Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild completed a minor trade. The Blackhawks sent veteran left wing Brad Winchester to the Wild in exchange for defenseman Brian Connelly.
Connelly, who had been playing for the Iowa Wild (AHL), is currently in his fifth full season at the professional level. He was Iowa’s leading scorer with 32 points (5 G, 27 A) this season. The Bloomington, MN native has played three full years with his new team, the Rockford IceHogs (AHL), totaling 20 goals and 103 assists in that span. He was named Rockford’s rookie of the year in 2009-2010 and has participated in two AHL All-Star Games.
Winchester, who was signed by the Blackhawks as a free agent this past offseason, has spent the entire season in Rockford. The 32-year-old forward was second on the team in goals (16) and sixth in points (30). He was also second on the team in penalty minutes. A native of Madison, WI, Winchester has played in 390 career NHL games, scoring 37 goals and adding 31 assists, although he has not appeared in the NHL since the 2011-2012 season with San Jose. His best season came during the 2008-2009 campaign with the St. Louis, when he notched 13 goals and eight assists over 64 games.
Connelly will report to Rockford immediately, where he is the organization’s all-time points leader among defensemen.