Welcome to this year’s Top 25 Under 25 series. If you’re unfamiliar, we’re going player-by-player in a ranking of the top 25 Minnesota Wild players that are under the age of 25. It’s fairly simple. Enjoy!
Now we’re getting into the meat of the list. No more picking what freshly drafted players we think should be on the Top 25 Under 25 ranking, but now it’s players that we are more than familiar with. Whether that is believing they can be even more than they currently are, or just recognizing greatness at a young age.
With Connor Dewar, it is more of the former.
The 23-year-old forward made such an impression in the NHL last season that he stuck around for 35 total games, 16 more appearances than he had in the minors. That alone should speak volumes about how his season went and where he stands among the other young forwards on the roster.
Dewar has just steadily developed into being a two-way dynamo at every level. He plays with such an intensity that is immediately noticeable to even the hockey beginner’s eye; and that is why he is going to stick around for quite a long time, especially if he gets more of an opportunity.
It’s not always so evident that a player is developing, but just looking at Dewar’s stat line through his career it is plain as day. Starting out as a depth WHL player on his Everett Silvertips team, progressing into the point-per-game guy, and then captaining his squad in his final year and leading that team in scoring. Then, turning professional and having a mediocre rookie season on an Iowa team that was very veteran-heavy with the likes of Gerry Mayhew and Sam Anas. More opportunity means more points in a stellar sophomore season and then starting out as the AHL Wild’s primary point producer last season and earning his NHL debut. He hasn’t turned back since.
Roll the Tape
As we mentioned earlier, the first time you watch Dewar, it might just make you excited that you can see someone skate around the ice like he does not know how to “stop” or “slow down.”
Even on his first NHL goal, Dewar’s feet never stopped moving. Taking the puck in-stride and managing to get a shot off in the perfect time.
The Wild clearly ran all over the Canadiens during that game, but it is great to see Dewar start out the entire play from his own zone, and just end up with a goal seconds later.
But it is not just point-producing or goal-scoring for Dewar, his primary focus seems to be looking like a man possessed on any penalty kill.
It’s a special thing to have a player that clearly loves to be a pest when the other team has the man advantage. It is just incredible to see — the poke checks, the shot blocks, the shorthanded rush chances. Dewar can do a lot and might just end up being one of the best penalty killers in the league. He looks like it, anyway.
Dewar will be playing in St. Paul until he doesn’t want to anymore. He showed enough to the fans and to the organization, that he should have a permanent place on the lineup and the only choice Evason has to make his if it will be in a more prominent role with skilled forwards, or on the fourth line as a specialty player. Right now, the latter is probably going to be the result of training camp and to start the season, but all it takes is one look as a top-six center or winger, and Dewar might suddenly earn that role for good.
He signed a two-year, one-way deal this summer, so the organization clearly believes in him, and it gives them some wiggle room for finding out if he can play more up the lineup. Time is on their side, but we should at least expect Dewar to get some prime chances if he plays like he has been and some injuries happen. He might just end up as the fan favorite and we will all be clamoring for him to be on this team forever.
Hockey Wilderness 2022 Top 25 Under 25
25. Mason Shaw, C/LW
24. Sam Hentges, C/LW
23. Simon Johansson, D
22. Hunter Haight, C
21. Nikita Nesternenko, C
20. Marshall Warren, D
19. Filip Gustavsson, G
18. Mikey Milne, LW
17. Mitchell Chaffee, RW
16. Pavel Novak, RW
15. Ryan O’Rourke, D
14. Daemon Hunt, D
13. Jack Peart, D
12. Tyson Jost, C
11. Adam Beckman, LW
10. Connor Dewar, C, LW