When the New York Rangers traded Marian Gaborik at the NHL trade deadline two players came back that could have been consisted cornerstone pieces of the deal: John Moore and Derick Brassard. Both players are former first-round picks and both come with tremendous upside.
Brassard is the real wildcard in this deal, simply because of the overwhelming offensive potential that flows within his veins. To this point with the Rangers, he's shown some of that. After a four-point night in his Broadway debut, Brassard has continued to show just how much of a force he can be.
He's been an asett on offense, the power play and also has a nice physical aspect to his game.
Right now Brassard has six points in six games (including three power play points), but I honestly believe his offense has been better than those numbers suggest. He's got some true vision, and soft enough hands to get the puck to where it has to go. That wasn't any more evident than his saucer pass to Dan Girardi for Saturday night's overtime winner against the Islanders.
Brassard gives the Rangers something they haven't had in a long time, strength down the middle. He can easily slot in any one of the Rangers top three center positions, and has been a huge part of the depth the Rangers have missed since last year.
The other part to Brassard's offensive output? He's been doing it without consistent line mates. He's also seen a significant amount of time with Brian Boyle. So the numbers he has put up have been pretty impressive.
He's looked really good with Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin (I think their speed helps) and he's done a really, really good job down low and in the tough areas of the ice. He has no issue crashing the net -- something the Rangers have a major issue with -- and he's good at screening the goaltender since he's such a big body.
The thing is, his entire career he's had trouble with consistency. His career numbers should be far better than they are. Maybe all he needed was a change of scenery. Maybe all he needed was to come to the bright lights of New York.
Remember that there were reports that Glen Sather asked Rick Nash about the players in Columbus before he made the trade. Nash spoke very highly of Brassard and probably spoke about the potential he had. Remember the two did play together with the Blue Jackets.
To this point he's done a remarkable job at helping make the Rangers a better hockey team.
Let's hope he keeps it up.
Consistency is the name of the game.