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The Toronto Maple Leafs were quiet on day one of NHL free agency, which was probably a good thing. They avoided the big mess that was players receiving contracts that were too expensive, and began their work today by signing Tim Connolly to a two-year, $9.5 million contract.
Connolly, 30, played in 68 games for the Buffalo Sabres last season. In those 68 games, he scored 13 goals and 29 assists for a total of 42 points.
In 627 career games, Connolly has 118 goals and 277 assists for 395 points. His best season came in 2009-2010, when he put up 17 goals and 48 assists in 73 games. Connolly has also been known to play some of the best hockey of his career against the Maple Leafs.
One of Connolly’s biggest problems over the course of his career has been injuries. The Syracuse, New York native has missed 190 regular season games since the 2004-2005 lockout due to various injuries. His latest injury came during the 2011 playoffs, but Connolly says he is completely healthy and ready to go for next season.
Many people would be quick to point out that Connolly’s salary cap hit for the next two seasons of $4.75 million is a little too much. However, as long as he can stay healthy, Connolly should be a nice fit on a line with Phil Kessel and possibly Nikolai Kulemin. Assuming he remains healthy and is matched up with those two, all three could easily reach 70 points.
If he does run into injury problems once again, the Leafs won’t be in too much trouble. Despite his heavy cap hit, the Leafs still have plenty of flexibility to make some moves and Connolly is only on the books for two years, meaning the Maple Leafs won’t have to worry.
Thanks to CapGeek.com for all of the salary cap information.