Thursday, March 7, 2019

Derick Brassard Jersey Card

It hasn't been a fun couple of years for Derick Brassard.

The 6th overall pick of the 2006 NHL draft, he was a building block of the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2007 until 2013, when the New York Rangers made the Jackets an offer they couldn't refuse, essentially offering a just-past-his-prime Marian Gaborik for the young, emerging center, with secondary assets going each way as well.

In New York, Brassard became, essentially, a 60-point 1-B center, making the Blueshirts one of the best teams in the league down the middle, with Derek Stepan on equal footing and Kevin Hayes just behind them. Brassard was a key cog in the Rangers reaching consecutive Conference Finals in 2014 and 2015 (one of them a Stanley Cup Final, actually).

It was this type of production the Ottawa Senators were aiming to receive when they traded for him, sending the younger Mika Zibanejad to Manhattan before the 2016-17; he may have only had 39 points in 81 games that year in Guy Boucher's defensive system, but that still got the Sens to the second overtime period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. In a way, the got exactly what they wanted from a hometown kid.

And then the proverbial shit hit the fan and everything unraveled, with GM Pierre Dorion opting to dismantle the team as it started getting eaten away from the inside through odd stories involving Mike Hoffman's girlfriend versus Erik Karlsson's wife, and Matt Duchene sowing the seeds of discord as he is wont to do (remember Ubergate?).

In that dismantling, Brassard was sent to the Vegas Golden Knights for a third-round pick, who themselves flipped him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Ryan Reaves and a fourth-rounder. The Pens were gearing for a third consecutive Cup run and figured Brassard, in a #3C spot, would be the best third-liner in the league; they also had the depth to pair him with the likes of Phil Kessel, Jake Guentzel, Connor Sheary, Bryan Rust or any other past home-run AHL call-up... except the Pens' luck had run out. All of their guesses in previous seasons had panned out, but their smart-money moves were now busts.

Less than a calendar year later, he was shipped to the Florida Panthers with a plethora of draft picks for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann. Twenty-four days after that, the Panthers flipped him to the Colorado Avalanche, for a third-rounder.

I was big on him when the Sens acquired him, so I thought it'd be fitting to feature him wearing Ottawa's red jersey (with matching swatch) on card #GJ-BR from Upper Deck's 2017-18 Series 1 set and UD Game Jersey sub-set:
The swatch is actually very bright to the naked eye, the scan doesn't do it justice.

He'll be a UFA this summer; I doubt he gets a long-term deal despite being just 31 years old - and I'm not sure he gets anywhere near the $5M cap hit he had for the last five years, either.

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