A Newfoundlander was dealt for a player who once played in Newfoundland as the National Hockey League’s 2020 trade deadline came and went Monday.
In a deal involving minor-leaguers, the Chicago Blackhawks sent forward and St. John’s native Nathan Noel to the Philadelphia Flyers for defenceman T.J. Brennan, who began his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League career with the St. John’s Fog Devils.
The 22-year-old Noel was a fourth-round draft pick of Chicago in 2016, but since turning pro in 2017, has split his time almost equally between the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs and ECHL’s Indy Fuel.
TRADE ALERT: Defenseman T.J. Brennan has been acquired from the Flyers in exchange for Nathan Noel.— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 24, 2020
Brennan (AAV of $675,000) is signed through the 2019-2020 season. He will report to the Rockford IceHogs. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/uWXGNr1PdQ
This season, Noel has appeared in eight games with Rockford (no points) and 39 with Indy (six goals, 11 assists. With the Flyers organization, an AHL assignment would send him to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, while if sent to the ECHL, Noel would be a member of the Reading Royals, who happen to be a North Division rival of the Newfoundland Growlers.
The 20-year-old Brennan, who played with the Fog Devils for two seasons (2006 to 2008), was a second-round selection of the Buffalo Sabres in 2007 and the first Fog Devil ever drafted into the NHL.
Brennan has appeared in 53 NHL games with Buffalo, Florida and Toronto, but the native of Moorestown, N.J.,has mostly been known as one of the AHL’s best offensive defencemen over the last decade, with 157 goals and 318 assists in 673 games in the league.
That includes almost four years with Lehigh Valley. In 28 games with the Phantoms this season, Brennan has eight points (1G, 7A).
A five-time AHL all-star, Brennan’s 475 AHL points make him the third-highest scoring defenceman in the league’s history, after Brian Helmer (564) and St. John’s native John Slaney (519).
Both Brennan and Noel are set to become free agents this summer as Noel’s entry-level contract expires and Brennan’s two-year, one-way deal comes to an end.