RW-R / 6-2, 180 / 02-May-92
Skating: 70 / Skill: 75 / Sense: 75 / Compete: 60 / Toughness: 60
Strengths: Fantastic hockey sense. Can do it all offensively. All zones player.
Weaknesses: Hip troubles could be a long term health concern. Has some bulking up to do before he hits the NHL.
--Might be the best forward prospect to come out of the WHL since Patrick Marleau, and has a very similar game. Showed fantastic top-end speed back in September before the hip troubles resurfaced. Looked a bit slow at the end of the season, but I chalk that up to conditioning, having sat out so much of the year.
When he's healthy, he's a dangerous and versatile player offensively. Plays the game at a fast pace, and is an excellent stickhandler and playmaker at top speed. Excellent creativity and vision, especially in transition. Accurate shooting touch. Outstanding hockey sense is his best asset - tremendous anticipation in all game situations. Underrated defensively.
A mild concussion suffered in his rookie season (Dec 13, 2008 game) also has to be considered in the medical evaluations.
Summary: It's all about the injury risk with Connolly. If you're not concerned about the hips, then he's easily the 3rd best player in the entire draft and should go right after Hall and Seguin. Otherwise, I think his upside still justifies rolling the dice around picks 8-14.