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On Derrick Brassard

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On Derrick Brassard

Postby Henry Hank on Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:43 am

Brassard has been looked at, almost universally, as a disappointment since he was acquired. I've more or less been in that camp. But should we really be surprised by how he's performed as a Penguin, and should we really hold it against him?

Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, for his career he played at a ~50 point pace, primarily playing top six minutes in an offensive role and playing top PP minutes.

In Pittsburgh, for his entire tenure he's been at a ~35 point pace, playing primarily a third line defensive role with second unit PP minutes.

Seems to me that Brassard is producing and looking exactly like he should have been expected, given the reduction and change in his usage.

I think this leaves a few options moving forward:

1. We accept this is what we're going to get from Brassard using him this way, and recognizing his current value is primarily as depth and as an insurance policy in case Crosby or Malkin get hurt. Brassard in a top six center role seems a lot more palatable than Sheahan or Cullen.

2. They change their usage of the Brassard and the third line and he gets more even offensive starts. For his career prior to coming here, he had been closer to 60/40 offensive to defensive zone starts compared to essentially the opposite ratio here this season. That likely means more defensive responsibility for Sid's line, so there's going to be a tradeoff there- which ultimately could make the team better even if that line's production suffers.

3. If what they want from the third line center is more of a traditional two-way player, they need to use somebody else in that role- either move Sheahan back as they had used him last year, or go outside the organization. Either way, this scenario likely means moving Brassard and replacing him with somebody that fits the team's structure better. One option would be trading Brassard for a draft pick, and then using pick(s) to bring in a different rental forward- either somebody more suited to play wing or less likely a better fit as a center.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby pens_CT on Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:23 pm

Henry Hank wrote:Brassard has been looked at, almost universally, as a disappointment since he was acquired. I've more or less been in that camp. But should we really be surprised by how he's performed as a Penguin, and should we really hold it against him?

Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, for his career he played at a ~50 point pace, primarily playing top six minutes in an offensive role and playing top PP minutes.

In Pittsburgh, for his entire tenure he's been at a ~35 point pace, playing primarily a third line defensive role with second unit PP minutes.

Seems to me that Brassard is producing and looking exactly like he should have been expected, given the reduction and change in his usage.

I think this leaves a few options moving forward:

1. We accept this is what we're going to get from Brassard using him this way, and recognizing his current value is primarily as depth and as an insurance policy in case Crosby or Malkin get hurt. Brassard in a top six center role seems a lot more palatable than Sheahan or Cullen.

2. They change their usage of the Brassard and the third line and he gets more even offensive starts. For his career prior to coming here, he had been closer to 60/40 offensive to defensive zone starts compared to essentially the opposite ratio here this season. That likely means more defensive responsibility for Sid's line, so there's going to be a tradeoff there- which ultimately could make the team better even if that line's production suffers.

3. If what they want from the third line center is more of a traditional two-way player, they need to use somebody else in that role- either move Sheahan back as they had used him last year, or go outside the organization. Either way, this scenario likely means moving Brassard and replacing him with somebody that fits the team's structure better. One option would be trading Brassard for a draft pick, and then using pick(s) to bring in a different rental forward- either somebody more suited to play wing or less likely a better fit as a center.



I think its obvious what they want and that is to play Kessel on the third line, and have a center who can distribute him the puck. While Brassard's offensive zone starts are down, I doubt he has ever played with such an offensively gifted winger like Kessel. However they haven't developed any chemistry, nor has Brassard developed chemistry with anyone on this team. To me it seems that Brassard has been playing at 3/4 speed compared to what I remember about him when he played with the Rangers and Senators. I think they have to move him, unless he can show some offensive ability with Phil, but I don't know who is a better option for the position. Internally Sheahan can't produce at the level that Brassard currently is providing, and you mention a good point about the 3C needing to bump up to a 2C, if an injury happens to 87 or 71. GMJR is going to have to perform some magic via trade if we want to have three scoring lines.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby FLPensFan on Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:41 pm

Henry Hank wrote:Brassard has been looked at, almost universally, as a disappointment since he was acquired. I've more or less been in that camp. But should we really be surprised by how he's performed as a Penguin, and should we really hold it against him?

Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, for his career he played at a ~50 point pace, primarily playing top six minutes in an offensive role and playing top PP minutes.

In Pittsburgh, for his entire tenure he's been at a ~35 point pace, playing primarily a third line defensive role with second unit PP minutes.

Seems to me that Brassard is producing and looking exactly like he should have been expected, given the reduction and change in his usage.

I think this leaves a few options moving forward:

1. We accept this is what we're going to get from Brassard using him this way, and recognizing his current value is primarily as depth and as an insurance policy in case Crosby or Malkin get hurt. Brassard in a top six center role seems a lot more palatable than Sheahan or Cullen.

2. They change their usage of the Brassard and the third line and he gets more even offensive starts. For his career prior to coming here, he had been closer to 60/40 offensive to defensive zone starts compared to essentially the opposite ratio here this season. That likely means more defensive responsibility for Sid's line, so there's going to be a tradeoff there- which ultimately could make the team better even if that line's production suffers.

3. If what they want from the third line center is more of a traditional two-way player, they need to use somebody else in that role- either move Sheahan back as they had used him last year, or go outside the organization. Either way, this scenario likely means moving Brassard and replacing him with somebody that fits the team's structure better. One option would be trading Brassard for a draft pick, and then using pick(s) to bring in a different rental forward- either somebody more suited to play wing or less likely a better fit as a center.

1. I don't have any faith in Brassard to even be able to be that insurance policy. I think the only person Brassard has shown any chemistry with is Crosby. And, we have no need for him to be playing with Crosby.

2. I don't think the usage is going to matter. He just seems off. There are some rumors floating out there that teams have concern over his shoulder injury, as well as that he had a torn groin last year with Pittsburgh, and there are concerns he hasn't recovered his skating. Watch the 3rd line closely tonight. Watch Phil and Pearson work well together, and Brassard somewhere in the background.

3. Go get a 3rd line center. Go get someone who has put up 35-50 points with the TOI we are going to be able to give him. I think with Jake's contract he's too expensive, but Tyler Bozak would have been a good add. Past history with Phil, and, he's been a 40-50 point producer with 15-17 minutes of ice time, including PP time. Brassard has typically needed 17.5 to 18.5 to put up basically the same production as Bozak. They need to find someone who produces well with the minutes we are going to give them.

I'm a big proponent of seeing how things play out. I gave David Perron a lot more slack when we had him, and everyone else was ready to run him out of town when he wasn't working. I think Brassard is past that stage,and, even with his down season, there are teams out there that will take a risk on him. He has a good history, and, he's relatively cheap with Vegas taking on 2M of his contract. He isn't unmoveable.

GMJR needs to look for a center/wing, a Compher, Coyle, etc.....someone that can play 3C but move elsewhere if needed. 3C and LW depth are our only real needs. I like that Simon is heating up, but we lose Simon or Jake or Pearson, our LW group looks really bad really quickly.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby Henry Hank on Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:52 pm

I certainly don't disagree that Brassard also hasn't "looked" good and has not necessarily found chemistry with anyone on the team. But it's simply reality that he has not been put in a role at which he's likely to look good or produce. I am absolutely certain if you brought in Tyler Bozak, stripped away with PP role, and put him in offensively unfavorable situations as a third liner, he's going to be a 20-30 point guy.

Go get someone who has put up 35-50 points with the TOI we are going to be able to give him.


I don't think we appreciate or recognize how hard this is to do. If you look around the league at who the guys are who are putting up 30+ even strength points per year which is what it would take to accomplish that, you're not going to find many playing outside of a top six role.

To ask Brassard to do this while significantly reducing and changing his role was essentially asking him to significantly increase his productivity which never should have been a reasonable expectation.

I'm not posting this to absolve Brassard but just to set realistic expectations. He is not the right player for the role they've given him. They either need to use him differently or do something different.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby largegarlic on Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:17 pm

I'm not really sure what to think at this point. Pensburgh had a post a month or so ago making the case that Brassard's production is pretty much in line with the average for 3Cs around the league. Of course, the Pens didn't pay the price they did for him to get an average 3C, but it does imply that it might be hard to get a real upgrade for that spot.

It also seems to me that Rutherford and/or Sullivan are enamored with the idea of recreating the magic of the HBK line from the 2016 Cup run (and why wouldn't you be?). Hagelin and Bonino were defensively responsible, and Kessel could leave the d-zone early and just fly on the breakouts. But it's not clear that Brassard is that type of player. It's also important to remember that the original members of HBK couldn't recreate that magic the next season. We tend to remember the best moments of Bonino's time with the Pens, but he also spent a lot of time being invisible.

It's a good point about Brassard's 40/60 split with regard to offensive/defensive zone starts, but even with that, his numbers seem low when he's gotten a handful of 12 points playing LW with Crosby, and if I'm remembering correctly, his 3 most recent goals were an empty netter (set up by Malkin) and two tap-ins where literally all he had to do was have his stick on the ice near the goal (set up by Maatta and Kessel). Whereas Sheahan has an even worse ratio of offensive/defensive zone starts (21%/79%) and 2 minutes less ice time per game and only has 1 less goal than Brassard.

So, again, I don't know what to think. Brassard isn't working as hoped, but it's not clear that the Pens could do better.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby Henry Hank on Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:41 pm

I think another way to put it is, Brassard is the player he’s always been. He’s always been a good, but not great, offensive player. Taking that kind of player and removing them from the offensively-favorable usage they’ve needed to put up their previous production, and also trying to shoe-horn them into a more two-way role that they aren’t really suited for - why is it a surprise it hasn’t worked out as we hoped?

I liked the trade at the time and am at peace with it, but trying to shoe horn him into a traditional third line center role was never going to work. They either need to use him differently or move him and bring in somebody different. It’s as simple as that.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby Daniel on Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:50 pm

Henry Hank wrote:I think another way to put it is, Brassard is the player he’s always been. He’s always been a good, but not great, offensive player. Taking that kind of player and removing them from the offensively-favorable usage they’ve needed to put up their previous production, and also trying to shoe-horn them into a more two-way role that they aren’t really suited for - why is it a surprise it hasn’t worked out as we hoped?

I liked the trade at the time and am at peace with it, but trying to shoe horn him into a traditional third line center role was never going to work. They either need to use him differently or move him and bring in somebody different. It’s as simple as that.


My big thing with Brassard is that he's made comments about more ice time, or play LW, then seems to disappear unless he's playing with Crosby. Don't know if he has a bad attitude, but his on ice presence seems to change when he's 3C. I think the Pens have other 3C options (Sheahan/Blueger) so I don't think it's necessary to overpay for one, but I do think Brassard should be dealt.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby longtimefan on Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:40 pm

There's 21 games until the deadline. They've said they wanted to throw Kessel and Brassard together and leave them that way. The team is red hot. The trouble is the guy the Pens want isn't available. They want a center to play with Kessel. Not just a typical 3rd line center. Bozak is the only name who seems intriguing, but he carries a cap hit of $5M for two more seasons, and he's 32. He also has 6 goals and 12 assists in 39 games. Not a lot more than Brassard, 6 and 6 in 32 games. Other names seem to better fit the 3rd line profile, but that isn't what they are after. I think they'll leave them together for the next 15 games or so, as long as the team keeps winning. They are hoping for a lightning strike. Like Bonino entering March of 2016 with 3 goals and 11 points. They believe that the team is better with Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel on separate lines. So you've got to commit to it, and let it play out for awhile. Determine at the deadline if it's a must.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby Cow_Master66 on Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:26 pm

He is also quite a decent safety net should one of the top 2 centers go down with an injury. While Blueger and Sheehan might be able to duplicate the #s Brass is putting up on the 3rd line, I think the organization would much rather bump up Brassard to the top 6 than either of those guys.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby FLPensFan on Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:32 pm

longtimefan wrote:There's 21 games until the deadline. They've said they wanted to throw Kessel and Brassard together and leave them that way. The team is red hot. The trouble is the guy the Pens want isn't available. They want a center to play with Kessel. Not just a typical 3rd line center. Bozak is the only name who seems intriguing, but he carries a cap hit of $5M for two more seasons, and he's 32. He also has 6 goals and 12 assists in 39 games. Not a lot more than Brassard, 6 and 6 in 32 games. Other names seem to better fit the 3rd line profile, but that isn't what they are after. I think they'll leave them together for the next 15 games or so, as long as the team keeps winning. They are hoping for a lightning strike. Like Bonino entering March of 2016 with 3 goals and 11 points. They believe that the team is better with Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel on separate lines. So you've got to commit to it, and let it play out for awhile. Determine at the deadline if it's a must.

They've been together 5 or 6 games, 14-19-81. Their advanced stats together are very bad. They've only produced 1 even strength goal together, the goal off Brassard's skate. If you look at WAR, they are reportedly the worst line IN THE LEAGUE in terms of WAR. This is a repeated process with Brassard. I don't see any signs of improvement, even though Pearson and Kessel look very encouraging together.

I think you could give it 10 games, you could give it 100 games.....they aren't close to playing well together. They are almost bottom of the barrel. It's time to move on.

I think if the Penguins really wanted Bozak, they could get him pretty easily. STL is pretty much open for business on everyone. In the general sense, I'm not really concerned Bozak's age, term, or $$$. 32, and turns 33 in March. While you could look at his numbers and say he's starting to decline, you also can see that STL is a whole is a mess. ROR is really the only one playing at or above their normal levels. Just about everyone else is below.

The bigger issue right now is, the Penguins don't have the cap space to add a player making 5M for two more seasons with Guentzel's new deal, unless they are shipping out salary over the summer.

Move Brassard for a pick and a prospect. Maybe even ask STL if there is any particular prospect they want from X team they may trade Brassard to. Turn around, flip the pick and the prospect, maybe even an extra pick, for Bozak with some salary retained. STL is up there in cap space, so I don't think you could get them to retain much more than 1M, if any. But, seeing what GMJR has pulled off in the past, and with STL open to trading anyone for the right price, I have no doubt in my mind that if Rutherford wants Bozak, he can find a way and pull the trigger.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby FLPensFan on Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:34 pm

Cow_Master66 wrote:He is also quite a decent safety net should one of the top 2 centers go down with an injury. While Blueger and Sheehan might be able to duplicate the #s Brass is putting up on the 3rd line, I think the organization would much rather bump up Brassard to the top 6 than either of those guys.

I think that is false. That was the theory coming in, but, he has shown no chemistry with anyone but Crosby. If Sid or Geno is out, he won't be playing with Sid. He'll be playing with a bunch of other wingers who he has already shown to not work well with.

It's time to move on.....
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby KG on Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:37 pm

Bozak and Maroon from St Louis would be good gets and wouldn’t cost much at all.

Bozak for obvious reasons with Kessel. Maroon adds some grit and size which they might want more of come playoff time.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby Cow_Master66 on Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:42 pm

FLPensFan wrote:
Cow_Master66 wrote:He is also quite a decent safety net should one of the top 2 centers go down with an injury. While Blueger and Sheehan might be able to duplicate the #s Brass is putting up on the 3rd line, I think the organization would much rather bump up Brassard to the top 6 than either of those guys.

I think that is false. That was the theory coming in, but, he has shown no chemistry with anyone but Crosby. If Sid or Geno is out, he won't be playing with Sid. He'll be playing with a bunch of other wingers who he has already shown to not work well with.

It's time to move on.....


I don’t think they want to give him away for a 3rd round pick. If they did it probably would have happened already.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby brwi on Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:12 pm

One thing to remember is that Brassard has a MTC that has 8 teams that he can refuse to be traded to. When asked about invoking it last spring in Ottawa, he said he would play "anywhere" and he probably would like to get out of Pittsburgh and wouldn't hold up a deal, but always a possibility. He can go along with any trade and then decide on whichever team in the off season when he's UFA if he doesn't like his temporary destination.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby pens_CT on Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:13 pm

KG wrote:Bozak and Maroon from St Louis would be good gets and wouldn’t cost much at all.

Bozak for obvious reasons with Kessel. Maroon adds some grit and size which they might want more of come playoff time.


I'm not sure that Maroon would fit with Sullivan's style. The other issue is cap hit, the two of them combine for something 6.7 million, and if you move Brassard (3 million) for picks you still are 3.7 million in the hole cap hit wise. You need to move more salary off the roster in order to make something like this work.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby pens_CT on Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:18 pm

brwi wrote:One thing to remember is that Brassard has a MTC that has 8 teams that he can refuse to be traded to. When asked about invoking it last spring in Ottawa, he said he would play "anywhere" and he probably would like to get out of Pittsburgh and wouldn't hold up a deal, but always a possibility. He can go along with any trade and then decide on whichever team in the off season when he's UFA if he doesn't like his temporary destination.


I'd like to move him to Montreal for Phillip Danault. He's more the prototypical third line center who can PK, and isn't devoid of offense. Doubt Montreal would make such a move, unless something else was added.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby brwi on Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:34 pm

pens_CT wrote:
brwi wrote:One thing to remember is that Brassard has a MTC that has 8 teams that he can refuse to be traded to. When asked about invoking it last spring in Ottawa, he said he would play "anywhere" and he probably would like to get out of Pittsburgh and wouldn't hold up a deal, but always a possibility. He can go along with any trade and then decide on whichever team in the off season when he's UFA if he doesn't like his temporary destination.


I'd like to move him to Montreal for Phillip Danault. He's more the prototypical third line center who can PK, and isn't devoid of offense. Doubt Montreal would make such a move, unless something else was added.


That would be a good acquisition but MTL is in a better position this year than expected and might be tough to deal with. Same with the Isles and trying for Fippula...damn Isles are not tanking and making the playoffs is pretty important to their franchise health. They may not want to tinker with success.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby midd on Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:59 am

I must be the only one that thought 19 & 81 were starting to show some chemistry in the Hawks game. Sully needs to just let them play together a little longer. I think that third line is going to come together.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby Penspal on Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:42 am

Brassard just doesn't seem to fit the Pens style. A Pens 3/4 center has to have a little jam in his game which Brassard tries to create, but doesn't naturally have.

I like the thought of getting Bozak out of St Louis. He's played with Kessel before and is a known good fit.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:34 am

Penspal wrote:Brassard just doesn't seem to fit the Pens style. A Pens 3/4 center has to have a little jam in his game which Brassard tries to create, but doesn't naturally have.

I like the thought of getting Bozak out of St Louis. He's played with Kessel before and is a known good fit.

If the Penguins could figure out a way to get some other team to eat 1-2M of his cap space, it would be a great pickup. But, they can't afford to pay Bozak 5M next year and the year after without dumping a significant piece of salary.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby lemieuxReturns on Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:37 am

At the time I thought the Brassard trade was a good one. Boy has it been awful. Looking at what we gave up:

Ian Cole
Filip Gustavsson
1st round pick
3rd round pick

for

Brassard
Tobias Lindberg
Vincent Dunn
3rd round pick


By comparison, look at what the Penguins gave up for Phil Kessel:

Scott Harrington
Kasperi Kapanen
Nick Spaling
1st round pick
3rd round pick

for

Phil Kessel
Tyler Biggs
Tim Erixon
2nd round pick



Phill Kessel has played in all 288 games since he was aquired. He has amassed 268 points.
He has played in all 61 playoff games for the Pens and amassed 54 points.

Brassard has played in 47 games for the Penguins spanning last season and this season. He has missed 9 games this season. He has a total of 21 points.
He played in 12 playoff games for the Penguins last season and has a total of 4 points.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:10 am

lemieuxReturns wrote:At the time I thought the Brassard trade was a good one. Boy has it been awful. Looking at what we gave up:

Ian Cole
Filip Gustavsson
1st round pick
3rd round pick

for

Brassard
Tobias Lindberg
Vincent Dunn
3rd round pick


By comparison, look at what the Penguins gave up for Phil Kessel:

Scott Harrington
Kasperi Kapanen
Nick Spaling
1st round pick
3rd round pick

for

Phil Kessel
Tyler Biggs
Tim Erixon
2nd round pick

Looking at the deal from an asset standpoint, it really wasn't a horrible deal. Kessel is a level or two above Brassard in ability.
Ian Cole >>> Scott Harrington
Ryan Reaves >>> Nick Spaling
Kasperi Kapanen >>> Gustavsson

Biggs, Erixon, Lindberg, and Dunn....extras coming back to us, all pretty much washed out. Lindberg is still on the WBS roster but not doing much. Erixon was released, and signed back to WBS a year or two later.

I can't fault GMJR for making the trade. Everyone wanted it. Everyone thought it would work and was the move to put us over the top. Everyone was willing to give it a chance after injuries derailed it from working last year. We are finally seeing that, Brassard is just not fitting in well. There are flashes, but overall, his game just isn't working here and he has little sustained chemistry with anybody on the team. Nobody could predict that. Trades don't always work. They are just more under the microscope when it is the big ones that fail.

I am still of the standpoint that Brassard ship has sailed. It's time to move on. He hasn't shown me enough to say, yes, we definitely need to keep him. More worrisome, he doesn't really click with anyone. His line is showing some flashes of chemistry, but, what if the Penguins decided they need to switch lines up for whatever reason. Are we going to go through again waiting and hoping that Brassard can click with new linemates? He's show me enough that he doesn't work well with anybody but Crosby.

Marc Bergevin was quoted as saying that the current cost for rentals is a 1st round pick. If by some miracle, there are several teams wanting Brassard and you can get a 1st for him, I'd be all over that. I'm sure that price will go down closer to the deadline. Move Brassard for a 1st, move what you think would be the higher (probably Penguins) 1st round pick and something else to get you a different 3C that you actually think could work.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby lemieuxReturns on Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:32 am

Looking at the deal from an asset standpoint, it really wasn't a horrible deal. Kessel is a level or two above Brassard in ability.


It is weird how similar those trades were in structure. Both also had salary retained.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby Jim on Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:42 am

I look at a trade's value at the time of the trade only. Otherwise it is like the Dept of Player Safety waiting to hear about injury after a bad hit. Clean hits can cause injury. A hit is bad (and deserving discipline), or not, no matter the outcome. A trade is good, or not, no matter the outcome.
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Re: On Derrick Brassard

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:45 am

lemieuxReturns wrote:
Looking at the deal from an asset standpoint, it really wasn't a horrible deal. Kessel is a level or two above Brassard in ability.


It is weird how similar those trades were in structure. Both also had salary retained.

What that tells me is, if we were going to try and make a bigger move, lets say Brayden Schenn for example you'd probably have a structure maybe something like this:

Brassard
Oleksiak
Addison
1st round
3rd round

For

Schenn (salary retained, 1.125M)
Barbashev
2nd round pick
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