The Florida Panthers addressed another issue in their bottom six by signing forward Brett Connolly to add to the fold.
Connolly, who’s 27 years of age, was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round (6th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. He spent his first four seasons in Tampa Bay, featuring in 134 games and recording 18G, 14A, for 32 points.
Connolly would spend the next two seasons with the Boston Bruins after he was dealt there at the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline. Connolly would take part in a total of 76 games, tallying 9G, 18A, and 27 points.
After two seasons in Boston, Connolly would sign short term with the Washington Capitals in the summer of 2016. Despite the struggles that he faced in his previous two stints with the Lightning and the Bruins, Connolly found a home in DC and experienced the best three seasons of his career there.
In his first season with the Capitals (2016-17), Connolly registered 23 points (15G & 8A) in 66 games. His tally went up the following year, with the British Columbia native putting up 27 points (15G & 12A) in 70 games (a career best at that time).
Although, Connolly would ultimately face his best season last year, encountering a 46-point campaign (22G & 24A) in a total of 81 games played. Connolly was also a member of the 2018 Capitals team that took home the Stanley Cup.
"“Brett is a Stanley Cup Champion who knows what it takes to win in this league. He brings a dimension of both size and skill to our young forward group and will strengthen our depth.”"
For the Panthers who struggled in bottom-six scoring last season, this gives them an experienced player who can provide service and strengthen their third line.
While Connolly has played in the top six at times (primarily on the second line), Tallon and co. see him as a player who can swap back and forth between lines when needed. However, his home is likely to be on the third line where the Panthers need a boost.
For what it’s worth, Connolly is a decent player and is someone who will provide experience to the third line that’s likely going to be young this season.