The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed right wing Brett Connolly to a standard three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Connolly, 6-foot-2, 181 pounds, spent last season with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League, recording 46 goals, 27 assists and 73 points in 59 games played. He set WHL career-highs for goals and points while also ranking third among all WHL goal-scorers. His 15 power-play goals ranked 12th.
A native of Campbell River, British Colombia, Connolly has spent each of the past four seasons with Prince George of the WHL. Throughout his career he has amassed 86 goals and 152 points in 144 WHL games. He has also appeared in five career postseason games, registering two points.
Prior to being selected by the Lightning with the sixth overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles, Connolly was ranked third among North American skaters according to NHL Central Scouting. In 2008-09, Connolly led the Cougars with 30 goals, 30 assists and 60 points in 65 games. He also tied for the team lead in playoff points that season, recording two assists. Also in 2008-09, Connolly became the first 16-year-old Western Hockey League rookie to score 30 goals in a season since Patrick Marleau accomplished the feat in 1995-96. He finished with a team-high 60 points and beat out Evgeny Grachev and Dmitry Kulikov to be named the Canadian Hockey League and WHL Rookie of the Year.
In addition to his success in the North American ranks, Connolly has also excelled on the international stage. He most recently represented Team Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Championships held in Buffalo, New York, where he recorded three assists in seven games in helping his team to a silver medal. In addition, Connolly appeared in the 2010 Under-18 World Championships for the second consecutive year after also being selected in 2009. During the 2009 tournament, Connolly was the youngest player on Team Canada, recording six points in six games. During that same year, at the 2009 World Under-17 Challenge, he led Team Pacific with eight points in six games en route to winning a silver medal.