Under Pressure: Brett Connolly


This post is part of Capitals Day on PHT…

There are two types of pressure in pro sports — the pressure to win (see: Alex Ovechkin), and the pressure to actually remain in pro sports.

Brett Connolly falls in the latter category. The former junior phenom, drafted sixth overall by the Lightning in 2010, is now on to his third NHL team. He signed a one-year, $850,000 deal with the Capitals on July 1, after the Bruins chose not to extend him a qualifying offer.

“He’s got good size, he skates well, he’s got good hands, he shoots the puck well,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said, per CSN Washington. “He just hasn’t seemed to put it together yet consistently. Talking to him, I think in hindsight he probably started in the league as too young a guy so his game hasn’t fully come around or matured and I think he’s got a good awareness of where he’s at and so do we. We’re going to try and fulfill his potential and he’s trying to do the same thing.”

Connolly, 24, had nine goals and 16 assists in 71 games for the B’s last season. At five-on-five, he spent a large chunk of time with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand (a couple of pretty good players) as his linemates. Though things started out well, they did not finish the same way, and so Boston moved on.

It remains to be seen where Connolly will fit with the Caps.

“We told him, you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to earn it,” said MacLellan. “You’ve got to show the coaches. You’ve got to gain some respect and we’ll see where you fit in. He could play third line, fourth line, it’s up to him.”