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Yzerman: Drouin, Connolly sent down to get more minutes

Sep 30, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT

brettconnollygetty Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning made some tough roster moves by returning Jonathan Drouin to the QMJHL and sending Brett Connolly to the AHL. GM Steve Yzerman opened up about his decisions to the Tampa Bay Times and in both cases, it came down to the Lightning simply wanting them to get more ice time.

That argument is particularly easy to understand with Drouin, even if the decision will still come as a surprise to some. Drouin was taken with the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft after recording 105 points in 49 games with the QMJHL Halifax Mooseheads last season.

He was regarded as an early contender for the Calder Trophy, but Yzerman feared he might end up with limited minutes.

Connolly’s situation is a bit different as the 21-year-old already has 73 NHL games under his belt. On top of that, he excelled in the AHL last season with 31 goals and 63 points in 71 games.

Even still, he couldn’t find a spot on any of Tampa Bay’s top three lines, despite Yzerman’s assertion that he “played extremely well throughout camp.”

Yzerman is looking for Connolly to be a leader with AHL Syracuse until the circumstances in Tampa Bay changes for one reason or another and the Lightning suddenly have an appropriate spot available for him.

Meanwhile Tampa Bay’s quest to get back into the playoffs will start on Thursday with a game against the Boston Bruins.

  1. ibieiniid - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Mannnn… Drouin was my Damien Brunner of this fantasy hockey season. Last pick, super-sleeper. (My league doesn’t pay a lot of attention to rookies)

  2. mathieug79 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    I hate that guys like Ryan Malone who are often injured and are overpaid (salary cap $4.5M). Take away a spot for a young and coming prospect.

  3. canucks30 - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Don’t understand these moves. Especially after they bought out Lecavalier. Connolly in particular has got to be beyond frustrated.

    • jb8588 - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      Couldn’t agree more. Much of what Yzerman does doesn’t seem to make much sense quite honestly, but that’s another story. As much as I’m excited about seeing guys like Panik, Johnson, Labrie & Palat up now, Connolly should of made the team. Sending him back to the AHL after he proved himself there last season isn’t going to do much IMO.

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