T.J. Brennan

Leafs sign defenseman T.J. Brennan to a one-year deal


The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed forward Andreas Johnson to a three-year entry level contract and re-signed defenceman T.J. Brennan to a one-year deal the club announced on Thursday.

Brennan appeared in six regular season games with the Leafs in 2014-15 registering an assist and nine penalty minutes.

The 26-year-old also spent time in the American Hockey League appearing in 73 games split between the Rockford IceHogs and Toronto Marlies scoring 12 goals and 40 assists.

Johnson spent the 2014-15 season in the Swedish Hockey League with Frolunda. He scored 22 goals and 13 assists 55 games. Johnson also represented Sweden at the 2015 world junior hockey championship winning a silver medal.

The 20-year-old was originally a seventh-round selection (202nd overall) by the Leafs at the 2013 NHL Draft.

NHL watching 3-on-3 OT in the AHL closely


Much of November’s NHL general managers meetings in Toronto is used to set up a list of topics to discuss further, and more seriously, for meetings, which take place in March in Boca Raton, FL.

One of the items surely to be discussed in the new year is 3-on-3 overtime.

The American Hockey League is currently using the format and seeing excellent results.

As of Monday, only nine of the 45 OT games have required the shootout.

“We’ve always talked about the desire to get more games decided prior to the shootout,” said Blackhawks GM, Stan Bowman. “I think it’s trending that way. We’ll see how it plays out over the whole year.

“In the American Hockey League they’ve obviously had a bigger change in their numbers, but they have a little bit different format than we do.”

Hockey insider Bob McKenzie believes the league is heading in that direction:

Ken Holland is the brains behind the 3-on-3 format. He first introduced it during the Traverse City prospects tournament. Though he admits his suggestion of a dry scrape prior to the start of overtime was a bad idea, it seems like 3-on-3 may just work.

The AHL adopted the rule prior to the start of this season. Now any game going into overtime is played 4-on-4 for the first three minutes.Then at the first whistle following the three minute mark, the teams switch to 3-on-3 for the final four minutes or until a goal is scored.

“I saw it Saturday night in Grand Rapids. I thought it was fabulous,” said the Red Wings GM.

Where did the idea come from?

“Up here I guess, “ said Holland pointing to his head. “I don’t know… there’s a lot going on (in my head). Some funny stuff. We were one of two teams that didn’t vote for shootouts in 2005. I understand that we need to bring the game to a conclusion.”

Holland’s not the only one in favor of the format.

“I’ve always liked the idea,” said Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo Kekalainen. “I loved it in Traverse City. I haven’t seen it in the AHL, but the 3-on-3 at the Traverse City tournament was awesome in my opinion.”

The league does have its share of concerns surrounding the idea of 3-on-3 overtime.

“The hardest part to that is (the AHL) is playing, 3-on-3 or not, they’re playing an extra two minutes of overtime,” said NHL Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, Colin Campbell. “We’ve got to take that into consideration. We’re playing five (minutes) they’re playing seven now.

“We’re watching and we didn’t want to make any decisions based on a fifth of the season. Our managers would like to see games come to completion more in overtime.”

In the AHL, early reaction has been positive from both coaches and players.

“I couldn’t imagine as a fan watching the game, seeing so many (scoring) opportunities,” said Rockford IceHogs defenseman, T.J. Brennan. “It’s a good way to determine the game through action and I think it’ll be good for the league.”

Added Toronto Marlies coach, Gord Dineen: “At least its decided in play and its not just a 1-on-1 situation. It’s a team game and so 3-on-3 is certainly brings a lot more of the team aspect of it than a shootout.”

There certainly won’t be any rule change this season, but next season, it appears overtime could feature 3-on-3 action.

PHT Morning Skate: Justin Bieber shows off his skills on the ice


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Canadian singer Justin Bieber shows off his hands on the ice with a pretty nice dangle:

Defenseman Dennis Wideman responded to his recent benching with a solid performance against Tampa Bay this week scoring Calgary’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss. Even coach Bob Hartley was impressed. (The Calgary Herald)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday night’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $3,000. Starts Thursday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Sabres’ fans, who are hoping Buffalo selects Connor McDavid at next June’s NHL Draft, got an up close look at the highly touted prospect on Wednesday night. (NHL.com)

NBCSN analyst and TSN hockey insider, Bob McKenzie, offers his thoughts on the tragic day in Ottawa. (TSN)

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard will wear a special mask for Hockey Fights Cancer tonight:

Adrian Dater shares his thoughts on what’s ailing the defending Central Division champion Colorado Avalanche, who are off to a 1-4-2 start. (The Denver Post)

Defenseman T.J. Brennan, who was dealt by the Islanders to Chicago in the Nick Leddy deal, is still trying to regain his confidence following his latest trade. (The Canadian Press)

Agent for Islanders’ Leddy releases statement


Newly acquired Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy is excited to begin the next chapter of his career.

Neil Sheehy, the agent for Leddy, released the following statement Saturday evening:

“Nick Leddy loves Chicago, yet he is a young player, who will fit in with the young players the NYI have assembled and he is excited to be a part of their core group as the team moves to Brooklyn next year.” (via Brian Sandalow)

Leddy along with goaltender Kent Simpson was dealt from the Blackhawks to the Islanders for prospects Anders Nilsson, Ville Pokka and T.J. Brennan.

The trade leaves the Blackhawks, who were up against the cap, with roughly $1.5 million in cap space per CapGeek.

In a separate move, the Islanders acquired defenseman Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins.

Bravo, Garth Snow: Islanders nab Leddy, too


At first, it seemed like the New York Islanders got Johnny Boychuk instead of Nick Leddy. Instead, GM Garth Snow said: “I’ll have both.”

The Islanders landed Leddy (and goalie Kent Simpson) from the Chicago Blackhawks for a prospect package of Anders Nilsson, Ville Pokka and T.J. Brennan.

On Leddy: Much like Boychuk in Boston, the Blackhawks needed to free up Leddy’s $2.7 million cap hit. Many Chicago fans will wonder why the team didn’t move someone else, but it’s easy to overlook the fact that you need to find a willing partner to dump salary. It’s much easier to get rid of a guy with value like Leddy than, say, someone of lower repute like Johnny Oduya.

Still, losing the 23-year-old stings, even if some of that sadness comes from perceived potential.

Chicago’s take: Any impact won’t be immediate, which isn’t a stunner considering Chicago’s cap predicament.

Pokka: The early Twitter reactions are that he’s the “gem” of this deal. The 34th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft generated 27 points in 54 games for Karpat in the Finnish Elite League.

Brennan: Brennan, 25, has 40 games of NHL experience under his belt but spent the 2013-14 season with the Toronto Marlies.

Nilsson: Nilsson suffered through 19 mostly miserable games with the Islanders last season and didn’t put up very good numbers in the AHL, either. He’s currently playing for Kazan Ak-Bars in the KHL.

Here’s a quick rundown Garth Snow’s Personal Trade Deadline™:

Islanders takeaway: Leddy and Boychuk. Leddy, 23, is an RFA next summer. Boychuk, 30, is a UFA after 2014-15. They combine for about $6.37 million in added salary cap expenses. When you throw out a ton of wasted roster spots, the Islanders still easily have $4 million in cap space.

This also inspired quite the “Wayne’s World” reference:

Islanders give up: Nilsson, Pokka, Brennan, two second-round picks and a conditional third-rounder.

The Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno reports those conditions as such: