By Chris Block
Third year pro, and IceHogs defenseman, Brian Connelly is emerging as one of the AHL’s best defenseman.
Not best young defenseman, the Bloomington, Minnesota native is one of the top blue liners in the AHL, period.
A player head coach Ted Dent described as “our Duncan Keith,” Connelly is handling a heavy workload given to him by his boss, and thriving in doing so.
“He’s playing at a high level, the highest I’ve seen since he’s been in Rockford,” Dent told us. “[Connelly] is just controlling the game, shooting the puck well, making good decisions and he’s playing good defense too away from the puck.”
Dent was an assistant for the previous four seasons in Rockford prior to being promoted to head coach in July after Bill Peters took a job as an assistant under Mike Babcock in Detroit. So, Dent has seen Connelly up close and helped guide the undersized blue liner’s pro career.
Connelly (5-10, 185) has always been a good puck mover, but his ability to lead and hit a teammate in stride and control the flow of his team’s attack has never been better.