Brennan spent most of last season in the Buffalo Sabres organization where he split time between the NHL and the Sabres’ AHL affiliate the Rochester Americans. In 10 games with the Sabres, Brennan had only one goal, while in 36 AHL games he recorded 35 points off 14 goals and 21 assists. Brennan was acquired by the Florida Panthers on March 15th, 2013 in exchange for a 2013 5th round draft pick. In his 19 games with the Panthers, Brennan tallied two goals and seven assists while averaging over 17 minutes of ice time per game.
Bobby Butler played in 14 games last season for the New Jersey Devils recording a goal and an assist. He also played in 37 games for the Devils’ AHL affiliate the Albany Devils where he recorded 27 points on 16 goals and 11 assists. Butler spent the second half of the 2012-13 season playing for the Nashville Predators where he recorded three goals and six assists in 20 games.
Both Butler and Brennan are restricted free agents so neither has a contract with their new teams. The minimum that Nashville could offer Brennan is $605,000 per year while the qualifying offer for Butler and the Panthers is $577,500. Earlier this offseason, I speculated that the Panthers would re-sign Brennan and have him fill the roster spot of unrestricted free agent Tyson Strachan. I am still skeptical that the Panthers will re-sign Strachan so what this trade serves to do is open up a spot on the Panthers’ blue line. Would the Panthers be willing to fill that spot with one of their young players such as Alex Petrovic or Colby Robak? Is this an indication that the Panthers expect Seth Jones to fall to them at the number two spot in the draft? If the Panthers were to end up with Seth Jones would they be willing to play him in the NHL right away?
As for Bobby Butler, I am not sure he will even be signed by the Panthers. Butler could provide depth on the fourth line if the Panthers decide to keep him, but my take on this trade is, the Panthers took an RFA they knew they were not going to re-sign in Brennan, and flipped him for an RFA that they might consider signing in Butler. Worst case scenario they can try to flip Butler for a draft pick.
As we approach the June 30th NHL Draft, I expect the deals and rumors will ramp up to a frantic pace. Be sure to follow The Rat Trick on twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with all your Panther news.