The Leafs get: An injury prone but skilled center capable of playing in a top six role. Connolly was signed to a two-year contract worth about $4.5 million per season. After missing out on Richards, the Leafs went after their second choice. Cap space is only important if you need it, and over the next two years the Leafs needed to add a veteran center more than they needed the $4.5 million in cap space.
Fantasy Players Impacted:
Connolly will immediately help Phil Kessel, who now has a legitimate playmaking center to play with. Connolly has 77 assists in his past two seasons combined, while Bozak has 36. This move slides Mikael Grabovski down to the second line, but it won't affect his fantasy value much as he likely will stick with Nikolai Kulemin. Connolly becomes the top center in Toronto. He has averaged over 70 games played in the past two seasons, so his durability isn't as bad as it once was.
Connolly is also deadly on the power play and will open up a lot of space for Dion Phaneuf's point shot. Look for Connolly to slot in between Kesel and Lupul on line one.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
3. Lupul (hat tip to sentium)
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Tyler Bozak
2. Nazem Kadri (short term)