Tonight, due to injury of Sabres defenseman, Andrej Sekera, would have normally seen extra defenseman, T.J. Brennan, as the replacement. That has all changed as Brennan was traded to the Florida Panthers for a fifth-round pick of the 2013 draft. And as Brennan scored in his first game with the team, seeing over 22 minutes of ice-time, Sabres fans have been critical of the move (although they were as soon as it took place). This move, however, is nothing that should be troublesome as tonight, rookie defenseman, Mark Pysyk, will make his NHL debut according to the Buffalo Sabres twitter feed.
Yes, Brennan is a young defenseman, and comparisons of his blunders with Buffalo are comparable to Panther's defenseman, Brian Campbell, when he started as a Sabre. And Brennan could turn out to be a good hockey player. But from what I have seen in Rochester, Brennan's defensive misplays were evident in the minors as well as in the NHL. And Brennan did have 16 goals with Rochester and has a great shot but his mental game in the defensive zone proved that he was far than ready to be in the Sabres’ lineup (though the mental make-up of the Sabres’ current defense is questionable).
In the end, I think that maybe Brennan was not fitting in and it was evident when watching games. It could work out well for him in Florida. When you look at moves that need to be made with this team, this barely breaks the cusp of changes that need to be made to Buffalo roster.
On a positive note, there will be new blood on the blueline as Sekera will be day-to-day. Pysyk will take his spot and has earned it. Based on point productive and experience, many would argue that Brayden McNabb (5-31-36) should have been called up. He has played well since Christmas, as report by Kevin Oklobzija of the Democrat and Chronicle, but was inconsistent until that point. Pysyk (4-14-18) may not have the same production but has been very steady and consistent in his first year in pro hockey (+8 leads the team). He is of similar stature to Sekera and his mental game, including passing and puck movement, are what stand out for the 21 year-old defenseman. I do not expect he will be overwhelmed tonight but his mental game should help him at the highest level in hockey.
So for those who are down about the T.J. Brennan trade, don’t sweat it. There are a number of defense prospects that have potential to be in the Sabres lineup and even succeed. With some trade deadline moves, notables being defensemen Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr, there may be a chance for defense prospects to prove they belong in the NHL.
For more information on the recall, see Kevin Oklobzija’s column on the Democrat and Chronicle website: http://blogs.democratandc...onicle.com/kevino/?p=4104