Leafs expected to place Connolly on waivers

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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.