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Why Connolly Is Practicing With Capitals At Informal Skates In Arlington

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Former Capitals forward Brett Connolly

The Washington Capitals saw a familiar face take the ice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Friday, as Brett Connolly practiced with his former teammates at the team’s informal skate ahead of training camp.

Per The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir, Connolly skated alongside Carl Hagelin, John Carlson, Lars Eller, Hendrix Lapierre, Joe Snively, Alex Alexeyev, Garnet Hathaway and Hershey Bears signee Sam Anas on Friday in Arlington. The 30-year-old remains an unrestricted free agent with weeks to go ahead of training camp.

Despite being in attendance, Connolly isn’t in town for the Capitals. The 2018 Stanley Cup champion told El-Bashir that he needed somewhere to skate and was just in town for personal and family matters.

After finishing his tenure in Washington in 2019, Connolly signed with the Florida Panthers. In 2019-20, he had 33 points in 69 games. However, he failed to maintain consistency with the club. And, after posting just four points in 21 games to open 2020-21, as well as being placed on waivers, Florida traded him, along with new Capitals center Henrik Borgstrom, to Chicago. He finished the campaign with a goal and assist in 10 games.

READ MORE ON WHN: Carl Hagelin Skating A Positive Sign For Washington Capitals

This past season was a rough one for Connolly. He had just one assist in nine NHL games and eventually found himself sent down to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. He had 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 37 games down with the IceHogs.

At the end of the season, the Blackhawks bought out the 30-year-old winger.

Connolly played a major role for Washington back during his time with the club. He assisted on Lars Eller’s Stanley-Cup winning goal in Game 5. He also impressed in his final year with the Capitals with top-6 numbers as he dished 22 goals and 24 assists for 46 points in 81 games.

However, the team has enough forwards to start the campaign — and potentially too many. If Hagelin returns, the team will have multiple NHL-caliber players and not enough spots.

In the end, though, Connolly can still earn a PTO, AHL deal or even sign overseas. Still, it’s encouraging to see him on the ice, especially with old friends.

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