Bruins' Connor Clifton is Playing Himself to a Massive Pay Increase

Boston defensemen, Connor Clifton has been one of the most surprising players within the historic regular season run. Clifton, now 28-years-old, has cemented himself as a top-six, everyday defensemen on the league's best team.

What does Connor Clifton Bring to the Lineup?

Clifton has responded positively to Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery's new style of play. Clifton has been no stranger to the offensive game this season. The native of New Jersey has already set a new career best in points in a single season. Clifton has demonstrated the ability to transition from defence to offence while breaking out the puck with his speed or passing abilities. In 60 games this season, the Bruins' defenseman has five goals and 11 assists.

Clifton has been praised for his physical play and altercations against his opponents. Clifton is currently Boston's leading hitter (minus Hathaway) with 165, which ranks him 16th in the entire National Hockey League. Additionally, Clifton has shown the ability to ring the bell and drop the gloves in support of his teammates. The Bruins' defenseman has engaged in four fights this season, including a brawl against veteran Corey Perry.

Boston's Third-Pair Contributions 

This season, it is safe to assume that Connor Clifton and Derek Forbort are two essential members in the Bruins' defensive strategy. When they play together, the two are the 59th best defensive pairing in the entire National Hockey League. Both do an excellent job of shutting down opposing team's energy lines, as evidenced by their +5 rating while playing together.

Clifton's Contract Status

Clifton is currently in the final-year of his three-year contract, that had an AAV of $1,000,000 per season. The New Jersey native, is set to become an unrestricted free agent by the end of the season. Clifton is quite likely to earn a significant price hike during the offseason. Consider Artem Zub's AAV of $4.1M or Jamie Oleksiak's AAV of $4.6M.

Will the Bruins' resign Connor Clifton? With his previous performance, it is quite doubtful that Connor Clifton will resign in Boston at an AAV less than $2 million. After the recent signing of David Pastrnak and the awarding bonuses to both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, the Bruins will be significantly strapped to the cap hit. 

Despite, numerous Bruins' have re-signed, with a team mentality and a cap-friendly contract.

In all due, Clifton has been a Bruin since the team signed him out of college during the 2018 season. Clifton has played in a total of 214 games within the Boston organization, and was apart of the teams 2019 Stanley Cup run.