“I get why most hated Brett Connolly. I was in his corner and felt in time it would click. And it is no excuse when I say I’ve never seen a hockey player more snake bitten around the net in my life than Connolly was for the Bruins. He was robbed so many times, largely by the post, that it almost became comical. But in the NHL all that matters is results and he didn’t get them. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s on pace for a 20-goal season on his new team next year like he should have been in Boston.” – BostonPucks.com, June 28, 2016
I won’t say I told you so because that’s just not in my nature. But I think we can all agree I was right.
Brett Connolly’s 9th goal of the season against the Bruins on Wednesday night must have felt pretty good. We did not see a goal like that from him in any of the 76 games he played for Boston. And if it were me in his position I would have taken off my glove and sent the single finger salute up to the box the Bruins brass were sitting in after I scored against my former team.
In my opinion right now one of the biggest needs for the center-heavy Bruins would be a 3rd line right wing. What looked like potentially good scoring depth on paper before the season has proven to be a scoring void.
Currently, Riley Nash is the B’s 3rd line right wing. Nash has, I hope you’re sitting down, a whopping 3 goals in 54 games this season. In fact he’s one of a slim few who have played in every single game this season. And that’s not exactly the kind of production you would like to see from your 3rd line right wing.
The Bruins have also tried Austin Czarnik as the 3rd line right wing and he has had the most success, all be it little, with 5 goals in 46 games.
And of course you have Plan C, the home town boy, Jimmy Hayes. He has nearly invisibly put up a whopping 2 goals in 40 games. What is crazy is that Hayes has actually played in 40 games this season. I would have thought maybe 25. I guess like everyone else I just haven’t noticed him out there.
Here at BostonPucks.com we have always been fans of Brett Connolly. I thought he played well last year, but was just snake bitten. I always felt that Connolly got a raw deal in Boston and didn’t get a fair shake. The eye test showed a skilled, big bodied player, who skated well yet was a healthy scratch more than Jimmy Hayes.
I’m not saying Connolly is now setting the world on fire outside of Boston. He is working on another one of his Cy Young type seasons with 9 goals and 2 assists in 36 games. To put that in perspective, Connolly has scored just 1 fewer goal than Nash, Czarnik, and Hayes, combined. And he’s done it in 104 less games.
I would have liked to have seen the Bruins extend Connolly an offer last summer to keep him as a restricted free agent. I said that at the time. But I get it. Because of the CBA the Bruins would have had to offer him 100% of his 2015-2016 salary. Connolly’s cap hit last season was $1.025 million. His current deal he signed in Washington is for $850,000. Yet even at $1.025 million it still would have been a manageable contract and the Bruins have the cap space. Especially if he was going to be on pace for a 20 goal season. There is good value there.
It is just a little frustrating as a Bruins fan that guys like Nash and Hayes continue to not produce and a guy they let go on the cheap is now finding his game and having success elsewhere just like we predicted.
But it isn’t all that surprising. Doesn’t it always happen?
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