Report: Leafs’ T.J. Brennan receives lucrative KHL offer

Hershey Bears' Nathan Walker scores the game-winning goal in the 3-2 win over the Toronto Marlies and take the series 4-1, heading to the Calder Cup Finals.

T.J. Brennan has received a substantial offer to join the Kontinental Hockey League, according to multiple reports.

The Toronto Sun reported Sunday that Brennan, a Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, received a “lucrative” contract offer from an unspecified KHL club. KHL reporter Aivis Kalnins reported Monday that the deal is worth $1.5 million.

According to Kalnins, more than one European team is interested in Brennan.

This season the 27-year-old New Jersey native won his second Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s most outstanding defenceman, scoring 25 goals and 43 assists (68 points) to go along with a plus-34 rating in 69 games for the Toronto Marlies.

Brennan saw just seven games at the NHL level in 2015-16, however, and sounded open to moving on after the Marlies were eliminated from the post-season.

“Obviously I don’t have a contract for next year, so that’s the main focus—going about that process getting ready for July 1, seeing what happens, what teams may be available and what would be a good fit,” Brennan told reporters upon wrapping up his one-year, $675,000 contract. “You understand what you have to offer other teams.”

Only 13 of Brennan’s 53 career NHL games have come with the Leafs. He has also suited up for the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres, who drafted him 31st overall in 2007.

“He’s obviously had a tremendous amount of success in the American Hockey League in producing points. There’s a lot more to the game than just that,” Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe told Sportsnet 590 The Fan in late February.

The Marlies staff was working with Brennan this season to improve his play away from the puck and increase his speed in effort to turn him into a more complete two-way defender.

“He’s getting older now, and despite that he continues to work every day and believes he can be an NHL player,” Keefe said. “He puts in the time. He wants to watch video. He wants feedback. So he’s not comfortable by any means.”

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