A look at the Zibanejad-Brassard trade 7 years later: How the Senators failed:
Ottawa chose Luke Loheit, an American winger, with their seventh-round pick. He currently plays for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. However, his rookie season in 2019-20 was not impressive, as he only scored five goals and had six points in 33 games. Similarly, this past season was underwhelming, with only three goals and five points in 28 games.
During his time in Ottawa, Brassard’s performance did not meet expectations. In his first season, 2016-17, he only had 39 points in 81 games, which disappointed the management and fans, considering his previous successes. However, he did redeem himself with 11 points in 18 games as the Senators reached the Eastern Conference final.
Ultimately, the Senators salvaged something from this deal when they traded Brassard, Vincent Dunn, and a third-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That package netted them Ian Cole, Filip Gustavsson, and Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in 2018 (Jacob Bernard-Docker, 26th overall)
Cole was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets three days later for Nick Moutrey and a third-round pick in 2020.
Brassard had a respectable 38 points in 58 games before the trade. Brassard had a rough go during the 2018-19 season. After a groin injury on October 27, he had to sit out nine games, and when he finally returned to the ice, he struggled to find his groove. Only three points in 17 games by the holiday break? That’s tough. So Brassard got bumped down to the third-line center. In 40 games for Pittsburgh that season, he only scored nine goals and tallied 15 points.
After the season, Brassard told the Post Gazette(Subscription required), he had set personal goals of getting 50 to 60 points that season, but being stuck in limited playing time as a bottom-six forward dashed those hopes. On February 1, 2019, Brassard was in yet another trade from the Penguins to the Florida Panthers. Alongside Riley Sheahan and three draft picks, he headed to the Sunshine State in exchange for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann.
His time with the Panthers was short-lived. In just ten games, he scored one goal and assisted on three others.
The Panthers traded him again in March. of 2020, this time to the Colorado Avalanche. They swapped Brassard for a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. At the end of the season, Brassard’s stats reflected his nomadic journey across the three teams. He scored 14 goals and earned 23 points during the 2018-2019 season.
That offseason, he signed a one-year $1.2 million deal with the New York Islanders, where he rediscovered his play. He netted 10 goals and contributed 32 points in 66 games. In the playoffs, he scored two goals and notched eight points in 18 playoff games during the Islanders’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals. But despite the contributions, the Islanders didn’t view him as a keeper, as Brassard hit free agency again.
From there, he bounced around from the Arizona Coyotes to the Philadelphia Flyers to the Edmonton Oilers before becoming a Senator again in the 2022 offseason. Brassard had 13 goals and 30 points in 62 games last season and is currently a free agent. The Senators likely won’t resign him. If they wanted him back, it would’ve been done by now.
Looking back, this was one of the best trades in Rangers’ history. Rangers fans should keep grinning and hope Mika’s magic will continue to dazzle on the ice in the upcoming 2023-24 season. What once looked like a terrible deal (Read the comments) turned into a great one. It shows the importance of letting the results do the talking.