Player: Derick Brassard
Cap Hit Outlook: $5.0 Million/year, signed through 2018-2019 season
Status: Long-term Top Six Center
2015-2016 G-A-P: 27-31-58 in 80 GP
Derick Brassard has become one of the so-called “core” New York Rangers. Although the core is likely to be broken up this coming summer, management would be unwise to look past this skilled center who found his game in New York. Most skilled players the Rangers have invested in during the past five years have been major flops. Yes, I’m looking at you Nash, Boyle, and Staal.
Brassard was acquired, along with Derek Dorsett and John Moore, in the 2013 package deal that sent Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brassard, while young, never quite found his game while with Columbus. Right off the bat Brassard was comfortable in New York registering 5 goals and 6 assists in his first 13 games on Broadway. Additionally he recorded 12 points in the 12 game playoff run of 2012-2103. The very next year, Brassard hit the ground running in his first full season with the Rangers recording 18 goals and 27 assists in 81 games. In 2014-2015, he became an important playmaker tallying 41 assists along with 19 goals for a career high 60-point season. For a Rangers team who struggled to score all year round, Brassard really found his scoring touch with a career high and team leading 27 goals, adding 31 assists for 58 points.
Brassard is key if the Rangers intend to be competitive in the upcoming years. Brassard is only 28 years old, has improved every year under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, and should be considered a top priority moving forward. At his $5 million dollar salary he is a true value who can make every player around him better. If the right moves are made this off-season, where we can put highly skilled, shoot first wingers around Brassard, I suspect another career year is in the works. Brassard has also shown to be an extremely valuable asset on an otherwise dismal power-play. Placing Brassard, a smart, puck-possessing playmaker on the point in order to “quarterback” the power-play would be in the Rangers best interest moving forward. GM Gorton has some crucial off-season moves to make; some may be drastic and make fans question what the future will hold. Rest assured, Brassard will not be shrapnel in the impending “core” explosion.