The Florida Panthers have not officially broken up with Brett Connolly although it appears a parting of the ways is eventually coming.
On Sunday, Florida placed the veteran forward on waivers.
The team does not comment on players who have been waived so we do not know their intention other than they would be OK if another team claimed him.
With two-plus seasons remaining on his contract as a cap hit of $3.5 million, that is not likely.
A trade, however, could be. Not right now, perhaps, but down the road.
Connolly, 28, may be an attractive piece for a team challenging for a playoff spot not named the Panthers. Teams remember what he did for Washington, one reason why Florida signed him to a four-year deal in 2019.
So far this season, Florida has already relegated Connolly to fourth line work and scratched him in four of five games earlier this month before he got back into the lineup.
Saturday night, Connolly played just 11 shifts. He has one goal this season.
Last year, Connolly scored 19 goals, getting his last one in what ended up being the season-finale in St. Louis on March 9.
Of those 19 goals, 15 came before Jan. 1.
So, since New Year’s 2020, Connolly has five goals for the Panthers.
The most likely outcome here is that the Panthers put Connolly on waivers figuring he would not get picked up.
Perhaps a team told them they would take him but did not want to give anything up.
If he does clear, it would allow the Panthers to, perhaps just temporarily, place him on the taxi squad for games in which he might otherwise be scratched and give themselves a little more roster flexibility.
Connolly’s salary would not be affected by going to the taxi squad.
Florida recently recalled skilled forward Grigori Denisenko and may want to give him a shot.
Owen Tippett is also scrapping for playing time.
Teams have until noon Monday to put in a claim for Connolly, a player very popular in Washington who was a part of the Capitals 2018 Stanley Cuo team.
Washington would not claim Connolly due to his contract and its own cap concerns but a trade down the road could be possible.