How do you solve the problem of Tim Connolly? I for one, was a huge proponent of the get rid of Tim Connolly now campaign. In fact, I was in the engine car of the train on most nights.
It does not take long for Tim Connolly to get into the doghouse with the fans, given his track record for being injured, giving the puck away, and failing to put the puck in the net. We want Tim Connolly to be scoring goals left and right, but thats not his style. If you take a look at his game stats – when he does score he is between 40 percent and 100 percent shooting percentage. Your absolutely right, if he didn’t cough the puck up at the blue line all the time he could shoot more. Fact of the matter is, when he does shoot, it usually goes in the net.
He’s only every played a full season once, and that was the 2000-2001 campaign. His best “statistical” season he ever played wasn’t in the NHL, hell it wasn’t even in the United States. He scored seven goals in sixteen games during the lockout season for SCL Tigers of the Swiss League.
The only thing we can really fault Tim Connolly for is making too much money. If Tim Connolly was playing for the Buffalo Sabres for a salary similar to Grier or Niedermayer – I don’t think we would be so hard on him.
With new ownership in place there are going to be major changes made this year in free agency. Or so we are told. So far the new owners have done in their power what they have promised, but there are no guarantees as to what is going to happen this year after the season ends.
Terry Pegula is a fan more than he is the owner of the Buffalo Sabres. As much as the fans want to dog Tim Connolly – if Pegula thinks he is a piece to the puzzle this team needs he is going to resign him. We are all sitting here hoping that Tim is looking for a job come July 1st, 2011. Why do I think that Tim Connolly might have the chance to stick around in a Buffalo uniform? He’s still playing. If the Sabres didn’t think he was critical to the operations of this team, he would get the nod every night for the press box – unless the Sabres just don’t want 4.5 million dollars sitting in the press box.
So the question I have - Is Tim Connolly playing more sound hockey now because a deal is in the works to keep him in Buffalo – or is his ass on the line and he is playing so that another team will want to pick him up come July 1st, 2011? Connolly’s ice time since October has been in the range of high 13 minutes to over 20 minutes per game all year . There has been no significant increase or decrease since Terry Pegula took over and gave this team new direction.
As much as I want to say that Tim Connolly has no place on this team, if I were Darcy Regier and Connolly came to me and said he wanted to stay, if I could get him for the right price, I would resign him. No way is he worth 4.5 million a year, but if I could get him locked into a two year deal worth two million and I could get this year out of him as a repeat, I would gladly keep number 19 in a Sabres Sweater. There is plenty of talent in Portland, and there will be plenty of talent available come July 1st. Until the Sabres can actually sign a free agent worth something more than Rob Niedermayer, its all talk that new owners want this to be a hockey destination for free agents.
On a much better team, Tim Connolly is an easy addition to the third or fourth line center position – but not at 4.5 million dollars. Thats top six money, and unfortunately Connolly was never really able to be a top six center.