Bolts Pass On Gormley and Draft Brett Connolly

When the drafted started to unfold the other night, and the Bolts pick was up, I was sure that we were going to take either Cam Fowler or Brandon Gormley.  I was actually leaning towards Gormley myself, and thought he would have been a great pick for our steadily improving blueline.

Steve Yzerman surprised just about everyone (including all the Bolts beat writers) and took winger Brett Connolly.  We actually needed a top line young winger more than a Dman, but I just didn’t think the Bolts would take the chance on Connolly with his injury history.

Connolly is only the 2nd 16 year old to post a 30 goal season in the WHL since Patrick Marleau did it in 1996.  The kid can play, and has a chance to be on the top line after training camp gets out.

Jeff Marek of the CBC had these tweets on Friday night regarding Connolly…

Connolly + Stamkos on the same team? Yikes.

8:07 PM Jun 25th via web

If healthy Connolly could be the biggest steal of the draft.

8:06 PM Jun 25th via web

Tampa selects Brett Connolly 6th overall. Tampa may have hit it out of the park with this pick.

8:02 PM Jun 25th via web

When someone of Marek’s clout says things like that, you have to be excited as a fan of the Bolts.

From HockeysFuture.com

History

2006-07: Chosen by the Prince George Cougars in the first round (10the overall) of the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft.

2007-08: Played in 4 games for the Cougars, picking up no points in thos games.

2008-09: In his WHL rookie season, Connolly scored 30 goals and added 30 assists for 60 points in 65 games for the Cougars.  He was named the 2008-09 WHL Rookie of the Year.  Scored 3 goals and added 3 assists in 6 games for Team Canada at the Under-18 WJC.

2009-10: Suffered a hip injury at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament prior to the WHL season which caused him to miss a good portion of the season.  Connolly played in 16 games for the Cougars, scoring 10 goals and chipping 9 assists for 19 points.  He played in 4 playoff games for the Cougars, picking up 2 assists in those games.  he was named to the 2010 CHL Top Prospects Game but had to withdraw due to his injury.

Click here to view this Brett Connolly interview from the 2010 NHL Draft Combine

Talent Analysis

A pure offensive talent who can make plays at a high rate of speed.  Can score goals as well as set them up.  He’ll have to show that he can handle the tougher going in the pro game, but a top=flight talent nonetheless.

Topics: Brandon Gormley, Brett Connolly, Cam Fowler, Patrick Marleau, Steve Yzerman

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