28-Year-Old Center – New York Rangers
Derick Brassard Contract Information:
Signed a five-year, $25 million contract extension with the Rangers in July of 2014.
Brassard finished with a goal and an assist in Thursday's 6-3 win over the Blues.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Entering last season, Brassard was widely viewed as a player on the cusp of a breakout season. Although his 45 points could be considered rather pedestrian from a third-line perspective, Columbus' former sixth overall pick (2006) still has a boatload of promise to fulfill. With the offseason amnesty buyout of Brad Richards, Brassard is slated to move up to the team's second line this season, when he could finally make good on the long-awaited expectations.
If there is any forward on the New York Rangers roster poised to have a break out season, it's Brassard, a former first round pick (6th overall, 2006), 6'1, 200-pound center. Since being acquired with Derek Dorsett and John Moore in exchange for Marian Gaborik at the 2013 trading deadline, Brassard was a plus-4 with seven goals, 16 assists in just 25 games with the Rangers. Brassard's role will depend on how Brad Richards performs out of the gate. He could either receive ice time with top-6 forwards or center for the third line. If Richards falters as he did down the stretch last season, Brassard could clean up nicely in a top-6 slot, positioning himself to break career records. Depending on the depth of your league, this type of scenario could pay large dividends.
No longer a young prospect with upside, Brassard heads into this season as a 25-year-old former first round pick who's dangerously close to being labeled a bust; he's never recorded more than 17 goals or 47 points in a season despite multiple chances to center for an all-world talent like Rick Nash. The Blue Jackets will be counting on Brassard to emerge from Nash's shadow and become one of the new offensive leaders on the roster, but, if he keeps producing at the same mediocre level that he has so far, it's hard to see him keeping a top-six role over competition from a developing Ryan Johansen and new additions like Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky. This will be a make-or-break year for Brassard in Columbus, where he either starts living up to his potential or brands himself as yet another failed Jackets draft pick who needs a fresh start elsewhere to salvage his career.
It was another disappointing season for Brassard, who couldn't stick on Rick Nash's line and even dropped out of the top-six entirely at times. 17 goals and 47 points were both career highs, however, and the slick, skilled pivot stayed (mostly) healthy for the second straight season. The acquisition of Jeff Carter takes the pressure off Brassard to be a number one center, a role for which he's not really suited anyway due to his build, and another season of maturity should allow him to break the 50-point mark while anchoring the club's second line.
Barssard managed to stay healthy last season, but that's about the only thing that went right for the youngster. He scored fewer goals in 79 games than he had in 31 contests as a rookie and generally collapsed in on himself under the pressure of being the team's #1 center. Ken Hitchcock's firing didn't seem to perk him up like it did some other Blue Jackets, and this coming season will be a crucial one for his development. At his best Brassard has the elite vision and creativity of a top-shelf playmaker, if not the size you look for in a true modern #1 center, and it's very easy to imagine him being a great fit alongside Rick Nash, but it's now up to Brassard to get back on track towards being the player the Blue Jackets need him to be. If he does, 60 points is a distinct possibility.
While Steve Mason ended up winning the Calder Trophy, through the first months of the season the award looked like Brassard's to lose, as he stormed out of the gate with 10 goals and 25 points in 31 games and appeared to be the playmaking center Rick Nash had always lacked. A shoulder injury suffered in a fight ended Brassard's rookie campaign early, but after surgery and an offseason devoted to strengthening the joint he seems poised for a breakout season. Brassard possesses the vision, skill and drive to excel on the top line, and after signing a four-year extension just before the start of training camp he and Nash figure to be giving opposition defenses fits for years to come.
Brassard got a little taste of the NHL last season, appearing in 17 games, but the 21-year-old is expected to take on a full role this season. The Blue Jackets are trying to keep the expectations around him minimal, but the fact of the matter is that Brassard is their best option (at least talent-wise) at center to be the playmaker Rick Nash so desperately needs. He picked up 36 assists and 51 points last season in 42 AHL games, and the organization would be ecstatic if he could match that production over a full NHL slate.
The sixth overall pick in 2006, Brassard could be exactly what the Blue Jackets need. A slick play-making center with speed and exceptional vision on the ice, Brassard has a skill set that Columbus desperately lacks on its roster. A shoulder injury cost him almost all of the ‘06-‘07 season, and he may need some time back in the QMJHL or in the AHL to shake off the rust. If he proves ready for the NHL in camp however, he could very quickly ascend to the top of the Blue Jackets’ depth chart at center.
The sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft, Brassard scored 44 goals and 116 points in 58 QMJHL games last season. His speed and offensive gifts will fit perfectly into the new NHL when he's ready for the physical demands of the pro game.
Brassard is probably the best pure goal scorer in the 2006 draft class. He poured in 44 goals and 116 points in only 58 games in the QMJHL in 2005-06 (a big jump from his 25-51-76 totals in 69 games the season before). He's also super-fast and gritty, with a great shot and great vision, and he is one of the best at finding seams on the ice. Don't be surprised to find this kid as a number one center some day. At worst, he'll likely be a number two man and that's pretty good from a fantasy perspective.