Derick Brassard has quickly emerged as a fan favorite since becoming a member of the New York Rangers just a year and a half ago. His talent, upside, skill and ability to perform in both the regular season and playoffs, all while just now entering into his prime are realized, accepted and embraced by the Rangers’ fan base and management. The only problem in this relationship between Brassard and the Rangers is the issue of money, which can very well lead to severed ties alot shorter than most fans would have hoped.
According to various reports, Brassard, a restricted free agent this offseason who has filed for arbitration, with a hearing that will take place on July 28, is looking for a long term deal worth around $5.5 million per year. That number is insanely high for a 45-point player last season, regardless of how many of the home town fans he has won over.
Last season Brassard was making $3.7 million, but only $3.2 million was counted towards the salary cap, which is the most important number. How in the world he thinks he deserves a close to $2 million raise after last season is beyond me.
Now, I know $5.5 million is his starting point in the negotiation but regardless, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Brassard and Rangers’ GM Glen Sather are projected to come to terms on a deal that would give Brassard around $4.5-4.7 million per year. Even that is grossly high for a player like Brassard. I understand his skill and upside, I really do, but you have to show that consistently before you get paid the big bucks. A 45-point season is average and does not deserve a major raise over his previous contract. Brassard, in my opinion, should not make one cent over $4 million per year.
However, $4 million is a number I highly doubt Brassard would accept, since his starting price is $5.5 million, which is why I feel Brassard should be traded. The fans won’t like this, but business is business. You cannot spend over $4 million on a third-line center.
Yes, I know he is projected to be the Rangers’ second-line center this season, but come on. He recorded 45 points last season and played in 81 regular season games. How does he rightfully deserve that big of a raise, fan favorite or not?
In a salary cap league you cannot spend that much money on potential. So, my idea is for the Rangers to package Brassard, defenseman John Moore, plus a prospect and/or pick for a first-line center, having the trading team eat some salary and move Derek Stepan from the first to the second line.
The Rangers have third line, maybe future second line, centers like J.T. Miller and Oscar Lindberg waiting in the wings, so they can afford to trade a guy like Brassard. What the Rangers do not have though is a first-line center anywhere throughout the pipeline. Also the Rangers can afford to trade Moore in a deal with defensemen like Conor Allen and Mat Bodie ready to make the jump to the NHL.
With the Rangers’ glaring weakness down the middle right now, if you look at their current roster, trading this packaged deal for a number one center would not only improve the Rangers’ depth at the center position, but have little or no impact on their defensemen as well.