Derick Brassard has been the subject of a number of rumors that have linked him to the Penguins, the Blue Jackets and several other teams, and those rumors were reignited when Brassard missed practice today with a ‘maintenance day’:
Given that the roster freeze is now over, it’s time to dive into who Brassard is and what kind of fit he’d be with the Penguins.
Brassard is a 30 year old 6’1″, 205 pound center whose contract expires in 2019 and carries a cap hit of $5 million AAV. Regularly deployed as a 2nd line center, Brassard averages 0.6 points per game in the NHL and is currently in the midst of a 9 goal, 14 assist in 35 game season for the Ottawa Senators. While Brassard does not have an extended history of killing penalties for any team he’s been on, he’s been a strong defensive presence as a center for Ottawa as he possess an incredibly strong 5.24relCF% and a 6.09relxGF%, so possess the abilities required to translate over and play some PK. Brassard also holds an admirable playoff record, where he has produced 0.71 points per game in the NHL and Mike Sullivan has a brief history of coaching him as Sullivan served as an assistant coach for 25 games Brassard played in New York. He’d fill the Penguins 3C role and likely use his applicable defensive skills to be worked into the penalty kill rotation.
The issue with Brassard is the salary cap. As he holds a $5 million dollar a year contract, the Penguins will have to dump significant salary in order to fit his deal under the current. A player like Carl Hagelin will have to be moved to fit Brassard into the cap, but moving Hagelin is difficult due to his salary compared to his production.
It remains to be seen if this will be who the Penguins target for their 3C position, but if they manage to make it work, this would be a considerable upgrade on Nick Bonino of last year and certainly over Riley Sheahan this year. Below is a highlight video put together by a Rangers player after he got traded to Ottawa: