Apr 22, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers center Derick Brassard (right) receives congratulations from the bench after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in game four of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
New York Rangers forward, Derick Brassard, signed a five-year, $25 million contract in the offseason. He has definitely lived up to it and then some.
In what was a move questioned by many, New York Rangers‘ general manager Glen Sather gave 27-year-old Derick Brassard a five-year contract worth $25 million. Brassard was a solid center last year, anchoring the Rangers’ most effective line alongside Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot. Few thought Brassard could duplicate his success, mostly because he was going to be facing stiffer competition as the Rangers number-two center after the buyout of Brad Richards. People on Twitter were befuddled, thinking the Rangers had just overpaid another player.
Well, those people have been proved emphatically wrong by the play of Brassard this year.
Spending most of the year anchoring the Rangers’ top line alongside Zuccarello and Rick Nash, Brassard delivered career highs in every offensive category. He finished with 19 goals and 60 points in total. Of those 19 goals, 6 came on the power-play, tying Brassard for second on the Rangers. He was by far the leader in assists, recording an astounding 41. Brassard also has excellent advanced stats. He was fifth on the team in SAT% with 52.35%, and was sixth on the team in SATRel& with 3.9%.
New York Rangers
But while the production is excellent, it is the contract that should be looked at more closely. There are eight other centers who make between $5-$5.5 million per year. Some of those are big name players like John Tavares, Jeff Carter, David Krejci, and Ryan Kesler. Out of the nine total centers, Brassard ranks first in SATRel% (3.93%), third in SAT% (52.41%), second in Points Per 60 (2.19), first in Assists Per 60 (1.63), and second in Goals For% (56%). Those are some pretty damn good numbers, and, in some cases, Brassard has better numbers than players considered to be top-tier centers in the entire league.
You know what makes this contract even better? The fact that Brassard is house-money in the playoffs. He seems to relish the big moment, and has the stones to score big-time goals in clutch situations. Since joining the Rangers at end of the 2013 season, Brassard has appeared in 39 playoff games. In those 39 games, he has 11 goals and 16 assists for a total of 27 points. He is a scrappy player who isn’t afraid of the intensity of playoff hockey, as he is always chirping the opposition (Maxim Lapierre I’m looking at you bud).
Sather and the Rangers’ brass took a risk in signing a player who had been inconsistent in his time in the NHL. However, Brassard has played magnificently this season, elevating himself to be a legitimate number one center. Brassard and Derek Stepan have both had tremendous seasons, especially after the fuss that was made about the Rangers losing the cup because of the center depth. As Brassard enters the prime of his career, we can only expect these numbers to increase.
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