Now former New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard was traded to Ottawa, and it was a move that Jeff Gorton had to make.
The thought of trading Derick Brassard is sad, I know, but it’s ultimately a move that New York Rangers’ General Manager Jeff Gorton had to make.
When the Rangers shipped off Carl Hagelin to the Anaheim Ducks last summer, fans everywhere were heartbroken.
Not only was the speedster an extremely important part of the team’s success during his tenure in New York, but he was also a fan favorite.
One summer later, many fans are having some serious deja vu.
Earlier today, the Blueshirts showed forward Derick Brassard the exit door, as Jeff Gorton sent him and a 2018 7th round draft pick to the Ottawa Senators for forward Mika Zibanejad and a 2018 2nd round pick.
Boy was this a surprise.
There has been speculation this off-season on whether or not Jeff Gorton would make a big move.
Well, he certainly did that today.
Brassard was stellar last year for the Rangers. The 28-year-old recorded 27 goals, 31 assists and 58 points last year. The 27 goals were a career high and his assist and point totals were both the second most in his career.
He led the Rangers in goals, was third in assists, and second in points. He also recorded a +12 rating, which is tied for the best of his career.
But Zibanejad was also spectacular last year.
He set career highs in games played (81), goals (21), assists (30), and points (51).
More Mika stats: pic.twitter.com/gWj8y9EJMA
— NY Rangers PR (@NYRangersPR) July 18, 2016
One of two players 22-years-old or younger who posted 20 goals and a 50.0% Faceoff Win Percentage (min. 1,000 FO), along with Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan?
Sounds pretty good to me.
Gorton had this to say to Newsday reporter Steven Marcus about the former Senators center:
“I think the potential is there for more upside. He’s just scratching the surface at age 23. There’s not a lot of guys that have done what he’s done — scored 20 before that age. You look at the way the game is played, you look at some of the things he does — he kills penalties, he’s emerged on draws. He’s gotten better every year.”
Not every Rangers fan is excited about the move, but the reality is that the NHL is a business.
In the end, the Rangers are now younger. While Brassard is a player who is 28 years old and in his prime, the Swede is, as Gorton put it, “just scratching the surface at age 23.”
Brassard’s 58 points very well may be his ceiling and with Zibanejad at the green age of 23, this move could pay off big time in the future.
The Blueshirts have also began to restock their farm system. By receiving the Sens 2018 2nd round pick, the rookie GM was able to add a pick for the Rangers that will likely result in a solid prospect, which is something that this team hasn’t experienced very much in recent years.
One huge positive to Zibanejad’s game is his speed.
Unlike Brassard, Zibanejad has lightning quick speed which will enable him to skate by defenseman and go hard to the net with his 6-foot-2, 222 pound frame.
This is something that, besides Chris Kreider, Alain Vigneault’s team lacked last year. He adds a whole new element to their lineup that was missing, especially in their first round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In addition to his speed, Zibanejad can also kill penalties. He was a bright spot in Ottawa’s weak penalty kill, as he had two shorthanded goals last year.
His jump allows him to position his stick in passing lanes and give opposing point men something to worry about on the power play.
Fans knew that if Brassard were to be traded, his ability to score big time goals would be missed, but Zibanejad could prove to be better at Brassard in this category. The former 2011 first round pick scored seven game winning goals this season, compared to Brassard’s five.
This trade also gives the Rangers some more cap flexibility.
With Brassard’s $5 million cap hit coming off the books, the Blueshirts will save about $2.4 million in cap space this upcoming season. This grants Gorton the ability to resign restricted free agents Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes, or even make another move.
No matter how you slice it, losing Brassard was going to hurt the hearts of Rangers fans everywhere.
Jeff Gorton should not be blamed here however. He was able to acquire a very talented young up and coming player who will be a big piece for the Blueshirts moving forward.
In the end, Gorton deserves a round of applause for makin this trade happen. While the loss of Brassard will hurt, the Rangers won this trade.