When Connor Dewar sat down with his father, Jade, as a 16-year-old at Silvertips’ training camp after Everett offered the left winger not only a WHL contract, but a spot on the team for the 2014-2015 season, Dewar placed his signature on the dotted line because he thought it was his best chance to play professional hockey.
Four seasons later, not only has he accomplished that goal, but he cemented a legacy with the organization that gave him that opportunity.
We are all Connor Dewar.
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) April 16, 2019
“A lot of people didn’t see this for me, but it’s something I set out for myself ever since I came here,” Dewar said. “For me, this was apart of the plan.
“I knew that if I came here and was ready to get better every day, that I would. And it shows.”
Dewar and 19-year-old center Riley Sutter signed NHL contracts over the course of the season, and the expectation is both players will not return as overagers and will play professional hockey with their respective professional teams. Both were third-round picks in last year’s NHL Draft, with Dewar being swooped up by the Wild at No. 92 overall and Sutter to the Capitals one pick after.
The two were cornerstones of an unheralded class of 1999-born players that left a colossal mark on the Silvertips’ organization. In doing so, one made a name for himself and the other lived up to his own name.
Dewar was a slight, but tenacious, skater that never garnered significant praise. The fifth-round pick in the WHL bantam draft displayed flashes of offensive brilliance as a youngster, before eventually blossomed into a point-per-game player as an 18-year-old.
That underdog mentality is something Dewar revels in. It provides him motivation.
“I like to embrace it. It’s something I use as motivation,” Dewar said. “You can always play the villain card, having that follow you around. I always take a lot of pride in beating the top-rated guys. Last year, for example, how many teams in the U.S. Division had first-round players that we matched up and we were the runner-up in the finals? That’s something I take a lot of pride in.
“So what if I’m small? I have a bigger heart than anyone else.”
Sutter, the son of Ron Sutter and a member of the iconic hockey family, was a gangly bantam in Calgary, Alberta, that developed not only physically, but with his overall skill-set. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound center chipped in 58 points in 68 games last season to earn his draft selection and his absence with a significant lower-body injury in the second half of the 2018-2019 season was a massive hole in the Silvertips’ lineup.
It was a bittersweet final season for Sutter in Everett.
“Any injury isn’t a good thing to have during the season. Just to have the success we had during the season, and although we didn’t do as well during the playoffs, our group was so close on and off the ice,” Sutter said. “I think that’s a big reason why we were so successful. We just all got along so well. I can’t say anything bad about this group.”
Sutter is already with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League for the Calder Cup playoffs. He said when he was reassigned on Monday that he wasn’t sure if he’d play. The Bears, the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division, commenced a five-game first-round series with Bridgeport on Friday, dropping Game 1, 3-2, in double overtime. Sutter did not suit up.
Word on Dewar’s involvement with the Wild’s AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild, has been mum so far. The Wild, the No. 3 seed in the Central Division, begin a five-game first-round series with Milwaukee on Sunday.
Both Dewar and Sutter’s dreams of playing professional hockey is on the precipice.
“Coming here at 16, I knew it would happen eventually,” Dewar said.