallied 16 goals, and 22 assists for a total of 38 points in 68 games played. So just who is Bunnaman?

I’m a team first guy. My goals are points for the team. This is how I’ve been trained. I focus more on the team rather than myself. Honestly, I try to do anything the team asks of me. Leadership wise I’m one of the older guys in the group, so I try to do the best I can. I’m a hardworker.”

Bunnaman appears to be a natural goal scorer. He had a career year with the Kitchener Rangers in the 2016-17 season, as he produced 37 goals, and 15 assists for a total of 52 points in 64 games played. This caught the eye of the Flyers top brass, and they signed Bunnamaman to an entry-level contract on April 21, 2017. Bunnaman was over joyed by this occassion as one could imagine, and it brought him back to the day he was drafted by the Flyers.

It was amazing. My buddies and family came out. It was amazing to put the Flyers jersey on. I sort of knew that the Flyers were going to select me. You’re never 100% certain, but I sort of had the feeling. The moment I put the Flyers jersey on it is a day I will never forget.”

Bunnaman continued to state, “But, I’m happy to be a part of the Flyers organization, and I will work to get better.”

The 19 year old phenom works to get better in the off season. He has a normal routine on game day, but there are many people along the way that have helped him to get to this point in his career.

It adds pressure that the Flyers brass have noticed, but leadership wise I just try to put the puck in the net and stay focused. I learned a lot when I spent time in the AHL. I learned a lot from Andrew Macdonald and Scott Laughton. They helped me out tremendously having that veteran leadership pushing me and guiding me. It helps me become a successful player in the NHL, or how to get better. So, I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

Bunnaman continued, “But, my parents defined me. Mostly my dad. He told me just shoot pucks (Laughing). Mom hasn’t missed a game in the OHL. She’s been to every one. She’s amazing. I’m a family first guy.”

With how successful Bunnaman has been in his hockey career thus far, it would be hard to imagine him playing another sport. But, when he was younger he played a ton of sports thanks to his dad.

“I played mostly and baseball throughout my childhood. But, then my dad put me in a lot of sports. I played badminton in school. I realized I was better at hockey, so I stuck to that. Look where I am at today (Laughing).”

The Kitchener Rangers product, Bunnaman realizes his hardwork has gotten him this far. In addition, he realizes the fans have high expectations of him too. He understands Philadelphia is a hard working city, so he has a unique message to the fans.

I’m a hardworking gritty guy. I try to put the puck in the net. I’m a team player first. I will play in any situation the coaching staff asks of me. I’m going to do the best I can for this organization and fans. I’m proud to be a part of this, and hopefully I’m here to stay.”

The Flyers got a steal with drafting this young classy prospect. Being a team first guy is just one characteristic that can’t be taught. His unselfishness and positive attitude should have long-term ramifications in the Flyers locker room. This is yet another young player that gives the Flyers hope in the future.

Follow me on Twitter @JameyBaskow for all Flyers updates.

 

Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans

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