Sabres deal T.J. Brennan to Florida

brennanThere had been discussion arguments on twitter about the roster moves the Sabres would have to make before Saturday afternoon’s game against Ottawa. Forwards Ville Leino and Tyler Ennis were ready to come back from injury, and the Sabres needed to make room for them in the 23.

First thing they did was send Mikhail Grigorenko back to Quebec, his junior team in the QMJHL. Then, Darcy Regier got his trade shoes on.

Defenseman T.J. Brennan, who’s struggled to get in the lineup all season, was dealt to the Florida Panthers in exchange for New Jersey’s 5th round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Brennan, 23, had played in just 10 games with the Sabres this season, registering a goal in a loss to Carolina on March 5. He registered just one goal in 11 NHL games last season well, when he scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game against Boston on Thanksgiving Eve 2011.

The offensive production expected of him never consistently materialized at the NHL level. He had been tearing it up in the AHL, with 14 goals and 35 points in 36 games this season before the lockout ended and he was forced to be recalled to the NHL due to his contract. While other players were safely waived and reassigned, Brennan, who was the Amerks’ leading scorer and one of the top scoring defenseman in the AHL, had no chance of clearing despite not being able to crack the top six in Buffalo.

In the end, Regier decided it was time to cut the cord and either waive or trade him, and they got a draft pick in return instead of letting him go for free.

Brennan was the Sabres’ top pick in the 2007 draft, being selected 31st overall with the first pick in the second round. That pick was acquired from Philadelphia before the 2007 trade deadline in exchange for pending UFA goalie Martin Biron.

After spending three seasons in junior (one season each with three different clubs, oddly), he turned pro, spending two seasons with the Sabres’ affiliate in Portland and then parts of the last two in Rochester.

Being an offensive defenseman who never got it together, fittingly enough, he will go play with a former Sabres offensive defenseman who was given time to develop… Brian Campbell. Looking at their career progressions, they’re almost identical. Go play junior until age 20. Sign with the Sabres, and get three seasons in the AHL before getting called up. Be incredibly inconsistent and fail to put it together for your first few seasons in the NHL.

But this is where the road has now been divided. At age 23, Brennan is gone. At age 23, Campbell played 65 games on an awful 2002-03 Sabres team. He never became the defenseman known as Brian Campbell, always hanging around at the bottom of the roster, until 2005-06 at age 26 in his 7th pro season.

It’s highly unlikely Brennan becomes the All-Star that Campbell was. They’re both fairly different players. But clearly Darcy Regier did not think highly enough of him to wait around and find out.

The next question is whether this move is the harbinger of things to come. With two and a half weeks until the NHL trade deadline,  there’s plenty of reason to think there is.

Now, in memoriam, a sampling of Brennan’s best work in Buffalo.



Posted on March 16, 2013, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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