Wednesday, May 05, 2010
RW-R / 6-2, 175 / 26-Apr-92
Skating: 60 / Skill: 50 / Sense: 55 / Compete: 55 / Tough: 50
Strengths: Decent shooting touch. Excellent puck in possession along the boards. Energetic and physical. Above average skater for his size.
Weaknesses: Needs to get stronger. Stickhandling and receiving passes isn't great. Defensive zone instincts aren't real good. Overall game is still a bit raw.
A big time late season riser. Lanky with a frame that projects well. Improved his stride quite a bit this season, so he's got that always very desirable package of size and skating. Quick, accurate release on his wrist shot. But overall his hands are only so-so.
Excellent on the low cycle, has a knack for protecting the puck despite overall lack of strength. Good vision when he's working the low boards or behind the net and loves to dish to the slot with the backhand pass. Started to show just a little bit of dynamic ability off the rush late in the season, but lateral quickness and stickhandling will need to improve for this to become a real strength in his game.
Competes and throws the body around pretty regularly. Not very effective physically yet, but the desire and the frame suggest his physical effectiveness could get much better in the future.
Summary: I think he's only begun to show what he can do. Still mostly projection, but he could have some 2nd line upside. This is a guy I'd love to steal with a 3rd, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. If I'm picking around 55th and he's available, I'd argue hard for him. Somewhat risky (seems like a boom-or-bust prospect to me) as a 2nd/3rd rounder, but provides more upside than the usual player you get in that 50-100 pick range.
Draft Day: I think he's a late riser on many NHL lists and could be in several teams 2nd round range. I won't be shocked if he goes as high as 40-50 overall. He becomes a serious steal anywhere after the 70th pick.
Saturday, May 01, 2010
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.