The Florida Panthers have acquired defenseman TJ Brennan from the Buffalo Sabres. The Panthers traded their fifth round pick in the 2013 NHL draft. The pick that the Panthers traded was the pick they received from the Keaton Ellerby trade with the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 8th. (Source)
TJ Brennan is 23 years old and 6’1” 215 pounds. He has played in 36 games for the Rochester Americans posting a 14-21-35 scoring line. Brennan has played in ten games for the Sabres this season and scored one goal to go along with a -1 rating on the big club. Brennan was a 2nd round pick (31st overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
It is surprising to see the Panthers open their trade deadline season dealings with an acquisition when so much of the talk was centered on the players that would be leaving the Panthers rather than those that would be arriving. It does make sense though with all the Panthers’ injuries to their defense. The Panthers traded the pick they received from the Keaton Ellerby trade so TJ Brennan is essentially the return on the Ellerby deal. It will be interesting to compare Brennan and Ellerby’s progress in the NHL in the coming years. The players seem similar in the sense that both have flirted with becoming full time NHL players but neither has fully established themselves. They are both young, Ellerby is 24, Brennan 23, and both were selected in the 2007 draft, Ellerby 10th, Brennan 31st.
Both players will be restricted free agents at the end of the season and Ellerby is making $700,000 this year compared to Brennan’s $550,000. Brennan’s contract however is a two way contract and if he is playing in the AHL his salary goes down to $95,000 thus in this sense the Panthers have flexibility in Brennan as he is a young, possibly NHL ready defenseman, but if the Panthers want him to play in the minors they can pay him accordingly. (Capgeek) A big reason Ellerby was traded in the first place was he gets paid $700,000 regardless of whether or not he is in the NHL or AHL and when Florida traded Ellerby back in February it was looking like he was on his way to playing in the AHL. The Panthers made it clear that when they traded Ellerby it was because they had too many one-way contracts and needed to free up roster space.
I would imagine the immediate impact of the trade will be that Nolan Yonkman will be re-assigned to the San Antonio Rampage to make room on the Panthers for Brennan. It will be interesting to see what Florida does with their defense as Ed Jovanovski is expecting to return for Saturday’s game against the Islanders. Does Florida send Colby Robak back to San Antonio or will Brennan start out with the AHL club? Whichever player they choose to send back to San Antonio, the choice will be indicative of how the Panthers rate Brennan in comparison to Robak. (Interesting that hockeysfuture.com has Brennan ranked 6th out of Panther d-men compared to Robak who is ranked 3rd.)