In the first draft under the new regime, Steve Yzerman and the scouting staff threw everyone a curveball. With top rated defenseman Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley both surprisingly slipping to the Bolts, the team decided to go against the grain and select right winger Brett Connolly out of Prince George of the Western Hockey League.
Connolly played in 16 games last year, recording 10 goals and 9 assists. He was forced to sit out most of last year with a major hip flexor issue in not one but both of his hips.
This pick is concerning on many levels. The general consensus among most was that the biggest need this team had was on defense. It just doesn't make much sense to see two of the "big three" of defenseman land in your lap, and pass on them. It is also even more concerning when you look at Connolly's injury history. This is not to say that he will not be a top line star for many years to come, I just dont think that many were expecting a curve ball like this. To steal a baseball expression, this pick will either be a grand slam to win the game, or it will be a strike out to complete the no hitter.
Lets all hope its more of the former then the latter.