The New Jersey Devils have announced that Winnipeg product Tyler Brennan has officially signed on the dotted line, putting pen to paper on his first National Hockey League contract.
“It was a really exciting day for me and my family and everyone I’m close with,” Brennan told Game On on Sunday. “I am very excited and fortunate to have signed and really looking forward to the future with New Jersey.”
Although only announced on Sunday, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound goaltender says the deal was finalized on Friday, just before he was set to take the crease for the Prince George Cougars in their second round WHL Postseason matchup with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
“I had some talks with my agent here the last while and he had told me that the contract was in the works,” Brennan said. “I was actually in the middle of eating my pre-game meal and getting ready for the game when he called me and told me he had some good news. So, I have been pretty excited about it ever since.”
The 19-year-old former AA Winnipeg Twins standout was the second goaltender off the draft board this past year, as the Devils took him 102nd overall in the fourth round of the 2022 NHL Draft. Less than a year later, Brennan has his first professional deal.
“The draft was a pretty incredible experience,” he reflected “I had been dreaming about that my whole life as a hockey player, I think every kid who plays hockey that is their goal. So it was a pretty cool experience to be there in Montreal and hear your name called. I had a lot of good talks to New Jersey before the draft so I thought that it was a possibility.”
The contract is of the three-year, entry-level variety, which will see the 6-foot-4, 190-pound backstop earn just shy of $1 million per year when playing for the Devils. When spending time in the minors, he will make roughly $80K a year. The deal will kick in for the 2023-24 season.
The contract did come with an immediate signing bonus, but according to Brennan, that has yet to be touched.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet,” he said when asked if any big purchases were on the horizon. “Just trying to stay focused on the playoffs here as we’re right in the middle of a tight series. To be honest, I haven’t really thought about that too much.”
Brennan spent two seasons suiting up for RINK Hockey Academy in his hometown, where he earned his way onto the roster of the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars. The 2019-20 season was his first taste of WHL action, before going on to suit up for the next three years in British Columbia.
“RHA definitely prepared me for the next level in Prince George,” he said. “You know, such high talent, not just my team, but every team across the whole league there. There was lots of travel in Winnipeg with the closest team at that time being out in Edmonton or Calgary. That certainly helped prepare me for the travel aspect of the WHL and what that brings with it. I also learned about work ethic there too, and just what is needed to make it to that next level and keep climbing in the ranks. I think that was the biggest thing for me.”
Brennan earned a career-high 21 wins in Prince George last season, while helping the Cougars clinch a berth in the WHL Postseason for the second-straight year.
He went 21-10-3 on the season, while posting a 2.86 goals against average and a .898 save percentage. He put up stellar numbers last postseason, with a 1.86 goals against average and a .954 save percentage. Brennan also has seven WHL shutouts to his name.