Forward Connor Chatham Commits to Plymouth

Jul 10, 2013 - 16:22 GMT

Photo - Connor Chatham (white jersey, 9) goes to the net in an USHL game last season.  Photo courtesy of www.journalstar.com

PLYMOUTH – Plymouth Whalers General Manager and Head Coach Mike Vellucci announced the commitment of 17-year-old forward Connor Chatham to a Standard Ontario Hockey League Player’s Agreement.

Chatham – 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, from Belleville, IL - was taken by the Whalers in the fifth round (88th overall) of the 2011 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.  He’ll attend school at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park starting in the fall.

"Connor plays a hard, physical game that translates well to the Ontario Hockey League," said Vellucci.  "We look forward to seeing him continue to develop on the ice and in school.  We're excited to have Connor in Plymouth."

"Plymouth drafted me a couple of years ago and has been good to me, telling me there was no pressure," Chatham said in a telephone interview.  "The Whalers are one of the most respected organizations in junior hockey.  Mike Vellucci has quite the reputation as a coach so it (the decision to commit) was almost a no-brainer.  Plymouth has a great track record of winning and developing players. I'm looking forward to getting started."

Chatham patterns his game after David Backes of the St. Louis Blues.

"I'm a big power forward," Chatham said.  "I play in the corners and go hard to the net.  I try to play a two-way game."

Chatham played last season for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League, where he scored 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points and 71 PIM’s in 63 games.  In 2011-12, he played for the National Team Development Program U-17’s, scoring 7 goals with 13 assists for 20 points and 45 PIM’s in 55 games.

Chatham was originally selected by Plymouth in 2011 after playing for the St. Louis Blues’ U-16’s minor midgets in 2010-11.

Chatham is expected to report to Plymouth in time for training camp in late August.

Chatham is the fourth player to commit to the Whalers for 2013-14. Plymouth also received commitments from 17-year-old defenseman Josh Wesley, who was taken by the Whalers in the fifth round in the 2012 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, defenseman Mathieu Henderson (17), a seventh round pick in the 2012 OHL Draft and right wing Spencer Lee, an 11th round pick in the 2011 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

In trades earlier this off-season, Plymouth acquired left wing Carter Sandlak from the Belleville Bulls in exchange for a draft choice and picked up center Francesco Vilardi from Sudbury for a draft choice.  In addition, the Whalers traded overage goaltender Matt Mahalak to Kingston for a pair of draft choices and dealt Cody Payne to Saginaw for two draft choices. 

Last season, the Whalers made the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive year – a current OHL record – and captured their 12th West Division title over 23 years.  Plymouth expects to be in thick of the Western Conference race again in 2013-14.