Tampa Bay Lightning: 30 Best Draft Picks In Franchise History

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Feb 18, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Brett Connolly (14) against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

22. Brett Connolly

Draft Year: 2010

Position: Forward

Oh, what could have been. Coming out of Prince George as a highly touted scorer, forward Brett Connolly was selected with the eighth selection in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft. You see what he did in Canadian Junior and you continue to wonder: Did the organization do the best job developing the young forward?

Due to the rise of many talented young prospects in Tampa Bay that included Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Richard Panik, Connolly just seemed to get lost in the fold. He went through the organization’s revolving door splitting time between the Lightning and the Syracuse Crunch. He just never found a way to get it going fully at the NHL level.

Finally, last season, Connolly’s game finally began to turn around. Playing bottom-six minutes, Connolly morphed his game and began to make an impression that he couldn’t do as a scorer. He seemed to be the J.T. Brown of today’s lineup when it came to scoring; he just didn’t finish at a high rate that you would hope that he would. Instead, Connolly continued to be passed up by other prospects that the team felt provided more balance to the roster.

Connolly was finally shipped out of Tampa to the Boston Bruins for two second round picks. He seems to have found some scoring touch over in Boston, currently with five goals and 12 points in 25 games, but we’ll still never see the player the Lightning hoped would score 30 goals a season when he was first drafted back in 2010.

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