SUN Hockey Pool

Newest Flames defenceman excited for change of scenery

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:55 AM ET

CALGARY - Written off by the Chicago Blackhawks, the newest member of the Calgary Flames knew a trade was possible this season.

The 5-foot-11, 185-lb. defenceman was actually hoping for it.

I was excited to hear the news, Brian Connelly said from Rockford, Ill., Saturday after flying back from North Carolina with his former IceHogs teammates Friday night following the trade for Brendan Morrison.

It was the first trade in my life so it was a little strange, but Im looking forward to an opportunity and showing the Calgary organization what I can bring.

Hes shown the Hawks with back-to-back AHL all-star seasons, but still, he was pushed down the depth chart in terms of prospects as his age climbed after being signed as a free agent out of Colorado College in 2009.

Connelly netted 11 goals and 52 points in 80 games last year, and has five goals and 36 points through 44 so far this season, which earned him an invite to the AHL all-star event hell take part in Sunday and Monday in Atlantic City.

Im packing a large suitcase and just kind of going with it right now, he said.

With Chicago, it didnt work out. Youre not always gonna get your chance with your first organization. They had their plans, and I kind of knew that going into this year.

So the IceHogs top blueliner continued to work on his game which, from all reports, is that of a puck-moving defenceman with offensive upside but a smaller frame.

Now he has a new team to impress. A fresh start.

It was the opportunity Ive been looking for. Im excited to go to a team thats expressed their want in me, said Connelly, wholl report to Abbotsford but is hopeful a shot at the NHL is just a matter of time now.

I was just looking forward to pursuing my dream of playing in the NHL, which is the ultimate goal. I think with Calgary, its a pretty decent shot Ill have that opportunity.


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