Second HF Flyers edition. Dec05. FLYER PLAYER PROFILE â€“ CONNOLLY 6â€™1â€™ 200 pds, 1st Rd (5th overall) NYI 1999 Tim Connolly struggled to meet heavy expectations after being selected 5th overall by the NYI in the 1999 draft. Blessed with an overabundance of talent, Connolly exploded on the scene and displayed tremendous stick handling, vision and playmaking ability. As a rookie he put up 34 points on a weak NYI team. However, after an impressive start in NY, Connolly struggled in his second season but still produced 41 points. In 2001 the Islanderâ€™s traded Connolly to Buffalo along with Tyler Pyatt for Michael Peca. As a Sabre, Connolly improved his production to 45 points on a team that was not offensively gifted but much more was expected of him after the trade for fan favourite Michael Peca. Fans and media started blaming Connolly for their misfortune and the added pressure resulted in Connolly having his worst season in the NHL in 2002-03 as he finished with 25 points. The following season, Connolly hired personal trainers and worked on his game in the offseason but he suffered a severe concussion in training camp, which caused him to miss the season. The â€œlockoutâ€ season followed and anxious to play competitive hockey Connolly went overseas and restarted his career with a good showing in the Swiss league. Fast forward to the start of the 2005-06 season; there was much debate in the Buffalo organization on whether to release Connolly outright before training camp and not offer him a contract as he was scheduled to earn over $1 million dollars. Buffalo management still swayed by Timâ€™s tremendous talents decided to offer him a one-year deal. Connolly accepted and has not disappointed. After a slow start, Connolly has 23 points in his last 26 games and according to Buffalo media and scouts was deserving of an Olympic spot on the US team, outplaying many of the players selected, including teammate Chris Drury, Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk and other US veteran players. Connollyâ€™s snubbing from the US Olympic team in Turin could have resulted in not been placed on the preliminary list that was submitted in the fall to place candidates in the Olympic drug-testing pool. Team USA did not reveal its list like other countries so Connolly does not now if he was eligible. At the time, nobody expected Connolly to break through after all the challenges heâ€™s had to overcome the last few years. Certainly Connollyâ€™s play could not have been at issue, as heâ€™s doing everything for Buffalo this season. Heâ€™s the point man on the Sabre second PP unit and is one of Buffaloâ€™s top PK specialists. Besides being tied on the team in points he leads all forwards in the + - category. If Buffalo can surround him with some top line talent on the wings, Tim is capable of elevating his game to an elite level if he hasnâ€™t already. Incredibly still only 24 years, Connolly may even start to surpass the lofty projections put on him when he was selected 5th overall in the NHL draft.