Derick Brassard is going to be a New York Ranger for the foreseeable future, as it was announced Sunday that he had signed a five-year, $25 million deal, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post:
Brassard, Rangers reach agreement on five-year, $25M contract in advance of tomorrow's scheduled arb hearing...— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) July 27, 2014
Friedman later tweeted that a deal was close but not yet finalized:
One note: Brassard deal not yet signed, but tomorrow's arbitration hearing is cancelled— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 27, 2014
What type of center is Brassard?
No matter the case, it appears a deal will be finalized shortly, and it will certainly impact the roster going forward.
This deal gives the Rangers' current No. 2 center a raise financially, but it is fair to say that expectations will rise as well. Brassard had a great year under the Rangers' newest bench boss, Alain Vigneault, and the expectation is that he can step up and fill the void left by Brad Richards on the ice.
The new deal ensures that Brassard could be a Ranger until age 31, but is it a deal that the Rangers should have made? Initially, there will be some who complain about it, but there is little reason to complain except for the fact that Derek Stepan will now have a reason to command more money next summer.
The Rangers did very well with this deal considering their lack of leverage, because if they didn't come to terms with Brassard, there was no one in the system who could fill his void. Brassard is a top-six center; he is still in his prime, and he's the Rangers' most efficient center on the power play.
Last season, he was second among centers on the team in power-play points per 60 minutes with 4.81 points, according to Extra Skater, and the departure of Richards should result in him getting some extra power-play minutes.
More minutes would equal more points if Brassard were to maintain his production rate, but there's a chance he could increase his production because of the established chemistry with Mats Zuccarello.
Throughout his entire career, Brassard has averaged 46 points a season. When you isolate his time in New York, Brassard's production increases to 49 points a season, or 0.60 points per game, while playing only 15:54 a game, according to Hockey-Reference.com.
How would you grade this deal?
As previously stated, the departure of Richards will give Brassard more opportunities, and that should be enough to ensure he tallies 50 points, 55 at the most.
The rate of $5 million is what most second-line centers who contribute 50 points are making. In a way, Sam Gagner's last deal that paid him $4.8 million a year set the table for Brassard's latest contract.
It may seem like a lot of money, but this deal involved the Rangers purchasing four years of Brassard's unrestricted eligibility. That tacks some extra dollars on to it, and when you factor that into the equation, you realize how good a deal this is for the Rangers.
The deal looks even better when you consider that it was signed during a time in which the salary cap is $69 million. Next season, the salary cap could increase to $74 million, speculates The Globe and Mail's James Mirtle (h/t NBC Chicago), and from there it could continue to escalate.
If Brassard maintains his production or even increases it just a bit, this deal is going to look even better in a larger salary-cap world where average salaries are increasing yearly. No matter how you look at it, this was a deal that had to be made.
Brassard is a talented offensive center who oozes creativity. Last season, he set a career high in goals (18), tallied 27 assists and finished with 45 points. It was a solid first full regular season as a Ranger, but he has also been one of the Blueshirts' top playoff performers in recent years.
During his tenure in New York, he has come through in the playoffs, and his 24 points in 35 playoff games is nothing to sneeze at.
Right now, the cap hit may appear to be big, but it will proportionally take up less space as the salary cap increases. Brassard has shown growth as a player during his time as a Ranger, and there is no reason to believe that he won't continue to be an effective player under Vigneault with Zuccarello on his wing.
Contracts can never be judged fully on the day the ink dries, but on the onset, this appears to be a favorable deal that will mutually benefit both parties going forward.