Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs

Connolly clears waivers; Rielly going back to junior


Nobody wanted Tim Connolly for free. Perhaps they’re hoping to get him at a discount?

Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Connolly has cleared waivers.

It’s possible the Maple Leafs will try to trade the 31-year-old center while offering to retain part of his salary and cap hit (up to 50 percent, per the new CBA) as an inducement.

For now though, Connolly will report to the AHL Marlies.

Connolly had a disappointing 36 points in 70 games last season; however, he didn’t get near the amount of power-play time in Toronto as he did in Buffalo, where he put up 65 points for the Sabres in 2009-10.

Connolly is in the final year of his contract, with a salary of $4 million and cap hit of $4.75 million.

In other Leafs news, 18-year-old defenseman Morgan Rielly, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, has been sent back to WHL Moose Jaw.

Back to junior: Jackets send Jenner, Isles send Strome and Reinhart

Boone Jenner

Several NHL clubs have sent their junior-eligible prospects back to the Canadian Hockey League. Here are a few of the more notable assignments:

Jackets drop Jenner

The Columbus Blue Jackets have sent forward Boone Jenner back to OHL Oshawa. Jenner, 19, is currently one of the Ontario League’s top scorers and recently played with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships.

The Jackets selected Jenner in the second round — 37th overall — of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and many figured Jenner would be in the mix for a roster spot, given he’s skilled enough to play in the top nine and physical enough for a fourth-line energy role.

Instead, he was dropped.

“Tough decision,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. “Our goal is to get Boone playing where, career-wise, he’s able to develop and get him up to his maximum level as soon as possible. We’re getting him back where he can play in every situation.”

Isles assign Reinhart, Strome

New York have sent their top picks from 2011 and 2012 — forward Ryan Strome and defenseman Griffin Reinhart — to OHL Niagara and WHL Edmonton, respectively.

The Isles took Strome fifth overall last year and Reinhart fourth overall this year. It seemed unlikely that Reinhart, 18, had a shot to make the club but some figured Strome could be in the mix for a spot given his production in the Ontario League (fourth in scoring with 62 points in 32 games) and his play with Team Canada at the World Juniors (four goals in six games.)

Sens send Noesen, Ceci

Ottawa returned 2011 first-rounder (21st overall) Stefan Noesen and 2012 first-rounder (15th overall) back to OHL Plymouth and Owen Sound, respectively.

Neither were expected to make the team.

Caps send first-rounder Wilson back to junior

Thomas Wilson

The Capitals won’t have either of their 2012 first-round picks in the lineup this season.

That’s the word out of Washington on Wednesday as GM George McPhee announced the Caps have sent forward Tom Wilson back to OHL Plymouth.

Wilson, 18, was the 16th overall selection at the draft and earned praise from Washington head coach Adam Oates for his training camp performance thus far.

“He looked great out there,” Oates told the Washington Times. “He skated great, he looked like one of the guys and sometimes I didn’t realize it was him.”

Wilson was the second of Washington’s two first-round picks at the draft. The first, Filip Forsberg, was taken 11th overall and had already been dispatched to his Swedish team, Leksands, in late July.

Of note, Forsberg was named to the 2013 World Junior tournament All-Star team after pacing Sweden with five points in six games en route to a silver medal.

Jets send Burmistrov to AHL, Scheifele back to juniors

Alexander Burmistrov

The Jets made the lockout AHL assignments today and two names that standout are a pair of former first-round picks.

Winnipeg sent Alexander Burmistrov to St. John’s in the AHL while sending 2011 first-round pick Mark Scheifele back to his junior team in Barrie of the OHL.

Burmistrov’s assignment is a curious one as he could stand to use more ice time in the minors but there’s a possibility he bolts to the KHL during the lockout as well. After being picked eighth overall in the 2010 draft, Burmistrov has had a rough go of it in both Atlanta and Winnipeg fighting for ice time.

Scheifele, on the other hand, could’ve been looking at a starting job in Winnipeg this year but another year in junior hockey might not be so bad for the 19 year-old. He had 23 goals and 63 points in Barrie last season.


Columbus sends No. 2 pick Murray back to junior

Ryan Murray

Ryan Murray’s NHL debut has been put on hold.

That’s the news out of Ohio today as the Blue Jackets announced they sent Murray — the second overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — back to his WHL team in Everett.

The move is clearly lockout-related as Murray had a strong shot of making the NHL club out of training camp.

In May, the talented blueliner played with Team Canada at the 2012 World Hockey Championships, averaging nearly eight minutes a game, finishing the tournament plus-1 while playing with the likes of Duncan Keith, Dion Phaneuf and Jay Bouwmeester.

At 18, Murray was the youngest player on the Canadian roster.

The Jackets also announced they sent Boone Jenner, the 37th overall pick in 2011, back to his junior team in OHL Oshawa.

Jenner got his first taste of pro hockey last season with a five-game cameo for AHL Springfield, scoring once.