KENNEWICK, WA – Tri-City Americans Governor/General Manager Bob Tory announced today that, shortly after the NHL Trade Deadline passed, he was notified by Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman that the Lightning opted to keep 19-year-old forward Brett Connolly and would not be sending him back to the Western Hockey League.
This season, the Campbell River, B.C.-native has currently played in 48 games for the Lightning, totaling 4 goals, 9 points and 20 penalty minutes. Before making the jump to the NHL, Connolly had compiled 86 goals and 152 points in 144 WHL games as a member of the Cougars. Last season, Connolly recorded 46 goals and 73 points while serving as the Cougars’ team captain. As a 16-year-old rookie, Connolly also picked up 2008-09 CHL and WHL Rookie of the Year honors after posting an impressive 30-goal, 60-point season. He was originally the Cougars’ 1st round (10th overall) selection in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft.
Connolly, the 6’2 205-pound right winger, was a first-round (6th overall) selection by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2010 NHL Draft and is currently playing with the National Hockey League club. Connolly also served as an alternate captain with Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship, picking up 5 goals and 6 points in Canada’s Bronze-medal run.
Tri-City acquired the rights to Connolly from the Prince George Cougars at the 2012 WHL Trade Deadline in exchange for a 5th round pick in the 2013 Bantam Draft.
“Although we are disappointed that Brett is not joining our team, we completely understand the rationale behind Tampa’s decision,” explained Tory. “Steve had to make a decision that was best for his hockey club and Brett’s development.”
“Dealing with (Yzerman) on this since the WHL Trade Deadline was both professional and ongoing,” Tory continued. “Steve promptly, and regularly, kept us updated on Brett’s progress and situation. I’d like to sincerely thank Steve and the Tampa Bay Lightning organization for the time spent with us on this situation and the respect that they showed to our hockey club.”