Sunday, July 3, 2011

Leafs mercifully only sign Tim Connolly

When Brian Burke announced the Maple Leafs would be very active on July 1, I cringed knowing that talent pool was weak and the prices would be high. Thankfully the Leafs missed out on Brad Richards and settled for Tim Connolly.

The Leafs have been wisely stockpiling young players. Right now those players are cheap but over time they will become much more expensive. Providing free agents with big long term contracts may force you to begin shedding some of the young talent over time. That is what happened to Chicago. So a short term contract for Connolly makes sense.

How much is Connolly being over paid at $9.5 million over 2 years? Well he will be their second highest paid forward just behind Phil Kessel. He has never scored 2o goals in a season and only twice exceeded 50 points. Those are not numbers of a first line centre. If he had a Clarke MacArthur type of year that would be great but he still wouldn't be worth the money. But this is what you get in the free agent market. Mike Komisarek cost the Leafs $22.5 million over 5 years and he often doesn't even get 10 minutes of ice in a game.

Connolly is a playmaker so let's hope he can click with Phil Kessel. He will help the powerplay and penalty killing and we know how bad the Leafs' special teams have been. But let's not kid ourselves this guy can't stay healthy which is the only reason this contract sucks.

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