|T.J. Brennan's addition potentially puts Lehigh Valley over the top in 2016-17. Photo: Nina Weiss|
General Manager Ron Hextall and the Philadelphia Flyers have done it again, adding another top name from my 2016 AHL-Level Free Agent Board to the fold for the 2016-17 season this afternoon.
The Flyers announced they have signed South Jersey native T.J. Brennan to a multi-year contract. Brennan was my top ranked defenseman on the AHL-level free agents for a reason. He not only tallied 25 goals and 43 assists in 69 AHL games with the Toronto Marlies last season, but was named the AHL's Eddie Shore Award winner for the league's top defenseman two out of the last three years.
The move could potentially be great news for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, as the Flyers already have six defensemen signed through the 2016-17 season - not including qualified restricted free agent Brandon Manning and promising youngster Ivan Provorov.
More on what Brennan's addition means for the Phantoms after the jump.
GM Ron Hextall bolstered the AHL roster on Day 1 of free agency when he added top available AHL free agent forward Andy Miele, 26-goal scoring forward Greg Carey and second-ranked AHL free agent defenseman Will O'Neill to contracts for the 2016-17 season. Now he's added the top-ranked defenseman to the fold and is making Lehigh Valley a serious AHL threat come the fall when the season gets underway.
The initial reports are that Brennan's multi-year contract is a two-year, two-way dealnBrennan, like many veteran pro hockey players, can be placed on waivers and sent to the AHL.
At 27, Brennan has compiled 319 points (113G-206A) in 443 AHL games but has appeared in just 53 NHL games (5G-8A), only 7 of which came last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Similar to recently signed forward Andy Miele, Brennan too is an elite, top-tier AHL player that hasn't been able to stick at the NHL-level on a full-time basis in his pro career. Brennan will be entering his season of pro hockey this fall.
What Brennan's possible addition to the Phantoms means is an even more deep blue line. Here's a look at a potential Phantoms lineup on defense:
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Travis Sanheim - T.J. Brennan
Will O'Neill - Robert Hagg
Depth defensemen: Max Lamarche, Jesper Pettersson and Reece Willcox