|"So playing for Brian Burke is an automatic spot on Team USA right?"|
While many Leaf fans were upset that Brad Richards picked the Big Apple and a huge front-loaded contract over playing in Toronto, but we were glad that Brian Burke didn't offer up any of the ridiculous contracts that many GMs have been handing out the last few years.
Instead the Leafs signed what many considered the next best centre available and nabbed Tim Connolly for 2 years at a cap hit of 4.75M a year. While that contract is far too much for him and he should have been at the lower end of $4M a year with his injury history, this has been a crazy free agent frenzy and that is what the Leafs had to pay to get him.
With Connolly, the Leafs add another American player to a team full of Red, White and Blue passport holders. I have no idea what the record is for most American born players on the Maple Leaf roster, but this has to be the record. Many bloggers have been calling the Leafs, "Toronto USA", with their roster full of Yankees. But from our stand point, it doesn't matter where a player was born as long as he plays the game hard and can help your team become a contender.
So what does Connolly bring to the Blue and White?
He is a shifty playmaking centre. He does have great hands and from watching him play against the Leafs he can also play the point on the powerplay and help set up scoring plays. If he can remain healthy he should put up 60+ points. Connolly is a dish master and will be getting many apples with Kessel and Lupul on his wings.
Connolly was drafted 5th overall by the Islanders in 1999 and made the jump right away to the NHL. After 2 seasons in Long Island he was traded along with Taylor Pyatt to Buffalo for Mike Peca. Connolly's best season so far was in 09-10 when he put up 65 points in 73 games. The year before in a injury shortened season he put up 47 points in 48 games. So he does have the potential to be close to a point per game player.
What do you expect from Tim Connolly this year? Any of this flash?