Derick Brassard was a struggling player with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Everyone knew he had talent but for some reason, it was translating to on-ice success. All of that changed on April 3.
The New York Rangers sent struggling sniper Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets in exchange for Brassard, John Moore and Derek Dorsett. Most Ranger fans knew nothing about any of these players. But once they debuted later that night, people were sure to remember Brassard’s name.
He is a talented young center who was in desperate need of a change. He isn’t the biggest player on the ice, but he has a tremendous skill set. You could tell that he was not very familiar with a defense-first system under John Tortorella, but he was still able to show his offensive creativity. In 13 games with the Rangers, he posted five goals and six assists for a total of 11 points. In 34 games with the Blue Jackets, he only posted seven goals and 11 assists for a total of 18 points, proving even more that a change of scenery was necessary.
Once the playoffs rolled around, Brassard became the Rangers’ most consistent forward. He had two goals and 10 assists in 12 games. He was the only player on the roster who averaged a point per game. He was the Rangers best forward in both series but was overmatched against the Boston Bruins in the second round. It was clear that the physical, large defenseman of the Bruins were imposing their will on Brassard. Despite that, he eventually found his stride and continued to put up points.
Now, the Rangers have a new head coach, Alain Vigneault. He is a coach who gives players the opportunity to make plays in open space. This will give Brassard and the other skilled players the chance to make plays and show their creativity more. Brassard will be one of the players who will benefit the most from this new coaching change.
Brassard has the makings to become a star with the right coaching and players around him. Expect to him have a big year for the Rangers in the 2013-14 season.