According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the Florida Panthers traded former Washington Capitals forward Brett Connolly to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
Defenseman Riley Stillman, center Henrik Borgstrom, and a seventh-round pick were also dealt to the Blackhawks. The Panthers received defensemen Lucas Carlsson and center Lucas Wallmark in the deal.
Connolly, 28, has recorded two goals, four points, and a +4 rating in 21 games with the Panthers this season and has been a frequent healthy scratch.
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 on February 2 that the Panthers, who lead the Carolina Hurricanes by one point for the Central Division lead but have played two more games, 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 517 career NHL games with the Panthers, Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins, Connolly has recorded 100 goals, 192 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.
With the addition of Connolly, the Blackhawks improve an offense that ranks 16th with an average of 2.78 goals-per-game and a power play that is fifth with a 25.2% efficiency. Connolly has averaged 36 seconds on the power play this season. The Blackhawks are currently two points behind the Nashville Predators with each team down to 16 games left.
The NHL Trade Deadline is set for 3 PM ET on Monday.
By Harrison Brown