Tim Connolly Signs With Toronto Maple Leafs
While Maple Leaf prospects Nazem Kadri and Joe Colborne appear to represent the Maple Leafs future down the middle, Brian Burke and Company are hoping Connolly can fill the gap until the two youngsters are ready to assume the first line centre duties—that is if Burke fails to land another centre via the trade route.
Connolly, who is known as a set-up man, notched 13 goals and 42 points through 68 games with the rival Buffalo Sabres. Injuries, including back, hip, groin and nasal issues, have taken their toll on Connolly, limiting his games played and overall numbers. In ten NHL seasons Connolly has had few seasons in which he played all 82 games—none in the past six seasons.
With 19 power play points (six goals, 13 assists) in 2010-11, Connolly should help the Maple Leafs on the PP, especially if he can find some chemistry with Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel. Given his defensive prowess, Connolly should also be able to provide a lift for the Maple Leafs horrific penalty kill, an area the Buds need all the help they can get!
Connolly, who stands 6-1, weighs in at 191 pounds and was born in Syracuse, New York, joins a long list of Americans (both on and off the ice) that have joined the Maple Leafs, causing many Leaf fans to voice some concern.
It says here it doesn’t matter what the passport says, as long as Connolly can contribute the Leafs Nation will embrace Connolly.
According to Capgeek.com the Connolly signing leaves Burke a total of $13,435,000 in cap space. A weak free agent pool to begin with, Burke may choose to resist making additional free agent signings in favor of exploring the trade market, either for another centre or additional offense via the wings.
Some potential free agents still available include Alexander Frolov and Jason Arnott,—neither of which really fit into the Maple Leafs current plans.
Until next time,