Another NHL veteran has opted to sign in Europe to continue his professional career. Swiss club HC Lugano announced today that the team has signed winger Brett Connolly to a one-year contract for the 2022-23 season.
Connolly spent the last season and a half in the Chicago Blackhawks organization, where he ended up playing just 19 NHL games compared to 37 AHL games for the Rockford IceHogs. Connolly had just a goal and two assists in those 19 games across the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, while faring much better in the AHL with 35 points in 37 games in 2021-22 for Rockford.
This past season, Connolly’s NHL time was limited in part due to a four-game suspension for interfering with Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero. With his bloated seven-figure cap hit, Connolly also cleared waivers multiple times. Connolly was bought out this summer with one season remaining on a four-year, $3.5MM AAV deal signed prior to the 2019-20 season.
At the age of 30, this could very well be the last we’ve seen of Connolly in the NHL. The sixth overall pick in 2010 currently has a career total of 101 goals, 94 assists, and 195 points in 536 games.
He’ll be strong offensive reinforcement for Lugano, who also fortified their goaltending by bringing former Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen back to Europe. They’ll look to make it out of the National League quarterfinals for the first time since losing the championship series in 2018.