Andrei Markov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Roberto Luongo, Marc Savard, Sergei Gonchar, Johan Franzen, Simon Gagne, Sheldon Souray, Cam Ward, Eric Staal, Milan Lucic, Devin Setoguchi, Chris Drury and Daniel Sedin.
Quite the compilation wouldn't you say? With the list of injured NHL stars growing by the
week day, it's almost surprising that Tim Connolly hasn't been affected in any way, shape or form. The often delicate center is leading Buffalo in points (13) through 14 contests appearing perfectly fit.
Connolly's health is extremely vital to this organization's success. An elite puck-handler, the 28-year-old is creative, owns outstanding vision, prompt movement and soft hands. If it comes down to a single player covering him, chances are he'll make them look like an amateur.
On the powerplay, he is dangerous because of his aptitude of finding the open man, firing a shot in search of a deflection and the patience he displays. He's useful on the penalty kill as well eliminating crucial seconds with his slick movement.
His injury woes began in 2005/2006 and although Connolly totaled a career-high 55 points, it was in just 63 games. Over the next three seasons, a concussion followed by a bone spur, cracked vertebrae and a broken rib held him to 98 combined matches where he managed 88 points.
With a complete schedule played, there's no doubt Connolly can be an 80-point producer and possibly more. However, his body is always cause for concern and he must get a full year under his belt without issues.
Signed to a two-year contract last March, Sabres fans are hoping this is the season that see's Connolly play 80 games for the first time since 2003. Lord knows he's overdue.