Tim Connolly’s return to the NHL may come sooner rather than later, but whether or not it will be with the Toronto Maple Leafs is in question as general manager Dave Nonis told Sportsnet 590 The Fan that a number of teams have called to inquire about the 31-year-old centre.
“Is there a chance (Connolly) will be back (in the NHL)? No question,” Nonis told Brady and Lang in the morning. “We’ve had teams call on him. I would expect at some point whether it’s with us or someone else that he’ll be back in the NHL before the season’s over.”
Since joining the Marlies after clearing waivers, Connolly has scored five goals and netted two assists in seven games for the AHL affiliate.
Talking about Colton Orr and the role that he is asked to play night in and night out, Nonis said that the veteran forward is aware of what is asked of him on the ice and couldn’t be happier with it.
“You look at his minutes and he’s been effective.” Nonis said. “He’s an important part of our leadership group.”
When asked about forward Nikolai Kulemin’s offensive struggles, Nonis admitted that 2010’s 30-goal season was “lightening in a bottle” and that the Russian import is more likely to score 15 goals a year. With that being said, Nonis made it clear that the team has no issues with turning to the 26-year-old winger on a consistent basis.
“Kulemin’s not going to score 30 goals again,” he said. “Randy feels comfortable with him.”
Additionally, Nonis said that Matt Frattin and James Reimer were on schedule to return from their respective knee injuries.