The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Brett Connolly.
Connolly, who was the 6th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has signed a one-year deal.
#tblightning have re-signed RW Brett Connolly to a one-year, two-way contract
— Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssonTBO) July 10, 2014
Connolly has been inconsistent with the Lightning so a one-year deal isn’t surprising, neither is the fact that’s it two-way.
In 84 career NHL games with the Bolts, Connolly has six goals and 11 assists. However, 68 of those games came during the 2011-12 campaign. Since then, he’s played in just 16 games, scoring twice.
He’s spent the vast majority of the last two years with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. Last season he led the team in goals (21), assists (36) and points with 57.
It doesn’t appear that a spot on the NHL roster for Connolly is forthcoming however. There are 10 spots already locked up for the forwards, and Cedric Paquette will likely take the 11th spot.
That means that Connolly is likely battling for the 12th forward spot alongside Richard Panik (who remains unsigned as a restricted free agent) and Vladislav Namestnikov, assuming no one else is signed in free agency.
The fact that Connolly’s deal is two-way tells us that it’s highly likely that he’ll be spending considerable time in the AHL.
It’s not so much a question of how good the 22-year-old is – he’s proven how good he is in the AHL. It’s just whether he can make it last in the NHL, which so far he has failed to prove.