The New York Rangers locked up Derick Brassard, signing the 26-year-old Canadian to a five-year deal worth $25 million. Brassard was acquired from the Rangers in 2013 in a deal that saw Marian Gaborik go to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brassard has developed nicely as a Ranger, and this deal is a smart one for the team.
Brassard was a high draft pick for the Blue Jackets, but he fell out of favor in Columbus before they packaged him to New York to get Gaborik. He has never scored more than 50 points in a season, but he’s a great possession player, posting a 1.6 percent corsi relative during the regular season and a 5.2 percent corsi relative during the Rangers’ playoff run. He clearly fits the system Alain Vigneault is trying to implement, which is puck-possession style that flourishes with good passing, something Brassard does well. He he could also see his ice-time go up with the departure of Brad Richards and more power play time.
Brassard recorded 45 points this year, fourth most on the team. He also posted good numbers on the power play, recording 18 points. Furthermore, he has also been a great postseason perfumer, recording 24 points in 35 playoff games over the past two years. He has great vision and developed amazing chemistry with linemates Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot left this summer, but Brassard and Zuccarello could easily find chemistry with another player on their line. Brassard has great vision and can fit in with most people.
With all of that being said, however, the deal for the Rangers works out because of the logistics. The five-year deal is front loaded which helps the cap situation for the Rangers over the next couple of years. The cap is expected to go up significantly over the next few seasons, and Brassard’s deal gives the Rangers more flexibility. He is due to make $7 million this year, $6 million next year, $5 million in 2016-17 and then, finally, in the final two years when he will be 31, Brassard will make $3.5 million.
The deal would work out great for the Rangers, because as the cap goes up, Brassard’s deal will go down, giving them the cap flexibility needed to go out and fix the roster by adding new free-agents. It is a masterful job of working the cap by GM Glen Sather, as he has to extend key pieces like Derek Stepan, Marc Staal, Carl Hagelin and Zuccarello next summer while still being bolstering the roster through free agency in future summers.
All in all, this deal works out very well for the Rangers. They signed a big piece of their team to a long-term deal while not handicapping the team when it comes to signing free agents in summers to come. The deal is really a no-brainer and a smart one for the Rangers.