Leafs Sign Young Defenceman T.J. Brennan

Blake Murphy
July 05 2013 02:40PM

 

 

According to the TSN panel and multiple insiders on Twitter, the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed defenceman T.J. Brennan. 

Bobby Mac gives you the financial details there - it's a fine depth signing at nearly a minimum cost, a necessity for the Leafs given that, prior to this move, they had a hair over $14M in cap space left to sign their six remaining restricted free agents and two more players to fill out the 23-man roster.

A friendly $0.6M cap hit for Brennan, who will slot in as the number seven of eight defenceman (or, as Jeffler points out, on the Marlies' top pair). This is a better low-cost signing than the Orr/McLaren types, simply for the reason that Brennan has more upside and potential than the other two.

Jeffler also provides us with a succinct scouting report on Brennan at a high level:

And since $600k is less than $1M, Jeffler is probably pleased, as am I. It's important to note that he is not waiver-exempt, so he'll have to stick on the main roster or be slipped through waivers.

But if he's a better Kostka, sticking in the top-eight shouldn't be a problem. There's also a chance he'd go unclaimed, so depending on how the rest of the offseason goes that might be a gamble the Leafs are willing to take.

 

The Kostka comparison is an apt one, especially considering Darren Dreger followed up on this news by confirming that Mike Kostka will not be back this year, which I think we all assumed anyway:


Brennan is a 24-year old left-handed shooting point man, one who is alleged to have solid puck moving ability and offensive talent. Granted, I haven't put eyes on him quite enough to evaluate but let's take a look at some of his recent past:

*Was a 40-point scorer in the Q and was selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.

*Over two full and two partial AHL seasons, totalling 225 games, tallied 127 points including three seasons of 14 or more goals.

*Managed four goals and seven assists over 40 NHL games. Was traded for a fifth round pick and then later for Bobby Butler, a non-descript depth forward.

So you can see the offensive potential there, though there is some concern he'd be a minus defender at the NHL level when exposed to big minutes. He played extremely protected minutes during his stints with Buffalo and Florida so it's likewise difficult to take anything from his small-sample Relative Corsi, which is positive.

The Leafs still need a right-shooting defenceman to pair with John-Michael Liles, and it's not going to be T.J. Brennan. There's work to be done on the defence, even if they now have eight players who are either under contract or restricted. So you can question whether Brennan fills a need on the left side with so many bodies already there. However, at a low cost and the idea that he might slip through waivers, it's hard to quibble with a depth add near the league minimum.

Let's just hope this isn't the last move to shore up the back end. The Leafs now have six restricted free agents to sign, a hole on the right wing, could use another right-side point man and have about $13.5M in cap space.

Oh, and one final thing. This GIF should make him an early fan favorite:

 

080b400962217afff9510ac849d7e000
Blake is a news editor at The Score and also writes basketball for Raptors Republic and baseball at Fangraphs/Rotographs. As such, he doesn't write at TLN nearly as much as he should. Give him a follow @BlakeMurphyODC.
Avatar
#1 Badger M
July 05 2013, 02:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Over/under on # of games before he's paired with Phaneuf?

Avatar
#2 Badger M
July 05 2013, 02:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Over/under on # of games before he's paired with Phaneuf?

Avatar
#3 FultonCows
July 05 2013, 03:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Brennan is a solid bottom 6-defenceman. Phenomenal shot, good 2-way game. Upgrade on Kostka for sure. Good money too.

Avatar
#4 Cam Charron
July 05 2013, 03:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
FultonCows wrote:

Brennan is a solid bottom 6-defenceman. Phenomenal shot, good 2-way game. Upgrade on Kostka for sure. Good money too.

Bottom 6 D? How many defencemen does this team need, anyway?

Avatar
#5 leafnerd
July 05 2013, 03:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

finally a good depth move. playoffs if the teams makes it, has shown that defensive depth is important.

Avatar
#6 Phrank
July 06 2013, 08:22AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Not to take anything away from the guy. He sounds like a safe depth signing but I hope this isn't the only thing NONO is doing to address the defence.

Comments are closed for this article.