For the past few seasons the Philadelphia Flyers have been inconsistent in terms of secondary scoring. 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 orange and black in the future? Say hello to Connor Bunnaman.
Bunnaman was born on April 16, 1998, in Guelph, ON, CAN. He was selected by the Flyers in the fourth 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. For the season, Bunnaman tallied 16 goals, and 22 assists for a total of 38 points in 68 games played.
“I’m a hard worker, that’s one of my attributes,” Bunnaman said, as he burst onto the scene in the OHL. “I use my size, gritty guy that’s good in the corners, and try to be good at everything. I feel like I’m a true NHL player, and play both sides of the ice.”
This young stud in Bunnaman appears to be a natural goal scorer. He stands at 6’1,” and weighs a decent size of 207 pounds. Bunnaman had a career year with the Kitchener Rangers in 2016-17, 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 Bunnaman to an entry-level contract on April 21, 2017. Bunnaman was flying on a cloud at this point as one could imagine, and it brought him back to the day he was drafted by the Flyers.
“The draft was a great experience for me and my family. It was unbelievable. I kind of had an idea I was going to the Flyers, but when my name was called I was excited. Went down to shake everyone’s hand like Ron Hextall. It was a surreal moment for me, and I won’t forget it.”
The Kitchener Rangers product, Bunnaman works to get better in the off-season. He’s been primarily working on skating as, “I just try to do what the Flyers keep telling me to work on, like my skating,” Bunnaman said.
Bunnaman continued, “I’m doing a lot of work with a power skater, and a lot of work with my trainer at Kitchener. Off ice I’m trying to do everything to get my skating better, like strengthen my muscles and power stretches to get me moving better.”
Just as one would think, Bunnaman has a normal routine on game day. It includes rigorous stretching, and getting mentally ready for the game. He’s having a solid 2017-18 campaign thus far for the Rangers. Bunnaman has tallied 20 goals, and 20 assists for a total of 40 points in 50 games played. He set some lofty goals coming into the season, but Bunnaman may be benefitting from that special food he enjoys.
“Right now stir fry is my favorite (Laughing). Seriously, one of my goals was 70 points. I don’t think I’m going to hit that. But, I try to be a good leader. A good guy to be around the team, and one that everyone likes. Try to be a good player. I feel like I’ve done that this far. But, I want to get better everyday.”
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. However, he stuck with hockey, and it may have been do to the person he idolized growing up.
“Always liked watching Jonathan Towes growing up. The way he carries himself on the ice..he’s definitely the guy I looked up to. But, my dad was the hardest on me. I realize now he was only trying to help me out, just to get where I want to be in life. I’m thankful for that, and my dad.”
The Flyers got a steal with drafting this young classy prospect. He’s a team first guy, and Bunnaman’s unselfishness and positive attitude should have long-term ramifications in the Flyers locker room. He understands Philadelphia is a hard-working city, so he has a unique message to the fans:
“I’m definitely the hardest working guy on the ice. I won’t take a shift off. One of the big things for me is to play hard every shift. If I get up there, I want to be good defensively.”
Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports