Connor Clifton Proving He Belongs

Throughout the course of an NHL season, there are surprises for every team. The Bruins have been no exception and have seen numerous players perform above expectations. Their depth, particularly on the blue line, has been tested since opening night. Numerous rookies have made their NHL debuts including Connor Clifton, who has appeared in seventeen games. With Kevan Miller finally healthy, his playing time will likely decrease as the playoffs drawing closer. Clifton, however, has made his mark and excelled when given an opportunity.

During Clifton’s first stint he made his presence felt right away by fighting Jason Spezza in his first career game. The rookie showed that he would not back down from any challenge. In his brief NHL career, he has been a physical presence on Boston’s blueline. Unlike other Bruins rookies, he has not been tentative and done what head coach Bruce Cassidy has asked. His strong play has earned him big minutes when the Bruins have missed key players.

Unfortunately for the Quinnipiac product, he has yet to make an impact offensively. In 53 games for Providence, Clifton has six goals and 21 assists. For the Bruins, he has only one assist in 17 games. His lack of offense, however, has hardly hurt his play. Clifton has managed only 15 shots on net but is averaging 17 minutes of ice time. He has played a well-rounded game which is what he was known for in Providence.

Additionally, Clifton has shown that he is not afraid to sacrifice his body. In his brief NHL career, he has blocked thirteen shots and recorded thirty-seven hits. Of late, he has made a name for himself due to his physical style of play. Clifton has played great positional defensive and been patient with the puck. For a player that did not receive a lot of attention in training camp, he is now on many Bruins fans radar.

While Clifton has been impressive this year it is unknown if he will get any playing time in the postseason. For Bruce Cassidy however, it will not be an easy decision to make. The New Jersey native has performed well and showed that he belongs in the NHL. Regardless of how this season ends Clifton will not fly under the radar next training camp. On a crowded blue line, his future is bright.

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