Connor Clifton was born on April 28, 1995, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Clifton is one of three brothers who play hockey. Corey Clifton is a sophomore forward playing at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Connor’s other brother Tim played center for four seasons at Quinnipiac University and was an assistant captain his senior season. Tim went on to play 51 games over parts of three seasons with the San Jose Barracudas of the American Hockey League before retiring from the sport.
Connor Clifton began his hockey career with the New Jersey Junior Titans of the Amateur Youth Hockey League, scoring 15 goals with 11 assists in 32 games in 2008-09. The next year, Clifton joined the Christian Brothers Academy team in the United States High School Prep League. He played 23 games before leaving for the New Jersey Hitmen in what is now the United States Premier Hockey League. The defenseman played 101 total games with the Hitmen before moving on to the United States National Development Program toward the end of the 2011-12 season. The right-shot blue liner suited up for 66 games with the U-18 National Team and had eight goals and 15 assists while scoring one goal in seven games in the World Junior Championships.
Clifton committed to Quinnipiac University, played four seasons there, and was named captain his senior year. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound defenseman finished his career with 156 games played, 19 goals, and 37 assists. In 2015-16, Clifton and the Bobcats won the ECAC tournament, with Clifton being named to the All-Tournament team and tournament Most Valuable Player.
Connor Clifton Drafted 133rd Overall by Phoenix Coyotes
In the 2013 NHL Draft, the Phoenix (Arizona) Coyotes selected Connor Clifton in the fifth round of the 2013 Draft and was the 37th defenseman chosen. After completing his senior season at Quinnipiac, Clifton did not reach a contract agreement with the Coyotes and became a free agent. The Boston Bruins’ American Hockey affiliate, Providence Bruins, signed Clifton to a minor league deal for the 2017-18 season in which Clifton 54 games in the AHL with four goals and nine assists. The Bruins elected to sign Clifton to a two-year deal on May 3, 2018.
Clifton’s NHL Debut To Today
Connor Clifton made his NHL Debut on November 16, 2018, in a 1-0 loss to the Dallas Stars in Dallas. Clifton made his presence felt by fighting veteran center Jason Spezza in the third period. Clifton logged 18:53 of the ice time. The defenseman scored his first NHL goal in Game 2 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals and was an important part of the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
In his career, Connor Clifton had played 218 regular season NHL games with 10 goals and 27 assists and 43 playoff games with four goals and six assists. At the end of the 2022-23 season, the soon-to-be 28-year-old Clifton will be an unrestricted free agent.
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