Blackhawks acquire T.J. Brennan, will report to IceHogs


It was a rather underwhelming trade deadline for the Chicago Blackhawks in the eyes of the fan community. After the trades of defenseman Erik Gustafsson and goaltender Robin Lehner, Chicago had one more move made on the minor-league circuit. Quietly, the Blackhawks traded 2016 fourth-round pick Nathan Noel to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for veteran defenseman T.J. Brennan, with both players reporting to minor league affiliates. It would be the only trade affecting the Rockford IceHogs on NHL trade deadline day.

Brennan returns to Rockford

It was a rather interesting NHL trade deadline for the IceHogs this year. The NHL and AHL use the same deadline to make trades and make players available to move along the waiver wire once trade deadline day passes. As of nearly two hours after said deadline, no players where moved between the Blackhawks and IceHogs as “paper transactions,” which would make those players eligible to be sent from the NHL to the AHL, were the IceHogs to make the Calder Cup playoffs this season.

But alas, in a world of instant gratification, the Blackhawks paper transactions did finally come through the AHL wire as Lucas Carlsson and Matthew Highmore were assigned to and recalled from the IceHogs later Monday evening.

To the trade and a welcome back to the IceHogs for T.J. Brennan.

Brennan is a seasoned veteran in professional hockey with 53 NHL games and 673 AHL games under his belt, including 63 AHL playoff games. His accolades at the AHL level make for a highly impressive resume, being named an AHL All-Star five times, leading the league in scoring for defensemen three times, and twice being named the Eddie Shore Award winner as the AHL’s best defenseman in 2014 and 2016.

In his last four seasons in the AHL, Brennan has been playing with the Philadelphia Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He has just eight points in 28 games this season for the Phantoms after scoring 40-plus points in his last three years. Brennan has not dressed for the Phantoms since January 10.

His addition fills a gap in the Rockford defensive core with Carlsson in Chicago currently, but the move does little, if anything, to help the Blackhawks or IceHogs moving forward. If a fresh start for this season is what Brennan needed, hopefully he can find it in a familiar IceHogs setting.

What’s next?

The Rockford IceHogs are back in action on Wednesday against the Texas Stars. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. in Cedar Park, Texas. The IceHogs begin a three-game road trip in Texas, as they will face the Stars again on Friday night and then wrapping up with a Sunday afternoon contest against the San Antonio Rampage.

Rockford currently sits two points outside of the Calder Cup Playoff picture in fifth-place in the Central Division standings. They are three points ahead of the Stars and one point ahead of the Rampage in the division.

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