And then there was one.
The New York Rangers and Derick Brassard came to a five-year agreement Sunday, worth $5-million per year. The deal allowed the Rangers to avoid arbitration with all three of their arbitration-eligible RFAs; leaving just John Moore as the lone RFA yet to be signed. Moore is not arbitration-eligible, so his negotiations certainly got pushed to the back burner.
There seems to be a lot of mixed emotions about the deal, but almost everyone is happy to see Brassard back.
Here's the only real negative I can find about this contract extension: You'd love it to be $500K less today. The reality, however, is this deal is market value. It's also a little tougher to swallow today than it will be next year, when the cap goes up and this contract looks even better. And if Brassard can crack the 50-point mark (I think he can) and continues to be a dominant postseason player (which he has been) this is a really good deal for both sides.
I've seen some of the comparisons. Mikhail Grabovski did get $5-million a year -- he was also a package deal with Nikolai Kulemin -- which people are pointing to in order to prove Brassard is overpaid, but I really don't agree. Brassard is four years younger, has similar point totals and a wealth more playoff experience. Is Grabovski worth $5-million a year? Of course he is. But so is Brassard.
In terms of market value, this deal is cheaper than he could probably get on the open market. If Benoit Pouliot can get five years for $4-million per, Brassard can get more than $5-million during open season. The Rangers locking him up avoids anything like that from happening, of course.
If you take a look at the market this year, you'll see that's the case. Market value isn't what you think the player is worth or what you would like to see him sign for in New York, it's what the player would get on the open market, and Brassard is a $5-million player on the open market.
He is a very important player on this team and does have the potential to continue to grow. Even if he doesn't, the contract is fair, but it's another component to consider. This will be a big year for Brassard. With Brad Richards gone and (we're assuming) J.T. Miller taking his place, Brassard is going to have a bigger role especially early on. It will also be interesting to see who Alain Vigneault pairs with him and Zuccarello now that Pouliot is over in Edmonton.
I would also like to comment on the "third line player" stuff I've seen. None of that is going on here, mind you, since we all follow the team. But I do love when an outside voice talks about the Rangers re-signing their "third line center" in Brassard and then use that as leverage to talk about why the deal is horrible. That line might have been the third line on paper, but it was probably the first line in terms of consistency. You can't talk about Zuccarello playing a second line role and not throw Brassard in there, too. Again, this isn't happening here, just something I saw I wanted to comment on.
End of the day, there's two things to keep in mind with this deal. A) It is market value, like it or not. B) Brassard has been an important player for the team since he got here, and if he continues that trend it's a deal both sides will be happy with.