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Road to the NHL Draft: Conner Bleackley

By John Vogl

Conner Bleackley

Position: Center

Junior team: Red Deer (WHL)

Born: High River, Alberta

Measurables: 6-foot, 197 pounds

2013-14 stats: 71 games, 29 goals, 39 assists, 78 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 35 (North America)

Lowdown: Bleackley wore the “C” on his jersey this season, putting him in elite company. How elite? The only other members of the 2014 draft class who captained their teams were Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart, favorites to be selected with the first overall pick.

Bleackley doesn’t have the elite talent of those two players, but he may end up in the first round. He’s developed a solid all-around game under coach Brent Sutter. A power-play specialist, Bleackley has a hard shot and releases it quickly. His work ethic is tremendous.

Bleackley is learning to play a physical game, but there are still a few more lessons. While he’s good with plenty of room on the ice, he needs to hone his five-on-five skills. Getting faster would help.

He said it: “It was something I felt I was ready for and definitely a huge challenge. I think looking back on this year, as far as leadership goes, it was a real learning year. The stuff I learned this year about keeping guys together is only going to help me going forward." – Bleackley, to, on being captain.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.


NHL Entry Draft
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |