#7 - Connor Zary
Age: 19 (as of August 1 2021)
2020-21 Team: Kamloops Blazers (WHL), Stockton Heat (AHL)
Stats: 15 GP, 6 G, 18 A, 24 Pts, +9 (WHL), 9 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 7 Pts, +2 (AHL)
Drafted in 2020, 1st Round, Pick 24
2020 Ranking: #14 (+7)
After having Jakob Pelletier at #8, we have another recent Flames first round pick in Connor Zary at #7. Zary jumped seven spots in the list from last year after putting together an impressive season which featured time with the Stockton Heat, Kamloops Blazers, and the Canadian Junior Team.
Zary began his season with Team Canada in the Edmonton bubble where he posted two points over seven games in their run to the gold medal game, before ultimately falling to the United States.
His club season began with his first taste of professional hockey, suiting up in nine games for the Stockton Heat and quickly working his way up to a top six role. After taking a couple of games to settle in, Zary posted seven points in five games including his first multi-goal game. It was a very impressive showing from the rookie forward who had only just been drafted in October to the club. His playmaking and positional play was particularly impressive for a player with little experience at that level of hockey.
Zary then returned to the WHL in March when their season finally began, captaining the Kamloops Blazers in the shortened intra-divisional season where he had 24 points in 15 games and frankly looked too good for the WHL at times.
Heading into this season, Zary had a very outside chance at cracking the Flames out of camp, but an ankle injury in the second prospects game cemented that he will begin his year in Stockton when healthy. When he returns, he will likely get a big role alongside other top prospects in the organization such as Pelletier, Adam Ruzicka, and Emilio Pettersen.
It wouldn’t be a stretch whatsoever to see Zary in Calgary at some point this season, particularly if there any injuries to the more skilled half of the Flames forward group. For now, we just have to hope he can heal up and get up to game speed with Stockton at some point in the next month or so.
What do you think of Zary’s final ranking?