Fantasy Impact: Washington Capitals sign winger Brett Connolly to a one-year contract worth $850,000.
The Capitals get: the sixth overall pick from 2010 at a very good cap hit. Connolly hasn't shown us much at the NHL level, but he's still only 24 and a lot of prospects don't even begin their NHL careers until that point. Hopefully he can stay healthy (that's been an issue at times) and can get a few looks on a scoring line. Connolly was rushing into the NHL at the age of 19. Then he spent two seasons in the AHL once Tampa Bay was able to send him there instead of the WHL.Connolly saw minimal ice time with the Bruins and that has succeeded in driving his appeal in the hockey world downward. But he's really just played two full seasons in the league (we'll ignore that 19-year-old season as an outlier) and one of them saw him miss a chunk of time due to injury.
Fantasy Players Impacted: if Stanislav Galiev was having a hard time getting into the lineup before, it's even worse now. And while I doubt Connolly will steal ice time from Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams, just taking a minute here or a minute there from them would be enough to hurt their numbers slightly. Slightly. The bigger concern is Jakub Vrana, who is ready for NHL duty. Will this signing force him to play one more season or partial season in the AHL? He'll certainly need to earn his spot and it could literally come down to Connolly vs. Vrana. Connolly's contract is small enough that it could be buried in the AHL. He is very talented, don't write him off, but he can't get hurt. This is a critical juncture in his career and an injury in training camp or in the first dozen games will hurt.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Connolly. A little. It's a slightly better situation than the one with Boston, and a fresh start. Last chance!
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Vrana (scouting profile here)
2. Williams – he's already showing his age. To lose another step now with Connolly around could prove costly. Williams' stats and game logs here.
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