Connor Clifton
Image: USA Hockey

Connor Clifton

Hometown:

Long Branch New Jersey

Currently Playing In:

NCAA

Birthday:

1995-04-28

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2013

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2013

Height:

5-11

Acquired:

5th round (133rd overall), 2013

Weight:

175 lbs.

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History

2009-10: Connor Clifton played for Christian Brothers Academy in New Jersey as a freshman and joined his older brother Tim Clifton with the New Jersey Hitmen in the Empire Junior Hockey League. In 36 games for the Hitmen, including 3 playoff games, he scored 2 goals with 10 assists and had 61 penalty minutes.

2010-11: Clifton gave up high school hockey to focus on juniors with the Hitmen. In 36 regular season games he scored 4 goals with 13 assists and had 95 penalty minutes. He skated in seven playoff games and scored 2 goals with 2 assists and had 10 penalty minutes.

2011-12: Clifton began the year with the Hitmen’s EJHL and Empire League teams and joined the USA National Team Development program in mid-season – skating for the NDTP’s U17 team. He scored 1 goal with 14 assists in 34 EJHL games, racking up 61 penalty minutes and in four Empire League games had 1 assist and 26 penalty minutes. Clifton played 12 games for the NTDP U17 team and scored 1 goal with 1 assist and had 24 penalty minutes. His one goal was a game-winner, coming in overtime against the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms. Clifton represented the USA in a pair of U17 tournaments. In November 2011 he and his brother Tim committed to playing college hockey at Quinnipiac in 2013-14.

2012-13: Clifton was named to the USA’s U18 team for the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in August and then joined the National Team Development Program on a full-time basis – skating for the NTDP’s U18 team during the season and winning a silver medal at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship. He scored 8 goals with 15 assists in 66 games. Clifton’s 114 penalty minutes were second-most on the team behind Michael McCarron (182). He played a key role for the U18 team in Sochi, logging huge amounts of ice time, particularly in key situations. In seven games he was -3 with 1 goal and 2 penalty minutes. Clifton was selected by Peterborough in the 4th round (75th overall) of the 2013 OHL Priority Draft. He was ranked 88th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings and was selected by Phoenix in the fifth round (133rd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

2013-14: Clifton skated in 36 of 40 games for Quinnipiac University in his freshman season. He scored 5 goals with 4 assists and was +17, racking up 106 penalty minutes. The Bobcats finished third in ECAC Hockey and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament after losing in double overtime to Colgate in the conference semifinals. Providence topped Quinnipiac, 4-0 in an NCAA East Regional semifinal game.

2014-15: Clifton returned to Quinnipiac for his sophomore season, skating in 38 games for the Bobcats. He had 5 assists and was +4 with 54 penalty minutes. Quinnipiac finished first in ECAC Hockey in the regular season, receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA West Regional after a 5-2 loss to Harvard in the conference tournament semifinals. The Bobcats lost to North Dakota, 4-1, in the West Regional semifinals. 

Talent Analysis

Clifton is an undersized defenseman that plays a hard-hitting game normally associated with a much bigger player. He is a steady blueliner with a good first pass and a pretty high hockey IQ. His size is definitely a concern but he has not shown too much of a shyness towards the physical side of the game. He is a project player, but there are plenty of tools with which to work.

Future

Clifton returns to Quinnipiac for his junior season in 2015-16. He has been one of the most penalized players in the NCAA in his first two seasons. After scoring five goals in his freshman season his offensive numbers dipped last season. Still considered a project at this point, the next two seasons will determine if he receives an entry-level contract from the Coyotes. Long range his pro potential is that of a punishing, hard-to-play-against defender, though there are concerns about his ability to withstand the pounding of his physical style.

2016 NCAA Frozen Four: North Dakota rolls to National Championship with 5-1 win over Quinnipiac

by DJ Powers
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Photo: The University of North Dakota strikes the traditional championship pose after defeating Quinnipiac University by a 5-1 score in the title game of the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four (courtesy of John Crouch/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

The University of North Dakota claimed their eighth NCAA National Championship and first since 2000 with a convincing 5-1 win over Quinnipiac University on Saturday night in the title game of the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four. Read more»

2016 NCAA Frozen Four: Clifton’s maturity and expanded role paying dividends for Quinnipiac

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Photo: Quinnipiac University defenseman and Arizona Coyotes prospect Connor Clifton (#4) posted a +1 rating in the semi-final game vs. Boston College at the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four (courtesy of Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

Quinnipiac University junior defenseman Connor Clifton has come a long way since arriving in Hamden, CT over three years ago. The Matawan, NJ native began his collegiate career as a menacing presence on the blueline who also racked up the penalty minutes. Read more»

2016 NCAA Frozen Four: Quinnipiac edges Boston College to advance to National Championship game

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Photo: Quinnipiac University goaltender Michael Garteig flashes the leather to make a last-second glove stop of an Ian McCoshen shot to preserve the Bobcats’ 3-2 win over Boston College in the first semi-final game of the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)

 

 

A goal scored in the second period goal by Landon Smith and an electrifying, last-second glove stop by goaltender Michael Garteig provided the difference as Quinnipiac University moved on to the title game with a 3-2 semi-final win over Boston College at the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four. Read more»

Prospect Impressions: Caggiula rocked, Quinnipiac advances with highlight-reel goals, CHL playoff snipes

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Photo: Red Deer Rebels forward and Boston Bruins prospect has been a point-per-game player following his trade to the Rebels, posting 12 goals and 39 points in 37 games (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

 

 

The number of names that have taken Drake Caggiula off his feet this season is an awfully short one, and an unlikely source tagged him behind the net while North Dakota was in the midst of advancing to the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four. Quinnipiac also earned a berth with a pair of highlight-reel goals, and JT Compher’s no-look pass is a must-see. Also in this week’s Prospect Impressions, the CHL playoffs are underway, and a pair of veterans unleashed furious shots to put their teams ahead in the clutch. Read more»

2016 NCAA Tournament: Top-ranked Quinnipiac faces RIT, defensive battle between Yale and UML in the East Regional

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Photo: Quinnipiac University defenseman and Arizona Coyotes prospect Connor Clifton is a part of one of the stingiest defensive units in NCAA Hockey, with Clifton also having taken a leap ahead in his offensive game in 2015-16 (courtesy of John Crouch/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

The East Regional of the 2016 NCAA Hockey Tournament features the top-ranked team in all of NCAA Hockey, Quinnipiac University. The Bobcats have ridden a top college goaltender along with a stingy defense to the top of the college hockey ranks in 2015-16, but there is still work to do to advance to the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four. Read more»

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