Maple Leafs put Tim Connolly on waivers
LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
|Tim Connolly skates at Maple Leafs practice Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. (JACK BOLAND/Toronto Sun)
Tim Connolly is the latest victim of Randy Carlyle’s change of culture in Toronto.
The Maple Leafs put last year’s free agent disappointment and his $4,750,000 US salary on waivers at noon today. It's not believed to be related to a compliance buyout. Connolly, who was criticized by coach Randy Carlyle at the end of Wednesday’s practice, was not at Thursday’s open practice at the Air Canada Centre.
While Connolly avoided the injury bug that marked his years in Buffalo, he was not worth the hefty two-year deal ex-GM Brian Burke gave him. Instead of challenging for the No. 1 centre role last year, he played in obscurity on the third line.
He becomes the second veteran forward that Carlyle has deemed a poor fit for his plan to stress more defensive hockey. On Wednesday night, Matthew Lombardi was traded to Phoenix for a fourth round pick in 2014.
If Connolly clears waivers Friday, the Leafs will be down to 26 players. They must get to 23 by later in the day.
Based on Thursday’s lines, Colton Orr and Matt Frattin are the extra forwards with the majority of cuts likely to come in defence. Two of Korbinian Holzer, Mike Kostka and Mark Fraser will be sent back to the Marlies while the injured Jake Gardiner likely opens the year on injured reserve.
It looks like 18-year-old defenceman Morgan Rielly gets a chance to start at the NHL level for a few games.