This will be a brief series detailing the top 10 most frustrating Buffalo Sabres players since the last lockout. Here is #6, in my opinion…with Max Afinogenov at #10, Craig Rivet at #9, Ales Kotalik at #8, Andrej Sekera at #7, Shaone Morrisonn at #6, Paul Gaustad at #5, Ryan Miller at #4, and Derek Roy at #3…
#2 – Tim Connolly
Tim Connolly, a Syracuse native, was the 5th overall draft pick of the New York Islanders in 1999. He was sent to the Sabres in the summer of 2001 in a trade for fan-favorite Mike Peca. Immediately, Connolly was faced with high expectations being a first round draft pick, and trying to fill the void left by the gritty leadership of Peca.
In his first 4 NHL season, Connolly only missed 3 games. Then, in 2003-2004, the “Timmy The Tin Man” monicker was born, after he was injured in pre-season and missed the entire year. Connolly was knocked out of the 2006 playoffs, and missed almost the entire 2006-2007 season. The injuries alone made Connolly one of the most frustrating Sabres of all-time, even if they weren’t his own fault. There was no denying the level of talent and skills he possessed; Connolly could put the puck on a string and stick-handle through a port-o-potty at times. He had a nice shot, and made crisp passes.
Unfortunately, Connolly never participated in a full NHL season in the last 6 years he spent in Buffalo. He did post 65 points in 73 games in 2009-2010. Despite his talent, Connolly was never a favorite of the fans due to his injury plagues and anti-tough play. This is a guy who got hurt at a Ryan Miller Charity Runway event. This is a guy that I saw flinching during a Craig Charron Charity Hockey game.
In the summer of 2011, the Sabres let Connolly walk, and he signed with Toronto, putting up a meager 36 points in 70 games, and missing time with injuries (surprise, surprise).