Derick Brassard played his best hockey as a New York Ranger. The 31-year-old centerman tallied 174 points in 254 games with the Blueshirts. Quarterbacking the bottom-6 for many years, Brassard was an integral piece of the Rangers Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2014. On a line with best friend Mats Zuccarello and winger Benoit Pouliot, Brassard helped form one of the most dynamic lines of the 2014 postseason. After a career-high 27 goal season in 2015-16, Brassard was traded along with a second-round pick for Mika Zibanejad. This trade will go down as one of the best trades in Rangers history. Brassard had two decent seasons in Ottawa, notching 77 points in 139 games. In 2018, the Senators traded Brassard to Pittsburgh, where he then made his way to Florida after not finding chemistry with linemates. Brassard finished the 2018-19 season with the Colorado Avalanche posting 5 points in 29 games including the postseason.
Although the Rangers have had the best offseason in the NHL and one of the greatest offseasons in team history, the Blueshirts still lack center depth. Right now, the Rangers centers are Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome, Filip Chytil, Brett Howden, and Lias Andersson. If the Rangers want to be competitive next season, they need to improve down the middle. Signing Derick Brassard would be great for the youth centers on the team, especially for the development of Lias Andersson. Derick Brassard was once a 6th overall pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the future number one center of the team. Andersson was selected 7th overall by the Rangers a couple of years ago. Who better than Brassard to help Lias with the pressures of being a future number one center? Andersson will be looking to leap the NHL this season. It would be great for the Rangers to bring in a mentor for him and the other young centers, as a guide to show them what it takes to play in the NHL. Brassard could also be a mentor to Artemi Panarin. A Blue Jacket traded to the Rangers; Brassard knows precisely what it takes to thrive on Broadway. Ultimately, the Rangers lack leaders. Their oldest forward is Chris Kreider, who hasn’t been seen in a leadership role for the Rangers. If you look back to all the successful Rangers teams that made deep playoff runs, there were people in the locker room that can lift the team after a tough loss. Martin St. Louis, Rick Nash, Dan Girardi, and Ryan McDonagh all stepped up to lead their teams. They were all players who knew how to capture the attention of a locker room and lead by example.
Financially, there is little to no risk in signing Brassard. He has struggled the last couple of seasons, so his salary will be significantly less than the $5 million he made on his recent contract. If the Rangers do end up signing him, the contract will be no more than three years in the range of two to three million per year. These numbers are inexpensive, and if something goes wrong, the team can trade him with ease.