March 19, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Florida Panthers defensemen T.J. Brennan (3) controls the puck in front of the Carolina Hurricanes right wing Adam Hall (18) during the 1st period at the PNC center. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Where Are They Now: TJ Brennan

Do you spend your nights tossing and turning wondering ‘what ever happened toPeter Mueller?’ Do you space out when your boss is talking to you because you suddenly realize that you haven’t heard from Jack Skille in a while? If the answer is yes, then you my friend are in luck.

Because precisely zero people demanded it, here is a new series where we give an update on some of our favorite Florida Panthers from last year. Today we will look at T.J. Brennan who had a short 19 game career in Florida.

TJ Brennan

Panthers Career:

The Florida Panthers acquired TJ Brennan from the Buffalo Sabres last season in a March trade that saw them send Buffalo a 5th round pick in the 2013 draft. In case you were wondering, the Sabres selected forward Gustav Possler with the pick.

Brennan, a defenseman, scored a goal in his Panthers debut and quickly established himself on the team’s blue line. He finished the season with nine points (2-7-9) in 19 games with Florida.

Where is he now?

Brennan, at age 24, became a restricted free agent at the end of the 2012-13 season. Many around the Panthers, myself included, could see a future on the Panthers’ blue line for the former 31st overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft. Instead of re-signing Brennan however, the Panthers traded his rights to the Nashville Predators for the rights to forward Bobby Butler. The Panthers managed to sign Butler but the Predators where unable to strike a deal with Brennan so he became an unrestricted free agent. As a UFA, Brennan signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs worth $600,000.

While Brennan has yet to break in with the Leafs at the AHL level, he has performed very well for their AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies. He has been a point-per-game player, impressive for a defenseman, scoring 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 27 games. He is the AHL’s top scoring defenseman and he is tied for 7th in scoring amongst all players.

What’s next?

It seems amazing that a guy like Brennan, with his huge scoring potential from the defensive position, could be passed on by both the Panthers and the Predators. At 24 years of age, its only a matter of time before he sticks somewhere at the NHL level. With the way he is playing now, I would bet that he will get a shot with the Leafs at some point this season.

Long term I think Brennan could develop into a top-four defenseman if he can tighten things up on the defensive end of the ice. At this point, his game is so one-sided that there has been some talk about the Leafs trying him out at wing. While I do not see that happening, the fact that the move has even been brought up is indicative of not only his offensive prowess but also his defensive shortcomings.

What do you think? Should the Panthers have re-signed Brennan? Think he will become a top defensive scorer at the NHL level? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and follow The Rat Trick on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest.

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