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TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the Lightning may be interested in loaning Brett Connolly to Canada’s World Junior Championship squad this coming December. If you’re team Canada, why wouldn’t you want Connolly? He has all the intangibles necessary to be a great WJC player. For example, let’s take a look at some of the great WJC leaders for Canada in the past few years. There’s Eberle, Ellis and many more that spring to mind. Connolly is cut from that same breed and you can see it in his play with the Lightning.

For a young player (born in 1992) to come in and player defensively in the National Hockey League is a rare occurrence. This season, Connolly has established himself as a very consistent, smart forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning. We all knew he would be good one day, but I’m not sure anyone predicted that he would play so intelligently at such a young age.

Fans of struggling teams starve for players who are exciting; look at Edmonton and Taylor Hall. When he was drafted 1st overall, he brought a certain excitement that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins didn’t. Hall is an exciting player to watch; there’s no doubt about it. That being said, he is also a reckless player who is going to get hurt quite often if he keeps up this style of play. He doesn’t bring the game that a guy like Connolly does. That’s not to say that Hall isn’t a good player, it’s just that he is a different kind of player.

The Lighting already boast one of the most electric (pun intended) players in the game in Steven Stamkos. It’s pretty hard to argue that no one is more exciting from that pure offensive perspective. So, when Steve Yzerman took to the podium to make his draft choice, Brett Connolly was the right pick. He wasn’t brought in to overload an already offensively strong roster; he was brought in to compliment it. Look at his body of work this season and you will quickly see that he has complimented the Lightning more that anyone could have hoped.

While his offensive totals haven’t been spectacular, it’s his solid defensive play that fans should take note of. Going back to his draft year, the scouting report on Connolly was that he was good at both ends of the ice. Even in his young NHL career, we have seen that. While his strength isn’t as evident as it would have been in junior, you can still see that he knows where to put himself in order to protect the puck and create offense.

The real question the Lightning have to ask themselves is whether or not they can allow Connolly to sit out of their line-up for the duration of the WJC? Is there a replacement that could come in and do a better job that Connolly? You can bet that Steve Yzerman will be mulling over these questions until decision time.

That being said, if I were a betting man, I’d count on number 14 staying with the Lightning through the holiday season. His size, youth and determination are too valuable for the Lightning to lose. Let’s hope that Connolly can be a great member of this team for a long time. To Steve Yzerman: I think you found a heck of a player.

Thanks for reading and have a good night.

Follow me on Twitter: @michaelstuart93
Filed Under:   tampa   bay   lightning   brett   connolly   world   junior  
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Blog Archive

01 Lightning News and Notes to Start December
02 Why Bolts Must Get Into Bobby Ryan Trade Discussions
02 Breaking News: Lightning Make Minor Trade with Panthers
03 10 Bold Predictions for Rangers vs. Lightning Game
04 Lightning Lose to Rangers: My Prediction Round Up
06 Simply Embarassing: Lightning Drop 5th Straight to Islanders
08 Lightning Beat Rangers to End Losing Streak - Mixed Bag
10 The 1-3-1 Returns: Flyers Take on Bolts at Wells Fargo
11 Lightning Fall to Flyers: The Slot Looks Like a Drive-Thru
12 From Bad to Worse + Lightning Sign Miettinen
14 Lightning Talk: Defensemen to Target in Free Agent Frenzy
14 Scenario
15 Bolts Squeeze By Flames Thanks to Dominant Second Period
17 Lightning Should Make a Push for Shea Weber
18 Bolts Down Blue Jackets + Rumor Round-Up
20 Why the Lightning WILL make the Playoffs This Season
22 Lightning Embarrassed by Sharks in San Jose: U-G-L-Y
22 Tampa Bay Lightning: I Want Your Opinions
23 Bolts vs. Avalanche: A Long-Winded Game Preview
24 Bolts Lose to Avalanche in Goalie Battle + Rumor Round-Up
25 Risky Business: Victor Hedman and Other Top-5 D-Men
26 Flyers vs. Bolts Shaping Up to be a Great Game -- Preview
27 Next 6 Games Vital for Lightning + My Predictions
27 Bryzgalov Shaky as Lightning Beat Up on Flyers
29 A Tale of Two Underperforming Teams: Bolts vs. Canadiens
29 A V for Vinny, a V for Victory: Bolts Down Habs 4-3
30 Bolts/Canes Preview + HB Hotstove Response + Rumor Update
31 Lightning Defeat 'Canes 5-2 on Phil Esposito Night