This week the Eastern Edge takes a look at two defensemen at opposite ends of the spectrum
T.J. Brennan had himself a season to remember down in the AHL. The soon to be unrestricted free agent had been hoping to play at least part of the season in the NHL this year after signing a one-year, one-way contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He probably should have picked a team a little more desperate for defensemen; the Maple Leafs were deep enough at the position that they didn’t feel the need to call up the 25-year-old. At least he was well compensated ($600K) for his time with the Marlies.
From an organizational standpoint, they got their money’s worth though. Brennan recorded an amazing 25 goals and 72 points in 76 games, finishing fourth overall in AHL scoring, while copping the Eddie Shore trophy as the league’s top defenseman. If there was a roto-league MVP for the AHL, Brennan would have taken home that hardware as well. He led the league in shots on goal (265) and power play points (44), sat for 115 penalty minutes and he scored 10 more goals than the next defenseman. He was however, a minus-10, third worst on his own team.
Brennan had 37 goals and 116 points in 192 games over three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his first three seasons of professional hockey, he recorded 92 points in 189 AHL games, a 40 point pace pro-rated over 82 games. He also had a cup of coffee with Buffalo, playing in 11 NHL games, recording one point. It was in 2012-13 that Brennan really started putting up outstanding numbers in the AHL. He had 14 goals and 35 points in 36 games. That year, he also played 10 games with the Sabres, again recording one lonely point, but he was dealt at the deadline to Florida where he flashed some of his offensive ability, registering nine points in 19 NHL games.