Brett Connolly

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Brett Connolly
Connolly Warmup.jpg
With the Lightning in 2012.
Born (1992-05-02) May 2, 1992 (age 22)
Campbell River, BC, CAN[1][2][3]
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 213 lb (97 kg; 15 st 3 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
NHL team (P)
Cur. team
Tampa Bay Lightning
Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
NHL Draft 6th overall, 2010
Tampa Bay Lightning
Playing career 2011–present

Brett Connolly (born May 2, 1992) is a Canadian ice hockey player for the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League (AHL) and a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL). During his major junior career with the Prince George Cougars, he was named Western Hockey League (WHL) and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Rookie of the Year for the 2008–09 season. Selected sixth overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, he joined the team in 2011–12. Internationally, Connolly has represented Canada at the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championships, 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, 2011 IIHF U20 Championships and 2012 IIHF U20 Championships.

Playing career[edit]

Born in Campbell River, British Columbia, Connolly was selected by his hometown Prince George Cougars[4] as their first selection, 10th overall, in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft.[5] As a 15-year-old, he played major midget for the Caribou Cougars in Prince George,[6] while also appearing in four WHL games.[7] He joined the WHL Cougars full-time in 2008–09, scoring 30 goals and 30 assists in 65 games.[7] In doing so, Connolly became the first 16-year-old to score 30 goals in the WHL since Patrick Marleau in 1995–96.[8] He was named the winner of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as WHL rookie of the year.[9] The recognition made him one of three nominees for the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Rookie of the Year; he beat out the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Dmitri Kulikov and the Ontario Hockey League's Evgeny Grachev for the national distinction.[10]

Connolly with the Prince George Cougars in November 2010

Conolly's second full WHL season was marred with hip problems. He played in just 12 of the Cougars' first 46 games[11] and was sidelined from December 2009 before returning for the last four contests of the regular season.[12] He was named to play in the 2010 CHL Top Prospects Game, but did not participate.[13] He recorded 19 points over 16 games.

Connolly was highly ranked for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He was listed as the sixth-best player amongst North American skaters for the draft in the International Scouting Services' mid-term rankings[14] and finished the season 13th among all skaters.[15] NHL Central Scouting ranked him fourth overall amongst North American skaters in their midterm rankings,[11] before moving him up a spot in their final rankings.[15] The Hockey News listed him at fourth overall in their list end-of-year list.[15] Scouts described Connolly as a natural leader with good on-ice awareness who plays in the style of a power forward.[12][15] Connolly compared himself to Columbus Blue Jackets power forward Rick Nash.[15] Connolly was selected sixth overall in the draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Attending his first NHL training camp in September 2010, he was returned by the Lightning to the Cougars to continue at the junior level. Playing in his fourth WHL season, he was named captain of the Cougars and recorded 73 points over 59 games, leading his team in scoring.[16]

Connolly made the Lightning in October 2011 out of training camp. He scored his first NHL goal on November 1, 2011 against Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes.[17] His NHL rookie season was then interrupted when the Lightning loaned him to Canada's national junior team for a second appearance in the IIHF World U20 Championships.[18]

The Prince George Cougars traded Connolly's WHL rights to the Tri-City Americans on January 10, 2012 for a bantam draft pick and two additional draft picks if Connolly were to return to the WHL.[19]

International play[edit]

Brett Connolly WJC12 press conference.jpg
Brett Connolly as a member of Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championships
Medal record
Competitor for Canada Canada
Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Silver 2011 United States
Bronze 2012 Canada
Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament
Gold 2009 Czech Republic
World U-17 Hockey Challenge
Silver 2009 Canada

Connolly made his international debut with Hockey Canada, representing Team Pacific[notes 1] at the 2009 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. He helped the team to the gold medal game, where they lost 5–1 to Team Ontario.[20][21] Connolly recorded 8 points (3 goals and 5 assists) over 6 games.[22] Several months later, he joined Team Canada for the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championships. He scored six points in six games as Canada placed fourth.[23] Connolly remained with the national under-18 team for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August 2009. Connolly recorded an assist in the gold medal game, helping Canada to a 9–2 win over Russia.[24] During the tournament, Connolly hurt his hip, a nagging injury that sidelined him long-term throughout the following season.[25]

Connolly returned to the under-18 team the following year for the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championships in Minsk and Bobruisk, Belarus. Connolly recorded one goal over four games,[26] as Canada finished in fourth place for the second consecutive year.

Moving on to the under-20 level, Connoly joined Canada's junior team for the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York. He recorded three assists over seven games, as Canada won silver. They lost in the gold medal game to Russia. Playing in his NHL rookie season the following year, the Tampa Bay Lightning loaned Connolly to the national junior team for the 2012 World Junior Championships.[18]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2007–08 Prince George Cougars WHL 4 0 0 0 0
2008–09 Prince George Cougars WHL 65 30 30 60 38 4 0 2 2 6
2009–10 Prince George Cougars WHL 16 10 9 19 8
2010–11 Prince George Cougars WHL 59 46 27 73 26 1 0 0 0 0
2011–12 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 68 4 11 15 30
2012–13 Syracuse Crunch AHL 71 31 32 63 53 18 6 5 11 12
2012–13 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 5 1 0 1 0
2013–14 Syracuse Crunch AHL 66 21 36 57 50
2013–14 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 11 1 0 1 4
NHL totals 84 6 11 17 34


Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2009 Canada Pacific U17 Silver medal icon.svg 6 3 5 8 2
2009 Canada WJC18 4th 6 3 3 6 4
2010 Canada WJC18 4th 4 1 0 1 10
2011 Canada WJC Silver medal icon.svg 7 0 3 3 0
2012 Canada WJC Bronze medal icon.svg 6 5 1 6 4
Junior totals 29 12 12 24 20

Awards and honours[edit]

Award Year
Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy 2008–09 [9]
CHL Rookie of the Year 2008–09 [9]


  1. ^ Canada plays four regional teams – Pacific, West, Quebec and Ontario – at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Flett, Cory and Watts, Jessie (ed.). 2008–09 WHL Guide. Western Hockey League. p. 99. 
  6. ^ Swanson, Jim (2007-06-15). "Cougars sign top draft pick". Prince George Citizen. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  7. ^ a b "Brett Connolly player profile". Western Hockey League. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  8. ^ Swanson, Jim (Winter 2009–10). "Draft Derby". Prospects Hockey Magazine (Canadian Hockey League): WHL3–WHL7. 
  9. ^ a b c "WHL Rookie of the Year – Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy". Western Hockey League. Retrieved 2010-01-20. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Rookie of the Year – Brett Connolly". Canadian Hockey League. Retrieved 2010-01-20. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b Neal, Andy (2010-01-11). "NHL Central Scouting places Connolly fourth in mid-term rankings". Prince George Cougars Hockey Club. Retrieved 2010-01-20. [dead link]
  12. ^ a b Kimelman, Adam (2009-10-10). "Connolly stands out among WHL's draft prospects". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  13. ^ Kimelman, Adam (2010-01-12). "Connolly, Kabanov out of Top Prospects Game". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  14. ^ "International Scouting Services: Hall remains top draft pick". The Sports Network. 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Pap, Elliott (2010-06-09). "Prince George's Brett Connolly survives hip ordeal to remain top NHL draft prospect". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  16. ^ "2010-11 Regular Season - Prince George Cougars". Western Hockey League. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b "Connolly, Smith-Pelly to join Canada's junior team camp". The Sports Network. 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  19. ^ Clarke, Ted (2012-01-10). "Cats deal Connolly, Marincin". Prince George Citizen (Prince George, British Columbia). Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  20. ^ "Team Pacific roster set for U-17 event". Harbour City Star. 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  21. ^ "Ontario wins second consecutive U17 gold medal". Hockey Canada. 2009-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  22. ^ "Brett Connolly". Hockey Canada. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  23. ^ "Player statistics by team – Canada" (PDF). International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  24. ^ "Canada hammers Russia 9-2 in U18 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Hockey Tournament". Hockey Canada. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  25. ^ Campbell, Ken (2010-06-04). "Campbell's Cuts: Hip injury makes Brett Connolly a draft-day wildcard". The Hockey News. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  26. ^ "Player Statistics By Team". International Ice Hockey Federation. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Brayden Schenn
Winner of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Preceded by
Taylor Hall
Winner of the CHL Rookie of the Year Award
Succeeded by
Matt Puempel
Preceded by
Carter Ashton
Tampa Bay Lightning first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Vladislav Namestnikov