The last few profiles have focused on players not thought to be in high demand when free agency opens. Brett Connolly will join Richard Panik and Joonas Donskoi as players the New Jersey Devils may want to take a look at in helping address their lack of scoring depth.
The eight-year veteran is coming off a career year. While serving on the Capitals’ third line, he tallied 46 points (22 G, 24 A) in 81 games. Last year also marked the most ice time he’s ever gotten at just above 13 minutes a game, which may be a bit of a surprise as scoring 46 points in only 13 minutes a night is impressive.
Unfortunately, outside of his offensive prowess Connolly doesn’t bring much more to the table. His struggles defensively are documented by the above chart, which contains statistics for the past three years that measures the effects Connolly has on his team in certain areas. The first bar is extremely high (Off_GF), which confirms the idea of Connolly’s solid offensive production. However, the latter two bars show his less than stellar defensive impacts.
Although Connolly has been in the league for eight years, he only just turned 27. Since the Devils are a team following the league-wide youth movement, the addition of Connolly would follow this plan.
Related: Free Agent Profile: Joonas Donskoi
A current projection – courtesy of @EvolvingWild – predicts a three-year contract valued at just above $3,536,091 annually. This projection seems a bit high as a salary closer to $3,000,000 seems more reasonable.
A glaring issue for the Devils last season was secondary scoring, and Connolly brings exactly that. His whole career he has served as a third line presence that brings a solid scoring touch. As evident above, this scoring touch was on full display.
There are, however, better secondary scoring options that also bring the thing Connolly lacks, defense. Free agents such as Joonas Donskoi and Richard Panik both bring the scoring depth as well as defense. With that being said, Connolly would not be a bad option if the Devils lose out on these guys. However, given his lack of defensive game, I assume general manager Ray Shero will stay away.