2011-12 Buffalo Sabres Report Cards: TJ Brennan

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 01: TJ Brennan #33 of the Buffalo Sabres shoots the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 1 2010 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

With the 2011-12 Buffalo Sabres ending in disappointment and after a few weeks for us to gather our thoughts, it's time for us to issue our report cards on the season. Over the next few weeks, we'll grade every player that wore a Buffalo Sabres uniform in 2011 and 2012, from Luke Adam to Mike Weber.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT

2011 - TJ Brennan

AHL

11

52

1

16

0

14

1

30

0

5

6

39

0

7

0

0

0

14

150

7.1

10.7



Introduction: Before this season, TJ Brennan was probably best known for having a cannon of a shot - he previously won the AHL hardest shot competition - but Sabres fans had the chance to see him in eleven games this season. Brennan was the ninth defenseman for Buffalo, and while he didn't look terrible in his short NHL debut, he didn't do anything to set the world on fire, either.

His AHL stats are impressive as Brennan was tied for seventh on the Amerks in points with 30, including 16 goals. After the break, let's dig deeper into TJ's rookie season.

Key Stat:I initially thought it was odd that Brennan had one goal in eleven games but zero assists...until I looked up his AHL stats. Brennan is an offensive defenseman, but it's clear that his shot, not his passing ability, is the reason for that. He had more points off of goals than assists this season (and 150 shots!) so while the power play is probably in his future in Buffalo, does he have the passing ability to be an effective quarterback?

Key Stat #2: By scoring in his first game against Boston on 11/23/11, Brennan became the first Sabres defenseman to score in his debut game since Lindy Ruff in 1979.

Thumbs Up: While he did see reduced minutes and easier competition, Brennan still managed to finish the season with an even rating. Despite playing in only 11 games, TJ recorded 20 hits, a much higher rate per game than players like Alex Sulzer, Jochen Hecht, or anyone else from Rochester aside from Marcus Foligno. Brennan does have good size (6'1'', 214lbs) and if he can add a physical side to his game, it will help him find a spot with Buffalo more quickly.

Brennan showed good skating ability for a rookie, continuing a trend of recent Sabres defenseman that can really skate. With fellow prospects Mark Pysyk, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Brennan someday joining Myers, Sekera, and Ehrhoff, the Sabres blueline could develop into a very mobile and dangerous unit in a few years.

Thumbs Down: Brennan only blocked six shots in 20 games - not a great number for a defenseman. While he took 14 shots, he missed on 11 more, suggesting that his big boomer needs some fine tuning before its ready for primetime. Like most defensive prospects, Brennan needs to work on his awareness in his own zone and his movement without the puck. Didn't see much time on either the PP or PK.

Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade TJ Brennan on his season according to the expectations you had for him. If he met them, give him a five or a six. If he eclipsed them, aim for a seven or beyond. If he failed to meet them, give him a lower number relating to how poorly he missed the target.

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