The New York Rangers are turning a new leaf this season, a process that some will argue actually began last year when the Rangers acquired Derek Dorsett, John Moore and Derick Brassard from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Marian Gaborik. So far, the trade is looking like it might be a steal for the Rangers because of what Brassard has shown so far in his short stint with the Rangers thus far.
Brassard, 25, scored five goals and added six assists in his 13 games with the Rangers last season before adding two goals and 10 assists in the playoffs. His 10 assists and 12 points led the Rangers in the playoffs. Now, with Derek Stepan not signed it could be up to Brassard to help get the offense clicking.
Brassard has outstanding vision on the ice and knows where his teammates are. He has already shown that this preseason but it was especially evident in the playoffs last season. Brassard could be the x-factor for the Rangers this season and his ability as a playmaker could be just what the Rangers need.
Right now, Stepan is the number one center but Brassard should be the number two and could fill Stepan’s skates for the time being. Of course, the Rangers hope to get Stepan under contract and in uniform as soon as possible but Brassard is showing he is capable of leading the top line. Brassard makes the players around him better. His ability to pass, especially in traffic in front of the opposing net is something the Rangers have lacked on a consistent basis recently. Having a full camp with the team under his belt and a full season to work with his teammates should make Brassard one of the top center in the NHL.
Brassard’s emergence also allows Alain Vigneault to move Brad Richards down and take some of the pressure off of Richards as he tries to rebound from the worst season of his career. Brassard could be a huge difference maker for the Rangers this season and could mean the difference between a deep run in the playoffs or another early exit.