Draft update: Connolly's stock rising?

June, 1, 2010
6/01/10
8:56
AM CT
ESPN.com has you covered for the NHL Draft and a few folks were blogging from the scouting combine last week. Here's a blog item on Brett Connolly. The right winger from Prince George could be available around the time the Stars select at No. 11. The question is whether he's healthy. Here's part of the entry on Connolly:

Connolly, ranked No. 3 on Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, was obviously the player whose performance in the testing was of the greatest interest after missing the bulk of the season with a hip injury.

The good news is that Connolly was able to get through the bike portions -- the Wingate (here's an example from last year) and VO2 testing (find more about that here) -- and the vertical and standing broad jumps with no problem. If he had limped away it could have ended up costing him millions, not to mention slots in the first round. He managed to walk away seemingly none the worse for wear.

It's not a done deal. Connolly said that at least five teams have asked him to come in for exams from their doctors, and that number is sure to grow. Said one amateur scouting director: "We have the MRIs sent out by his agent but we have to have our own guys look at him. He did well enough [in the combine testing] but that only gives you a look at where he is now. A closer look and maybe something shows that he could have more problems down the line."

The consensus at the combine is that Connolly is a surefire top-10 pick and a likely top-5 in the entry draft if all his team physicals go well. That teams are talking about Connolly in this bracket after such limited play this year is a testament to past performances in his rookie season with PG. One scout's take: "As an under-ager [with the Canadian team at the 2009 under-18s] in Fargo he had a great tournament, arguably their most promising player, ahead of a lot of older players who were pretty good prospects. That's a pretty big feat, considering they were all second-year juniors and he had one year with the weakest team in the Dub [WHL]."
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.
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