Montreal Canadiens 5th Overall History Part 4: Cam Connor

The Montreal Canadiens recieved the 5th overall pick this year, for the 8th time in their long and storied franchise. So for the summer months we are going to go over all the past 5th overall picks, from Bouchard to Reinbacher. This time we are looking at Cam Connor.
Heritage Classic Megastars Game
Heritage Classic Megastars Game / Jeff Vinnick/GettyImages
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The Secret Drafts of 1974

1974 had possibly one of the weirdest draft years of all time. This was the height of the competition betweent the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association. There were only so many players for an excess of teams, so each league tried to get their hands on prospects as early as possible.

So each league had a secret draft, held earlier than usual, in order to try to gain a monopoly on the best players. The NHL draft was held on a conference call in May. It took over two days to complete, and because it was a conference call in the '70s, the whole thing was a nightmare.

In fact, the Buffalo Sabres general manager Punch Imlach selected Taro Tsujimoto from the Tokyo Katanas. Both the player and the team did not exist.

The WHA draft was held in secret in February, and Cam Connor was selected 4th overall by the Phoenix Roadrunners. Connor, being a high profile prospect, was highly coveted, and the Roadrunners offered a lot of money, an amount that Connor accepted.

The Canadiens matched the amount offered by Phoenix, but Connor had already accepted the contract and would not go back on it. Connor would play 5 seasons in the WHA, including with the Houston Aeros and Gordie, Marty and Mark Howe.

After the WHA folded, Connor moved to the NHL, but had a hard time cracking the stacked roster at the time, and was left exposed and selected by the Edmonton Oilers, and played with a young Wayne Gretzky.

Cam Connor, Wayne Gretzky
Heritage Classic Megastars Game / Jeff Vinnick/GettyImages

Connor's biggest moment came when he scored the overtime winner against the Toronto Maple Leafs, on the way to winning the Cup. However, because of injuries and food poisoning, Connor didn't play enough games to get his name on the Cup. However, his teammates complained and got the rule overturned.

After breaking his back, Connor retired from the NHL as a member of the New York Rangers. Now, he hosts a podcast A View From the Penalty Box.