The Lightning on Friday reassigned Brett Connolly to AHL Syracuse, with Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman saying the No. 6 overall pick of the 2010 NHL draft "is just struggling to find his game."
"He's not getting things accomplished," Yzerman said. "We just feel it's better for him to go back and continue in his development."
With forrward Tom Pyatt (collarbone) almost healthy, no one is expected to be called up from Syracuse.
Connolly, in 10 games since he was called up, had one goal and zero assists and was minus-5 despite, for the most part, playing on the first line. He was demoted to the fourth line for Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Sharks.
"He's still young," Yzerman said of the 21-year-old. "We just have to be patient. He's getting better. His attitude is good. He's a good player. It just takes some time."
Connolly's lack of production is somewhat surprising. With 31 goals he was one of Syracuse's best players last season, and he had an outstanding training camp with four goals that tied Steven Stamkos for the team lead.
Asked about what aspects of his game Connolly needs to improve, Yzerman spoke broadly.
"For him to develop; short term for him to get his confidence and feel good about himself and get back to doing the things he did well in preseason and all of last year," Yzerman said. "He's got to get back to Syracuse to do that. We just want him playing."
The scoring, Yzerman said, will take care of itself.
"I believe that goal scoring comes from being in the right spots and doing the right things," Yzerman said. "But when you're not scoring you're thinking about where you should be and that messes you up even more because now you're never in the right spot. You're just not playing the game. I just want him to get there and stop thinking, go out and play. Right now, not much is happening for him."