Tag: Tim Connolly

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.

PHT Morning Skate: Where Eric, Jordan Staal get ready for first season together

Jordan Staal Eric Staal

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Carey Price has a sore groin, but he insists that it’s “just a real minor thing” and he’ll be available on Saturday. (Calgary Sun)

Speaking of groin problems, Todd Bertuzzi couldn’t finish the Detroit Red Wings’ Thursday evening skate for similar reasons. (Detroit Free Press)

Even after they failed to lure Zach Parise to Pittsburgh over the summer, the Penguins have reasons to feel good about Sidney Crosby’s wingers. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Daniel Carcillo has been practicing on a line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa in the Chicago Blackhawks’ training camp. (CSN Chicago)

Eric and Jordan Staal have always been competitive with each other, but on Saturday they’ll begin their first NHL campaign together. (News & Observer)

The Ottawa Senators left for their season opener in Winnipeg with three goaltenders. Senators coach Paul MacLean said, “Right now, between the three of them, it’s hard to say which one is the best.” (Ottawa Sun)

Stars owner Tom Gaglardi couldn’t be happier to have Mike Modano join his franchise as an Executive Advisor and Alternate Governor. (Dallas News)

After trading Matthew Lombardi and waiving Tim Connolly, the Toronto Maple Leafs have handed Nazem Kadri a golden opportunity. (Toronto Sun)

Leafs expected to place Connolly on waivers

Tim Connolly Getty

It’s possible, if not likely, Tim Connolly has worn a Maple Leafs uniform for the last time. The 31-year-old wasn’t at Toronto practice this morning and it’s expected he’ll be placed on waivers.

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

If he isn’t claimed for free, the Leafs could try to trade him while offering to retain part of his salary (up to 50 percent, per the new CBA) as an inducement.

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

The Leafs cut ties with another veteran center yesterday when they traded Matthew Lombardi to Phoenix.

If Connolly departs as well, young forwards Nazem Kadri, 22, and Matt Frattin, 25, could find permanent spots with the big club.

For what it’s worth, the Vancouver Canucks are believed to have requested Kadri as part of a proposed trade for goalie Roberto Luongo.

PHT’s Pressing Questions: Will Toronto finally make the playoffs?

Toronto Maple Leafs v Vancouver Canucks

Every day until the season starts we’ll explore an intriguing storyline for the upcoming year.

Last April, Florida’s gain was Toronto’s pain.

When the Panthers clinched a playoff spot on Apr. 5, they snapped the NHL’s longest postseason drought — 12 years — and passed that depressing mantle onto the Leafs.

It’s been seven years since the Leafs last made the playoffs. The last time they did it, in 2003-04, the roster included the likes of Mats Sundin, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ron Francis, Ed Belfour and Brian Leetch.

All five of those guys are now in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

So yeah, long time.

Long time.

For one of the league’s most storied franchises — one recently fired GM Brian Burke called the “crown jewel” and “Vatican” of the NHL — that stretch of futility is unacceptable.

Which brings us to the question at hand:

Will the futility end this season?

If the early parts of training camp were any indication, there’s not a lot of optimism.

Toronto began the campaign in the most dysfunctional way imaginable — by firing Burke, the club’s outspoken architect.

His dismissal went down almost exactly as many figured it would, with a hailstorm of controversy, sound bites and unanswered questions as to why owners decided to turf the GM eight days prior to the start of a condensed regular season.

That hasn’t been the only distraction in Leaf land, either.

The goaltending situation — the bane of Burke’s four-year existence — is as convoluted as ever. Talks of an impending Roberto Luongo acquisition continue to swirl and, should that trade never come to fruition, there’s debate over which in-house candidate would be No. 1.

Former No. 1 James Reimer should be the starter by default, but he hasn’t played a competitive game since March 2011. He’s also looked shaky in camp and could be surpassed by Ben Scrivens, who has been playing frequently in the AHL and, according to CBC’s Glen Healy, looks like a confident goalie.

“Just looking at Scrivens’s body language, he seems to have a lot of swagger,” said Healy. “The biggest thing for goaltenders is that six inches between your ears — that belief that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish. That you can do it. That you’ve got confidence.

“His emergence into [the NHL] game could not be better timed, with the lockout ending and a lot of other players not playing.”

As for other personnel, the Leafs didn’t upgrade much from a roster that finished 13th in the Eastern Conference a year ago.

James van Riemsdyk came aboard (at the expense of losing Luke Schenn) and checking center Jay McClement was signed in free agency. Morgan Rielly, the fifth overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, could challenge for a roster spot, but is only 18 years old.

Which means Toronto might be seeking improvement from within.

To that end, the Leafs should have some optimism. One of the biggest disappointments from last year was Nikolai Kulemin, who saw his goal production decrease from 30 in 2010-11 to seven in 2011-12.

The 30-year-old Russian was active during the lockout, playing with Magnitogorsk of the KHL, racking up 38 points in 36 games.

He’s just one of a number of Leafs that need to improve from disappointing 2011-12 campaigns (others, to name a few: Tim Connolly, Cody Franson, Mike Komisarek, John-Michael Liles.)

But really, improvement has to come across the board. The only way the Leafs are going to make the playoffs is if everything about the team gets better, something head coach Randy Carlyle acknowledges.

“I’ve left the message with the players in departing last year that we were not competitive enough in all three zones,” Carlyle explained. “We have to be prepared to go — if you want to call it war in some situations, so be it — we want to be able to compete night in, night out, for every puck, every faceoff.

“That’s the message that’s been delivered. That’s the type of style we’re expected to play.”


For all the PHT Pressing Questions, click here.

Report: Grigorenko won’t play in Buffalo this season

Mikhail Grigorenko

The Buffalo Sabres will reportedly keep Mikhail Grigorenko — the 12th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — in junior for the remainder of this season, according to Le Journal de Quebec.

Le Journal learned of the decision from Ray Cloutier, play-by-play man for the Quebec Remparts, Grigorenko’s QMJHL club.

Cloutier tweeted that a “reliable source” claimed the plan was to keep the talented Russian in junior for the full season, rather than have him play with the Sabres if (when?) the NHL season gets underway.

(For more on this story, check out Yahoo!’s Buzzing The Net)

If the report checks out, it’ll be a surprising decision to say the least.

Grigorenko — who once challenged Nail Yakupov as the top prospect for the ’12 draft — is a dynamic talent with NHL-ready size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds).

He also made it clear at Buffalo’s July prospects camp his goal for this season is to play for the Sabres.

“Make the NHL,” he said of his plans for 2012-13. “I’m getting stronger and on the ice I feel more comfortable.”

Grigorenko’s done all he can to make good on that goal. He currently leads Quebec in scoring with 29G-21A-50PTS — fifth overall in the league — and was recently named to Team Russia for the upcoming World Junior championships.

What’s more, Buffalo doesn’t have much depth at center.

The Sabres have lost the services of centers Tim Connolly, Paul Gaustad and Derek Roy over the last year and a half, leaving them with Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis projected as their top two centers.

Grigorenko has drawn comparisons to famous Russian center Alexander Yakushev — a star from the 1972 Summit Series — so it stands to reason he could be in line for minutes with Buffalo…you know, assuming he gets the chance.


Sabres sign 12th overall pick Grigorenko

Grigorenko wants to wear Alex Mogilny’s No. 89 in Buffalo