The Boston Bruins had a very unusual opportunity during this trade session. The Bruins essentially got a do-over of the 2010 NHL Draft. This time around (through a series of moves) ended up with the sixth overall selection from that year. Brett Connolly was selected only four spots behind the Boston Bruins initial choice, Tyler Seguin.
While Seguin found himself fast-tracked to the NHL and ultimately to a Stanley Cup, Connolly found himself moving between leagues to start his career. This year found Connolly playing his first full year in the NHL, but at a very limited level. “This is different, for sure — but it’s exciting, obviously,” said Connolly after today’s practice.
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“You want to be in a position like this. Every player dreams of this, and I’m excited for it. Hopefully, I can embrace it. Obviously, for me, [I] enjoyed myself in Tampa, but it’s a new beginning, a fresh start, and I’m excited.”-Brett Connolly on his first day with the Bruins
Every team has a different playbook and Claude Julien‘s is no exception. Tampa Bay’s offense is certainly more explosive than the Bruins. There will certainly be growing pains in any transition, but Connolly appears to be ready and looking forward to the challenge.
“I think the system mostly will be the hardest part,” Connolly said. “The guys have been great, obviously — I got in, and right away, making me feel welcome, and that’s a big part of it. Obviously that helps, so for me, that makes you feel a little more comfortable out there. So I’m excited about that. Obviously for a couple of drills, you’re trying to feel the guys out, but it was good. The guys have been great, welcomed me right away. I just got in [this] morning, so it’s been a quick turnaround. I’m excited. Again, there’s a good winning tradition here, and I’m excited and hope to be a part of it.”
Today saw Connolly sporting the Merlot jersey of the Bruins fourth line. Connolly was playing in the position of the recently departed Jordan Caron. Caron now has his own fresh start playing for the Colorado Avalanche.
On the other side of the ice head coach Claude Julien had to evaluate the new winger and see where his development was. With just six short weeks before the start of the playoffs, the Black and Gold don’t have much time to proceed. They have to have the twenty-two year old forward jump in and be ready to learn as much as possible.
“This is a guy that’s in his first full year,” said the Bruins bench boss after his first on-ice evaluation of the Bruins latest acquisition. “I think he’s got skill, I know he can shoot the puck, but we’ll see how he fits in with our hockey club, and where he fits in, with time. I think Connolly, once we see him, we might realize that he’s a pretty good player. I know he’s got a good shot, good size, and I know for a fact that in Tampa Bay, when you’re playing behind the Callahans that are righties, and the Stamkoses and stuff like that, it’s hard — but we certainly have a shortage of right-hand shots here, so I would expect him to help us immediately.”
The Bruins have been a team overstocked with centers, so Julien can sympathize.
Bruins forwards have found themselves playing up and down the lines this season. Only the Bergeron line has remained largely intact this season. If Connolly can meet the Bruins organizations expectations, he won’t be wearing Merlot for long.