July 05, 2016
The Philadelphia Flyers and free agent defenseman T.J. Brennan have agreed to terms on a multi-year deal, the team announced on Tuesday.
Brennan, originally drafted in the second round (31st overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, comes to the Flyers after spending the last year and a half with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.
He won the 2015-16 Eddie Shore award for the AHL's best defenseman with the Leafs minor league affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. Last year, he posted 68 points (25 goals, 43 assists) in 69 regular season games and added nine more (5G, 4A) in 15 postseason games.
For the 27-year-old defenseman, it was the second of his career -- his other came during the 2013-14 season when he posted 72 points (25G, 47A) in 76 games. Only six other players have ever won the award twice in their careers.
In all, Brennan has played in 443 career AHL games over the past seven seasons and has recorded an impressive 319 points (113G, 206A), which ranks him fifth in AHL history among defensemen. It's also helped him earn a trip to the AHL All-Star Classic in each of the last three seasons.
The 6-foot-1, 213-pound blueliner has also appeared in 53 NHL games for Buffalo, Toronto and the Florida Panthers since making his debut -- and scoring a goal -- with the Sabres on November 23, 2011. In all, Brennan has notched 13 NHL points (5G, 8A).
For the Moorestown, N.J. native, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms seem like the logical landing spot, but no matter where he winds up, joining the Flyers organization is a homecoming of sorts. In fact, Brennan represented Moorestown High School in the 2005 Flyers Cup and played juniors for the Philadelphia Little Flyers for a year before moving on to the St. John’s Fog Devils of the QMJHL.
Still, it wouldn't be all that surprising to see Brennan join the Flyers -- even if only as an injury call-up -- given the fact that he has been one of the best and most-productive defensemen in the AHL. It will be interesting to see how general manager Ron Hextall sees him in comparison to some of the younger, more prized prospects in their system (see: Sam Morin).
Given Brennan's experience, would Hextall call on Brennan before the others? He certainly won't "block" those guys, but what he does give the team is some flexibility when it's time to make a move. Should a call-up be needed, and if Hextall doesn't see their other, younger prospects as NHL-ready, he'll have another option in Brennan.
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