Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “2021 NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Conner Roulette Scouting Report.
Drafted in the second round, 34th Overall by the Seattle Thunderbirds, in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, Conner Roulette quickly became a key part of the team. Roulette played just one game in the 2018-19 season, while he was limited by the WHL’s rules limiting the number of games an underager can play. He put up 88 points in 43 games with Winnipeg in the MMHL. In his rookie WHL season, Roulette scored 19 goals and 20 assists for 39 points in 54 games with the team in 2019-20. Roulette was also selected to play for Team Canada Red at the 2019 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored two goals in four tournament games.
This season was, of course, limited by the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a result, Roulette was limited to just 11 games with the Thunderbirds. He was excellent in that time, scoring six goals and six assists for 12 points. Roulette was also selected to play for Team Canada at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. He picked up two goals and three assists for five points in seven tournament games. Roullette helped the Canadian team come home from Texas with the gold medal.
Conner Roulette Scouting Report
Left Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born May 13th, 2003 — Winnipeg, Manitoba
Height 5’11” — Weight 180 lbs [180 cm / 82 kg]
Skating is the weakest part of Roulette’s game. His stride is unorthodox and choppy. This hurts his acceleration and top-end speed. He is quick enough to keep up with the play, but he certainly is not going to wow anyone with his speed. He also could use some work on his edgework and agility. His turns are wide and he does not use his cross-overs to gain speed. Roulette also sometimes struggles with his changes in direction as well. He is a smart player and as a result, none of this has really held him back at this point, however, improved skating would really help him to take the next step. Roulette is strong on his skates though. He has good core strength. This helps him to be strong on the puck and to win battles on the boards and in front of the net.
Roulette is a pure goal scorer. He has an excellent array of shots. His wrist shot and snap shot are both accurate and powerful. His ability to change the angle of his shot before letting it go also helps to fool goaltenders. Roulette also has a strong one-timer. He is good at adjusting his feet and getting his shot off even if the pass is not perfect. Roulette is very good at getting open and finding the soft spots in the defence. He can also get to the front of the net where he is able to use his good hand-eye coordination to pounce on rebounds and tip in his teammates’ shots.
Roulette is also a very good playmaker in the offensive zone. His vision and passing skill are high end. He is a smart player who anticipates where his teammates and opponents are going and can set up scoring chances. He loves to work the give-and-go, finding an open teammate and moving to take the return pass. Roulette is not the type to carry the puck through the neutral zone though. He struggles to get effective zone entries due to his lack of high-end skating ability. Instead Roulette will look to pass to a teammate and find open ice without the puck.
Roulette’s defensive game is decent but it can continue to use more work. His lack of speed means he can have some trouble with applying backpressure against the rush as he can get caught in the offensive zone. He does a decent job of helping the defence down low, using his stick to cut down passing lanes and keep his opponent to the outside. However, Roulette can become more involved in board battles. He does a good job with his positioning, especially at covering the point and blocking shots. When a turnover is created, Roulette can find the outlet pass to move the puck up the ice, but is not the type to start the transition himself.
Projection and Comparison
Roulette is a pure goal scorer and that type of skill is hard to find. This means that he can carve out an NHL career in the top-six for a team if he can round out his game. He will need some time though as he needs improvements in his defensive ability and his skating. A team taking a chance on Roulette is looking at a real boom-or-bust type of prospect. Roulette’s game is reminiscent of Joffrey Lupul. However this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Conner Roulette that are available on youtube and twitter.
Conner Roulette makes it 8-1. Lindbom out of the net, Hugo Havelid in. #U18Worlds pic.twitter.com/KE5sYRHWJi
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) May 5, 2021
What a goal from Conner Roulette! Fantastic effort all around to orchestrate his own goal.
2-0 Canada.#U18Worlds pic.twitter.com/mjCBh1DnvU
— Caitlin Berry (@caitlinsports) May 3, 2021
Conner Roulette puts Team Canada Red ahead 3-0!
Assists by Connor Lockhart and Peter Reynolds 🔴 #WorldU17 pic.twitter.com/WrZuK4aaZN
— Caitlin Berry (@caitlinsports) November 3, 2019
Conner Roulette tied the game 1-1 early in the third period on the power play. #LetsGoBirds pic.twitter.com/4gq6jwKIFr
— Seattle Thunderbirds (@SeattleTbirds) April 1, 2021
Check back tomorrow for our latest draft article.
Conner Roulette Scouting Report Main Photo:
EVERETT, WASHINGTON – APRIL 02: Seattle Thunderbirds forward Conner Roulette #34 skates into the offensive zone during the third period of a game between the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Everett Silvertips at Angel of the Winds Arena on April 02, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)