The Florida Panthers head into the 2013 offseason with plenty of work to do with their roster in order to try and get back into the postseason. Luckily, they’re not in a position where that work involves trying to retain a bunch of free agents. They only have a few to deal with.
One of those free agents, albeit of the restricted variety, is that of T.J. Brennan. Brennan was acquired by the Panthers during the season. The Cats dealt just a fifth round pick to acquire him from the Buffalo Sabres. If he continues progressing in the way that he did over the course of the shortened season, it should easily be a steal.
Thanks to several injuries sustained all over this Florida roster, Brennan was able to immediately see an opportunity with the Cats, more so than he had with the Sabres. He went on to average about 17:40 per game for the season, playing in 19 games total for the Panthers.
He finished with nine points over that span, logging a healthy amount of time on the power play, as well as the occasional shift on the penalty kill. The fact that he did see a good chunk of minutes, particularly with the man advantage, tells a bit about his role with the Panthers in the future.
Brennan is an offensive defenseman, there’s no doubt about that. He moves the puck well and has a big shot from the point. He can play the physical game and block shots if he has to (19 blocked shots on the year), but he has the skill set of an offensive contributor from the blue line.
It’s pretty easy to say that Brennan is a lock to get a new deal from the Panthers this summer. He came to the Panthers finishing a one-year contract, meaning he needed to prove himself when he was in the lineup. He did that. He’s a kid that works his tail off and is the type of player that this team really lacks right now. Expect him to get a new deal rather quickly and to be back on the blue line in South Beach next year.