A numerical and statistical look at defenseman T.J. Brennan’s third professional season and first with the Rochester Americans during the 2011-12 American Hockey League season.
BRENNAN GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE: Defenseman T.J. Brennan turned in a solid campaign in 2011-12, a season that included 16 goals in the regular season, two more in the postseason, and his first NHL game and goal. The native of Willingboro, New Jersey, recorded 30 points (16+14) in 52 games for the Amerks, setting a new career-high for goals in a season. Brennan’s 16 tallies tied for the AHL lead in goals among defensemen with Abbotsford’s Clay Wilson and Charlotte’s Eric Gelinas while also ranking tied for third on the Amerks. In addition, Brennan tied with Brayden McNabb for most points by an Amerks defenseman while also finishing with 39 penalty minutes and a +5 rating.
HISTORIC DEBUT: On Nov. 23, Brennan made his National Hockey League debut for the Buffalo Sabres against the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center. Midway through the second period, the then 22-year-old scored his first NHL goal by beating Bruins netminder Tim Thomas, the reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner. The goal came on just his 10th shift of the game and made him the first Sabres defenseman to score a goal in his NHL debut since current Buffalo Head Coach Lindy Ruff did so back on Oct. 11, 1979 against Washington.
BY THE NUMBERS...
16: Brennan’s 16 regular season goals were two shy of Rick Pagnutti’s franchise record for most goals by an Amerks defenseman in a single season. Pagnutti, however, played in 20 more games during his record-setting season in 1972-73 than Brennan did this past season.
19: Brennan finished the 2011-12 campaign with a total of 19 goals – 16 in 52 regular season games with the Amerks, one goal in 11 NHL games with the Sabres, and two goals in three Calder Cup Playoff games – which made him the top goal-scoring defenseman in the organization this season.
150: Ranked second on the Amerks during the regular season with 150 shots on goal, despite appearing in just 52 games. Brennan registered at least one shot on goal in 50 of his 52 games played with Rochester.
7: Recorded a season-long seven game point streak from Dec. 11 to Dec. 30, notching eight points on three goals and five assists. The seven-game point streak was part of a stretch that saw Brennan register 14 points (6+8) over 12 AHL games, a stretch that was interrupted by a recall to Buffalo and an injury. Seven is also the number of power play goals scored by Brennan this season, which ranked second on the Amerks behind Derek Whitmore’s eight man-advantage tallies.
15: Brennan led the Amerks with 15 points on the power play this season, including seven goals and eight assists.
5: He posted five multi-point games during the regular season, including a two-goal game in a 4-3 shootout win over Lake Erie on Feb. 25.
1: Brennan scored just one shootout goal in six attempts, but it was a big one, as it gave Rochester a 4-3 road win over the Western Conference regular season champion Oklahoma City Barons back on Dec. 28. Brennan also scored a goal earlier in that contest, helping the Amerks sweep the eventual West Division champions in a two-game road trip just after Christmas.
11: Appeared in 11 total games with the Buffalo Sabres this season while seeing the first NHL action of his career. In addition to scoring his first goal, Brennan also registered 14 shots on goal, 20 hits and six blocked shots while averaging 14:07 of ice time.