As Bold As Brassard
The NYR have on their roster a total of 11 free agents come season’s end. 5 of which are restricted and most intriguing is Derick Brassard.
FTR will start to examine the Rangers free agents in order to determine what the best move is for the Blueshirts.
Glen Sather made a huge splash at last year’s trade deadline sending star winger Marian Gaborik to Columbus, most Ranger fans were left wondering what the return would be. Well Sather happened to pull off one of his better deals in recent memory landing grinder Derek Dorsett, young defenseman John Moore, and former 2006 1st rounder (6th overall pick) of the Jackets, Derick Brassard.
In his first 5 years with the Jackets, Brassard didn’t exactly live up to the high standards of being a top 10 pick. In his first two seasons in the NHL he played a total of 48 games with a total of 27 points, which isn’t exactly great. 2009-2010 season gave Jackets fans hope that he was starting to realize his potential, in 79 games he scored 9 goals and had 27 assists for a total of 36 points. Brassard continued to improve, playing 74 games 17 goals and 30 assists for 47 points the following year. In the 2011-2012 campaign, Brassard’s numbers took a bit of dip where he registered 41 points with 14 goals and 27 assists. During last year’s lockout shortened season, he played in 34 games with Columbus and had 18 points (7 goals 11 assists) before joining the Rangers for 13 games.
Brassard made an impressive NYR debut against Pittsburgh as he registered 4 points. However, it was in the playoffs that he really opened eyes as he scored 12 points in 12 games. He was New York’s best forward and Ranger fans were ready for more. This season through 72 games he has 17 goals and 41 points. Most recently, Brassard has 4 goals and 5 points in his last 4 games after a stretch of 8 games without a point.
There in lies the problem with Derick Brassard, he is maddeningly inconsistent for a player with that much talent. The Rangers have 9 games left in the season which gives Brassard a shot to pick up 7 point to set a new career high of 48. The question, is 48 points worth the 3.2 million cap hit?
Brassard is a very useful player in the right situations. He is a huge proponent to their 2nd powerplay unit and on the team’s 2nd line. Benoit Pouliot was moved to a line with Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin, so that Martin St. Louis could play on Brassard’s wing. It goes to show what the Rangers think of his talent, but so far the result is ZERO goals for Marty St. Louis.
Brassard is in the final year of his 4 year deal and he will likely want a raise in the summer, even though his point production isn’t where the team would like it to be. Being an RFA it gives Glen Sather a certain amount of power but if they can’t reach an agreement on an extension Sather would be best suited to move him draft day for picks. But is that the right course of action?
At the age of 26 he is about to enter his prime. With the great chemistry he’s shown with fellow winger and RFA Mats Zuccarello, NY should make an effort to at least keep him for one more season. However, if Sather isn’t able to come to terms by draft day, he needs to cut ties with him. Long holdouts usually hurt both sides, just ask Derek Stepan.
Glen Sather has his hands full this summer as coveted UFA centerman Paul Stastny is going to hit the market July 1st. The decision to buy out Brad Richards looms largest and will be the first real indicator as to what the Rangers future plans are. No buyout, No Stastny. If the Rangers do choose to shed Richard’s contract and can acquire Stastny come July 1st, NY would be younger and deep down the middle. Even more reason to retain Brassard as the 3rd line center.
Written with: Nick Peritz