TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Lightning are giving Brett Connolly a chance to represent Canada at the 2012 IIHF world junior hockey championship.
The Bolts announced Friday that the 19-year-old forward is being loaned to Hockey Canada for its selection camp for the tournament from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Calgary and Edmonton.
Connolly, who has four goals and eight points through 28 matches this season, will be among 41 other hopefuls battling for a position on the final roster for the event.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman says the decision to loan the rookie wasn't any easy one, but believes the experience will enhance his game.
?It's important for these young guys to play in these big events and in pressure games,? Yzerman told The St. Petersburg Times. ?They make you better. We still want him here, but what?s best for Brett Connolly in the long run is best for us all. I?m confident this is the right thing for him.?
Connolly ? the No. 6 overall draft pick in 2010 ? also suited up for Canada in last year?s tournament.