SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has signed unrestricted free agent forward Mike Connolly to an entry-level contract. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Mike has proven his ability at the collegiate level and we are excited to help him take the next step in his hockey career,” said Wilson. “Head Coach Scott Sandelin and Assistant Coaches Brett Larson and Derek Plante at Minnesota-Duluth have created a terrific, winning environment for young players to succeed and Mike will benefit from that experience moving forward.”
Connolly, 21, was the third-leading scorer for the NCAA Champion University of Minnesota-Duluth of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with 54 points (28 goals, 26 assists) in 42 games. He was named 2010-11 NCAA All-American (second team), 2010-11 All-WCHA (first team), 2010-11 insidecollegehockey.com WCHA Player of the Year and selected to the 2011 NCAA East Regional All-Tournament Team.
He placed third on the UMD scoring charts with a career-high 54 points, which ranked seventh among all NCAA skaters while skating at left wing on the highest scoring line in the nation this winter.
Connolly is just the third Bulldog to open his career with three straight 40-point seasons. He equaled a school single game record by scoring five goals in UMD's 6-4 win over Minnesota on Feb. 5 and finished 27th all-time among Bulldogs in scoring with 136 points in 123 games, while earning a plus-34 for his career
Connolly, who recently finished his junior season, scored a power play goal in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals game against Notre Dame to help send UMD to the championship game.
The Calgary, Alberta native played two seasons in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League with the Camrose Kodiaks before joining the UMD Bulldogs.