Phantoms bring back Conner, sign four others

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The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have signed five players to American Hockey League contracts including forward Chris Conner, who was inked to a two-year pact after spending the past two seasons with Lehigh Valley.

In addition to Conner, the Phantoms have signed forwards Derek Hulak and Matt Willows along with defenseman Frank Hora and goaltender John Muse to AHL contracts for the 2017-18 season.

Conner, 33, completed his 11th professional season in 2016-17 and set a career high with 22 goals while finishing third on the Phantoms with 56 points in 70 games. The native of Westland, Mich., has totaled 164 goals and 277 assists for 441 points in 541 career AHL games with Lehigh Valley, Hershey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Portland, Grand Rapids, Peoria and the Iowa Stars.

Undrafted out of Michigan Tech, Conner has skated in 180 games in the National Hockey League with Dallas, Pittsburgh, Phoenix and Washington, recording 22 goals and 28 assists for 50 points.

Hulak, a 27-year-old native of Saskatoon, Sask., tallied four goals and one assist in 17 games with the AHL’s Utica Comets last season.

The fourth-year pro has skated in 159 AHL games with Utica and Texas, registering 43 goals and 48 assists for 91 points, including a 21-goal campaign as a rookie in 2014-15. Hulak joined Texas after four seasons at the University of Saskatchewan and was a member of the Stars’ Calder Cup championship team in 2014.

Willows, 25, registered 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points in 63 games between Reading and Allen of the ECHL in 2016-17. He also made one appearance with the San Jose Barracuda.

A native of Congers, N.Y., Willows has appeared in 12 AHL games with San Jose and Worcester, totaling three goals and two assists.

Hora, 21, made his pro debut with the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters last season, notching one assist in three games before returning for his over-age season with Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League.

In four junior seasons with Kitchener, the native of Cheektowaga, N.Y., recorded 11 goals and 80 assists for 91 points.

Muse, 28, appeared in 14 AHL games with Rochester last season, going 3-8-0 with a 3.08 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.

A seventh-year pro from East Falmouth, Mass., Muse has played 159 AHL games with Rochester, Texas, Charlotte and Portland, posting a record of 76-57-9 with a 2.66 GAA, a .914 save percentage and eight shutouts.