Photo: WPLG Local 10
The Florida Panthers placed former Washington Capitals forward Brett Connolly on waivers on Sunday.
The 28-year-old has been a healthy scratch four times in the Panthers’ first 20 games this season and has scored just one goal, three points, and a +4 rating in 16 games. He has not gotten on the scoresheet in his past five games and has just one assist in his last eight.
After this season, Connolly has one left on a three-year contract that carries a $3.5 million cap hit.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman reported weeks ago that the Panthers, who are tied for the Central Division lead with the Tampa Bay Lightning but have played one more game, put Connolly on the trade block. “One name to watch on the trade market: Florida’s Brett Connolly. Panthers have started strong despite COVID postponements. Connolly’s been out of the lineup — although he’s expected to get back in shortly. He was a valuable piece on Washington’s 2018 Stanley Cup champion team. I could see a contender going there,” Friedman wrote.
Connolly set career-highs in goals (22), assists (24), points (46), and games played (81) in his final season with the Capitals in 2018-19. He also posted two points (both goals) and a +2 rating in seven games during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Last season, he recorded 19 goals, 33 points, and a -3 rating in 69 regular-season games and posted just a -5 rating in four Stanley Cup Qualifier games in his first season in Florida.
Signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Capitals in 2016, Connolly recorded 52 goals, 96 points, and a +27 rating in 217 career games with the team. In 512 career NHL games with the Panthers, Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins, Connolly has recorded 99 goals, 191 points, and a +13 rating. He scored at least 15 goals in each of his three seasons in Washington while primarily playing on the third line with center Lars Eller and forward Andre Burakovsky.
The Lightning drafted Connolly sixth overall in the 2010 NHL Draft.
During the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run in 2018, Connolly recorded six goals, nine points, and a +2 rating. He has posted eight goals, 11 points, and a -5 rating in 42 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
If a team claims Connolly, they would have to pay only half ($1.75 million) of his cap hit.
By Harrison Brown