Former first-rounder Brett Connolly was traded to the Boston Bruins on Monday, ending his tenure with the Tampa Bay Lightning after five years where he was unable to play to his status as the team’s sixth overall pick in 2010.
Connolly – born in Campbell River, raised in Prince George – has emerged as a scoring winger with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, and has played well in his limited appearances with Tampa Bay. But with the Lightning pushing hard for a Stanley Cup, and with several talented offensive forwards clogging up the Bolts’ roster (Val Filppula, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Jonathan Drouin, and others), Connolly became a movable asset.
In return, Boston sent Tampa Bay a second-round pick in 2015 and a second-round pick in 2016.
Also read: ‘Canucks trade for Cory Conacher, Sven Baertschi before NHL’s Trade Deadline‘ by Kolby Solinsky (March 2, 2015)
Connolly rose to prominence in his first full season in the WHL, putting up 30 goals and 60 points in 64 games for the Prince George Cougars in 2009 – as a 16 year old.
Connolly missed all but 16 games in the 2010 season with Prince George, suffering from a hip injury. Nevertheless, he was selected sixth overall by Steve Yzerman and the Lightning the following summer, played with Canada at the 2012 World Juniors, and led the Cougars in scoring the following season.
Connolly has yet to find a permanent place on Tampa’s roster – just 32 points on 134 games – and will be expected to play in the NHL with the Bruins this season, as Boston contends for the East’s eighth and final playoff spot.
“He’s a young player… He can really shoot the puck, he’s got some size, he was drafted sixth overall,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said on Monday, summing up Connolly’s resume. “He’s a guy that we think can come in and help us right away and still could have a long future for us.”
VIDEO: Brett Connolly – 2010 Prospect Profile (NHL.com)