Editorials

New York Islanders Derick Brassard Contract Shows He’s No Guarantee

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: Derick Brassard #19 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his third period game tying goal against the New York Islanders at NYCB Live at the Nassau Coliseum on December 10, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. The Penguins defeated the Islanders 2-1 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: Derick Brassard #19 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his third period game tying goal against the New York Islanders at NYCB Live at the Nassau Coliseum on December 10, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. The Penguins defeated the Islanders 2-1 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The New York Islanders added some depth at center by signing Derick Brassard to a $1.2 million single-year deal. But he’s still not guaranteed a spot.

By signing free-agent center Derick Brassard to a single-year $1.2 million deal, the New York Islanders brought in an NHL veteran that’s can give the team some decent offensive production and can play well on both sides of the puck.

He’s the exact type of player that Lou Lamoriello likes to bring in and the exact type of player that head coach Barry Trotz likes to work with.

But who knows if Derick Brassard

will

provide decent offensive production or if he

will

play well on both sides of the puck. His deal is still very much a prove-it deal. There’s no guarantee that Brassard

will

be the automatic third-line center for the New York Islanders.

Maybe. Maybe Not.

I don’t want to fall in the same Jan Kovar-like trap I did just a season ago. Just over a year ago, the Islanders signed the KHL star to a single year deal, and I was convinced the Islanders did that to make him their second-line center.

I was dead wrong. Jan Kovar never saw the NHL and was soon back in Europe.

Of course, Derick Brassard isn’t Jan Kovar. Brassard has played in the NHL for 12 seasons putting up 451 points in 786 games. Derick Brassard can play in the NHL. Or at least he used to be able to.

In 70 games across three teams in 2018-19 Brassard scored 23 points. It was an awful year for Brassard. It’s why he was still available on August 21st for the New York Islanders. And at 31 years old, going on 32 this September Brassard’s better days are technically behind him.

He could certainly bounce back and return to that 46 point form from the 2017-18 season, but what we witnessed last year might be a new normal for Brassard.

Not Alone

Last Thursday, Lou Lamoriello had said that at least five of the Islanders current players would be trying out for a spot down the middle.

"Beauvillier, who played center in junior hockey but has played almost exclusively on the wing as a pro, is among the potential replacements for Filppula. Lamoriello also included Tanner Fritz, Otto Koivula and college signings Mason Jobst and Bobo Carpenter as those who could compete for the role."

He didn’t all of a sudden decide neither of these five players would be good enough to try out for the role. Derick Brassard will also try out for the role.

Brassard, with his NHL pedigree, certainly has the best chance at being the team’s third-line center on opening night. But there is no guarantee. If Brassard just isn’t up to it anymore the New York Islanders haven’t committed themselves to the center with a long-term deal or some sort of trade protection. They can move on from the veteran.

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Signing Derick Brassard to a single-year $1.2 million deal was some incredible business by the New York Islanders if it turns out Brassard can still play. If not the Islanders can still easily move on from him.

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