Jun
06

Is Derick Brassard the Rangers’ best trade chip?

June 6, 2016, by
derick brassard

Photo: Michael Ivins, USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the ball dropped that the Rangers are fielding offers on everyone not named Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich, or Henrik Lundqvist, the focus has been on trading names like Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, and Ryan McDonagh (Marc Staal/Dan Girardi notwithstanding). But when it comes to Stepan, very few bring up Derick Brassard, who may actually be the best chip for the Rangers.

When comparing Stepan to Brassard, most Rangers fans think this is either a toss up or lean Brassard. It’s a valid argument, as Brassard is putting up comparable offensive numbers to Stepan and is on a cheaper deal. With the Rangers crunched for cap space, trading Stepan seems like the way to lean if they decide to trade one of their top two centers.

But is that truly the smartest approach?

Brassard is signed to a very friendly deal, with three seasons left at a $5 million cap hit. Stepan, on the other hand, it signed for the next five seasons at a $6.5 million cap hit. For comparable stats, it seems to lean Brassard. However, Stepan is three years younger than Brassard at just 25 (26 when next season starts) years old. Brassard is 28 years old, 29 when next season starts. An argument can be made that Brassard has peaked, especially shooting at 15% last year, while Stepan has more years left in his peak years.

While many laud Stepan for his two-way game and ability to kill penalties, Brassard is not known for his penalty killing or defensive game, making him more of a one-way player. When looking at trading Stepan, the Rangers would also need to find a way to replace him on the penalty kill. As for Brassard, those who are more statistically inclined notice that Kevin Hayes could replace that production if given more minutes, Brassard’s linemates, and time on the powerplay.

The Rangers are actually blessed with center depth, something the league is very short on. I covered this last week, but here’s Stepan’s peripheral stats:

stepan hero

Without beating a dead horse, it’s clear Stepan is a 1C. But this isn’t about Stepan, this is about Brassard. When you look at his peripherals, you see that he doesn’t compare favorably to Stepan.

brass hero copy

Stepan makes his teammates better and drives more offense than Brassard. This isn’t to say Brassard is bad. He’s not. Not by a long shot. But in terms of more predictable production and making teammates better, Stepan has the edge. Couple that with the three year age gap, and all of a sudden Brassard looks like he could be the best trade chip. His value is at an all-time high, and he could theoretically require the same haul that Stepan would.

And isn’t that the whole point? To make the team better. If they can keep the better, younger, and more versatile of the two centers while still getting a comparable haul in a trade, isn’t that the route to take?

Return aside, part of this is seeing if Kevin Hayes, who seems to be in the dog house with the fans and coach, can be a viable replacement for Brassard. Hayes gets a lot of heat for no real reason other than “effort.” And yes, he had some gaffes and seems to be a bit doofy. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a good hockey player. Are fans really willing to give up on a 24 year old center, one year after anointing him the future of the club? It seems silly, especially when you look at his numbers.

hayes hero copy

I have to admit, even I was surprised by how good these numbers look. They look even better than Stepan’s. Of course, we need to factor in linemates, competition faced, and zone starts to this, but we aren’t looking to compare Hayes to Stepan, are we? To make it even clearer, let’s look at Hayes and Brassard, side by side.

hayes brass warrior copy

The key thing to note here is that we are seeing if Hayes can replace Brassard’s production in the same role. That role being offensive zone starts as a 2C. Looks like he can, doesn’t it? Hayes outproduces Brassard in every aspect of this chart with lesser linemates. Based on this, Hayes should theoretically be able to handle Brassard’s role and produce similar, if not better, results.

It’s also worth nothing that for all the issues folks have with Hayes and his backchecking, Brassard is the same way. You get some good backchecks, some bad ones, and mostly in between. When looking at the role you’d be asking Hayes to play –and that is a critical aspect of this discussion, the role on the team– it looks like he can take Brassard’s minutes and be just as productive. It certainly helps that Hayes is coming off his ELC, and will be pretty cheap and cost controlled.

So to sum this up, you have two comparable centers in Stepan and Brassard. Both are solid, but one is older, less versatile, and can seemingly be replaced by someone on the team who is significantly cheaper. It’s a tough sell for a lot of people that Hayes can be productive in that role, but his ineffectiveness is widely overblown.

The Rangers are in trouble with the cap, and need to make some savvy moves to stay competitive while retooling on the fly. What better way than to maximize return on Brassard while keeping two centers who are three and five years younger? Tough calls need to be made sometimes, but if the Rangers are looking to deal a center, Brassard is their best chip.

"Is Derick Brassard the Rangers' best trade chip?", 3 out of 5 based on 34 ratings.
Categories : Offseason

124 comments

  1. Justin says:

    Nice analysis, Dave. I’m a big Hayes fan, but I was still surprised the numbers looked that good.

    • Jon says:

      I don’t know what kind of return we could get for Brassard who I really like. If we could get a younger, cheaper, maybe even equally as productive center in exchange for him, I’d make the trade. Up front all the Rangers need to do is get younger and a bit more speed. Notably on the wings. That’s why I don’t like Hayes on the wing. I don’t think he’s fast enough. He’s a good skater for a big man but I’d rather have the fastest skaters on the outside. Without looking at contract details, I have always liked Mika Zibanajad. He’s a big, right handed center and has about equal offensive output to that of Brassard . He’s also about 6 years younger. While on Ottawa (who may be making personnel changes with new coach) I like Kyle Turris too. I think he would have a much better offensive season in NY than he did in Ottawa (13-17-30) last season.
      I also really like Mike Hoffman as a potential trade for Brassard. The Rangers would have to anti up some more with most salary going to Ott but if you’re in the belief that Hayes can take Brassard’s spot as top 6 pivot, then a scoring winger like Hoffman would only help. What are your thoughts???

    • bernmeister says:

      in addition to reducing salary cap pressure caused principally by Girardi and Staal overpayments, we need to be aggressive and proactive on the impact of expansion draft. Can only keep like 8 skaters (non-goalies).

      We MUST flip ALL older vets
      Brass AND Step AND Zuc AND Nash, etc
      try as much as possible to get younger assets/futures that will not need to be protected and are less $ salary pressure on cap

      we keep younger vets – Kreider ext. long term, Hayes, Miller, etc

      THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION

      • Dave says:

        Step is 25 years old.

      • Jon says:

        It’s all but a signed deal. The players with NMC/NTC in their contracts will not have to be protected. Teams are stuck with them.
        I was praying the Ranger would get lucky and have either one of them taken by one of the expansion teams. On a contender they’re both too slow and lack puck moving skills. For an expansion team both are top 4 D that play 75 games or more every season and could mentor their young players.
        I would love to add by subtracting in a sense but I wish the expansion draft were this summer instead of next or thereafter. Now would be a good time to leave guys like Nash, Staal, Girardi, and Glass unprotected.

  2. SalMerc says:

    Brass ardent is one of the few Rangers who shows emotion and the fans identify with that.

  3. joe K says:

    Your thoughts on Stepan are a lot different then mine. Stepan is soft, an disappears in big hard hitting games. Brassward is in the middle of the skirmishes. Stepan is always hurt another problem that effects the team. An He is way over paid for the same production we can get out of Brassard.

  4. Andy says:

    Only when we ignore actual results, like points, can we ever think that Stepan is a better player than Brassard. I call shenanigans.

    • Dave says:

      Did you look up the point totals before commenting?

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Dave, keep jabbing with stats. That’s it, kid. Jab!

        Now load up with metaphor. Fire off some allegory. Lay him out with synecdoche.

        Sixty seconds left in the round, kid. Rope-a-dope. Keep your legs moving. Don’t drop your hands. That’s it.

        What’s that Swarty? Dave didn’t major at debate…

        What? Senior fellow at Stanford University’s Arms Control and Disarmament Program?

        … Dual Expertise Fellowship in Post-Soviet Studies/International Security?

        … Fellowship at Harvard University…MIT?

        How much money we got on him, Swarty?

        • JoeS. says:

          THE absolute best post I have ever had the pleasure of reading here…..

          • Fotiu is God says:

            Grazie, JoeS.

            I saw young Dave being subjected to some rather opportunistic shots (further below).

            Like any 52-year old Italo-American father, I wanted the kid to come out swinging. To know Fotiu was in his corner; Swarty running the book-making op at the same time.

            Dave does exemplary work here, if not a great of it.

        • Dave says:

          Well done.

          • Fotiu is God says:

            That kinda’ sums up your presence, if not aegis here.

            Stick tap to you, David.

      • Andy says:

        Sorry, but I don’t see the love affair with Stepan. I see a smallish center who gets dominated, physically, is lousy at faceoffs, never shoots (and when he does, is high and wide) and is actually rather slow. Plus, he’s a big part of the inane “pass first” mentality that sinks this team.

        Please, entertain me with fancy stats all you’d like; Stepan still hasn’t won jack, and won’t as a New York Ranger. Take that to the bank.

      • Andy says:

        Oh, and yes, I did look at the points…Stepan had 22 goals and 53 points compared to Stepan’s 27 and 58.

        “B-b-but, he played fewer games!” In life, you’re judged not by what you’re projected to do, but by what you’ve actually done. AND, when you consider that Brassard had a heavier burden eating some of the ice time in Stepan’s absence, I’d wager that Brassard would have STILL outscored Stepan even if the latter played a full 82.

        • Dave says:

          So you imply that Brass’ stats are way better than Step’s, then bring in the 5 goal/point difference.

          Then you bring up the whole fewer games played thing, which only hurts your case.

          Then you predict that Step wouldn’t have hit 58 points in 82 games. Based on……rainbows and unicorns?

  5. Walt says:

    Brass is on a very team friendly contract, and is one of, if not, the only player (forwards) who elevates his game in the PO’s. The guy plays with emotion, and seems to enjoy his time out on the ice, laid back, but hussels like hell.

    Step has his role, more of an all around center, but seems to get hurt, and dislikes the physical stuff. Given a choice, I’d pick Brass as the guy I’d keep if it came between these two players.

    For the right return, I’d have to let either, or both go, but I’d try to protect Brass for as long as I could !!!!!!!!!

  6. AD says:

    I really appreciate this type of analyses because I’d like to get a better grip around some of the pros and cons relating to these stats. I’ve worked with different stats extensively in a different field, so I know enough to say the guide well but don’t capture all there is to know.

    So I find it interesting the stats seems to show Stepan is “better” than Brassard whereas in real life situations, by and large, that’s not what the coaching staff has decided to be the case.

    Putting that aside, to then use similar stats to make a case Hayes is comparable to Brassard is a stretch, at the very least. So, to me, there are clear flaws in what these certain stats are “guiding” readers to conclude.

    I noticed there was no reference that Stepan is poor on Face-Offs, whereas Brassard is our top centerman there; Hayes is abysmal.

    And, at the end of the day, for this discussion to be complete, even if one assumes Stepan is “better” than Brassard (I don’t), you have to add-in the production numbers of what the added $1.5mm in cap space gets the Rangers. Not to mention the value of 1yr less in contract term (which mitigates the very weak young v old argument embedded in this article).

    Finally, since the article brought it up on several occasions, as we discussed last week, to the extent Stepan is a 1C, he is 24th league ranked 1C. I think describing him that way more accurately portrays reality, whereas a “1C’ implies he is up there with most 1C centers in the league, which he is clearly not.

    Sell High / Buy Low.

    • AD says:

      Sorry, I forgot to answer the article question of whether Brassard is the Rangers best trade chip?

      He may be, but not for the stats reasons given in the article.

      He may be because he brings back more value. His contract is cheap; is not long-term but does not expire next year either; Brassard only has a modified NTC; not a full NTC; and I believe he is viewed as a “gamer” in the playoffs. In that sense, Brassard may be a great trade chip.

    • JoeS. says:

      Oh Snap!…I’m clearly in over my head

  7. SalMerc says:

    There is a fixation that Stepan is great center by the bloggers on this site, and they keep going out, finding stats to prove themselves right (yes we know not top 3). The fact remains that he plays soft, sat out in a contract dispute, and does not do well in the face-off circle. His contract, while not quite an albatross, is costly, and for a cash-strapped team, we need to acquire cap-flexibility where we can. How do you get that? You look at your most costly contracts. Those of Hank, Nash and Stepan. If Hank is off the table, then it is Nash and Stepan, If Nash is tough to trade, due to his declining performance and over-priced contract, it has to be Stepan. We don’t hate the man, it is just economics.

    • Walt says:

      Sal

      Love the last sentence, because whenever one comments negatively about a player, the simpletons call you a hater. Bottom line, Step can be traded, and really won’t be missed as much as Brass would be !!!!!!!!

    • Fotiu is God says:

      This is some rich skirmishing here. But I think lost in this roundhouse is the very local effect, or blowback of dealing Brassard.

      My occasionally sober reckoning places nearly all of our female BSB posters solidly in Brasses’ camp. Deal him, we lose The Fairer Sex wing within our community.

      I mean, who then does SalMerc flirt with?

      • Sally W. says:

        I’ve kind of given up liking individual players because everyone I have rooted for has gotten traded– Dubi, Artie, Cally and Hags. I kind of like JT, but I hate to put a jinx on the kid.

        • Fotiu is God says:

          Okay, Sally. Don’t ever, ever mention McIlrath in a post.

          You don’t want either the karmic debt, nor Bobby B.’s thudding knock at your virtual door.

          • BOBBY B says:

            Fotiu, thanks for the props, God Forbid Mcllrath is ever traded or just cut loose, the Ranger organization will feel his WRATH for the next decade.

  8. Gary says:

    Dave you just illustrated everything I have been thinking (less the stats ‘proof’) about why dealing Brassard is the best course. Excellent post.

    • Dave says:

      Thank you.

      It was something that I honestly hadn’t been thinking about until yesterday. Just kind of was an epiphany.

  9. pas44 says:

    Very Good Stuff!!!!

    Don’t trade either of these players! Thats me!

  10. Dave says:

    Of course, I should say that I don’t think the Rangers need to trade a center if they are willing to cut bait with severe anchors.

    • Other Dave says:

      I think this is where I am. If we’re looking to reshuffle versus rebuild, Brassard (and his deal at co-1C) should be key parts of that process. Nash is older, on a wing and with a bigger cap hit returning what I think would be a comparable/better package, so I get dealing him in a reshuffle. If part of that return is a young top 4 defenseman AND THE 5/18/(22) ISSUE IS TAKEN CARE OF, we can compete immediately as long as Henrik is alive and well.

  11. 43 says:

    Kevin Hayes’ surprisingly good-looking numbers prove how uninformative #fancystats can be. Hayes was downright pitiful through most of last season despite what the numbers suggest.

    • Dave says:

      Or just that you should ask what the stats show that you might be missing. The eye test is subject to extreme bias, we are all guilty of it.

      • 43 says:

        I think the fact that Hayes’ promising rookie season manifested in the following year to a doghouse role and some well deserved time in the press box says a lot more than a few acronyms and decimal points.

        • Dave says:

          Or just a sophomore slump, which I swear has never happened in the history of hockey.

          • 43 says:

            It’s official, Dave is a Kevin Hayes apologist.

            I’m not advocating for him to be gotten rid of or anything, I’m just saying he was awful despite what the #fancystats indicate.

            But I’m not quite sure what you’re point is. First you say maybe I’m wrong, and that Hayes, because the numbers say one thing, might have been pretty good last season. But then, you say he had a slump. So what was it, was Hayes good or did he have a bad year, Dave?

            Truth of the matter is Hayes sucked last year. He often looked uninvolved and serious lacked effort. If anything, his surprising numbers only show how good he actually could be if he works much harder.

            • Dave says:

              Sigh. You missed my point. I’m done here.

              My recommendation to you is that when you disagree with something, don’t dismiss it as incorrect. Perhaps you are the one who is incorrect.

              Do I think Hayes had a great season? No. Do I think his struggles are largely overblown by a lazy narrative? Yes.

              • 43 says:

                Dave, tell me what was your point you claim to have made?

                Automatic gainsaying isn’t a point, nor does it prove that the negative opinions Kevin Hayes lackluster season are invalid.

              • Chris A says:

                Only lazy players come back from nearly having their leg amputated in college, don’t you know that Dave!

              • Fotiu is God says:

                Dig in, kid. Breathe deep. Want the sponge?

                Here, take the smelling salts. How’re your gloves? Tight enough?…

                Okay, f**k Marquis of Londonderry or Burberry… this next round, hit him low, Dave.

                I don’t care about penalty points. Hurt the…

            • Other Dave says:

              Fancy stats totally ignored, 349 forwards skated 500+ minutes last year. Hayes was 83rd in points per 60. That’s “actually really good”. But because he was elite (19th out of 361) the previous year and we know everyone must improve on their best self to avoid sucking, he sucked.

              (I assume we agree JT Miller had a great season last year. He ranked 75th. No fancy stats, just points.)

            • paulronty says:

              Never mind the thumbs down, you were watching the same thing I was watching & you are correct in your assessment.

              • Fotiu is God says:

                Tell you what, Paul: that was a spirited to ‘n fro.

                Me, I dig it when Dave digs in.

                Hell, I’m 120-miles east of Los Angeles and I’m feeling him.

      • Stef says:

        Well, That question goes the other way too I think. Numbers are also bused in the manner they are measured. Numbers need context to have meaning. And the interesting question for me in this debate is: how is it logical that the eye-test and numbers do not seem to match?

    • paulronty says:

      Couldn’t agree more with you & Disraeli. Stats, schmats, it was clear that Hayes was just not involved in the game for long stretches. Given his play in year one, this was a shocking regression. There were many times where he looked like he just didn’t care, the problem is not his skills, it was a psychological problem whose roots are unknown.

  12. agentsmith says:

    Unless you are planning on signing Stamkos I wouldn’t move brassard. I mean you need someone capable on the pp. Someone as in one person, that’s all I’m asking.

    • Dave says:

      This is a bit of an aside, but the one person that is capable on the PP is the one person they are letting walk.

      • wwpd says:

        Not to name any names but the NYR organization has a proud tradition of mismanaging its defensive corps. Even when they finally staked us to a great D lineup a few years ago for the first time in decades, immediately went and screwed it up with several years of bad contracts and personnel decisions. So yes.

      • Other Dave says:

        Brassard was just a tick below in production and paced the team in 5v4 goal scoring.

  13. amy says:

    after the world championships that derrick had you would think of trading him I know he didn’t have a good playoff but don’t trade him

  14. Hatrick Swayze says:

    For the life of me, I can’t understand the Brassard/Stepan divide.

    In short, I couldn’t agree with the assessment here more. Very well done, Dave.

    • SalMerc says:

      Muah Muah

    • paulronty says:

      Do you ever disagree with Dave, Hatrick?

      • Dave says:

        Yes, quite often actually. People just don’t notice it because it’s done constructively with facts, without the need for hyperbole.

      • SalMerc says:

        Nope

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Not sure, I’m not keeping a tally.

        • Fotiu is God says:

          You kidding, Hatrick!

          It’s as if Swarty spiked everyone’s kombucha.

          This is some of the best Theatre Absurdia sparring I’ve seen since watching two heavyset 60ish women brawl trying to get on the bus to City Island last winter.

          (Likely a holdover from their day at Bingo in Coop City.)

          • Hatrick Swayze says:

            FiG, I must admit. I’m often lost in the details of your analogous and esoteric responses.

            But don’t be fooled, I enjoy reading irregardless of my comprehension. Although comprehension certainly does increase enjoyment.

            I take it you aren’t impressed with the passive aggressive exchange between Mr Ronty and myself? Neither do I. I just wasn’t sure how else to respond to such an absurd question. Sarcasm seemed appropriate.

            That said, call me to wing next time. Heavyset and 60s is right in my wheelhouse.

            • Fotiu is God says:

              God bless, Hatrick. Absolutely, color me the transrational outlier.

              Now indulge this fellow puck head.

              Imagine the BSB forum-community as The Russian Romanov Dynasty: ever convulsed by fiery intriguing, jealousy, pathos. Yet no one heeding the impending catastrophe.

              To that analogy I play the role of Rasputin. Demonic. Dissolute. A scandalous visionary who got The Tsarina by manipulating her foot fetish.

              Yea.

              Okay, back to you and Paul throwing bombs…

              • paulronty says:

                Bombs?? More like firecrackers. When it comes to women Fotiu, I see you know where the erogenous zones are, at least.

            • SalMerc says:

              That’s my seat, I always sit in the front of the bus, you know I get car sick.

              You get car sick because you don’t leave the buffet.

              I am gonna make your teeth into a buffet in a minute you old biddy.

              Your gonna die tryin’

              Pass the duchie to the left hand side!

              • Fotiu is God says:

                Sal, should we ever have an awards ceremony I’m nominating that post.

                Bravi!

                I mean, it was as gonzo-heroic as climbing Everest sans sherpas for you to top your ‘shrooms-over-steak post.

                But, man, you nailed it.

  15. Chris Summers says:

    Can I make point here….. Why trade either?
    We have two defenseman (Staal and Girardi ) that need to go, and can be easily replaced by resigning Yandle, and playing Skjei and McIlrath.
    Stalberg can go, Moore is gone, and get rid of Glass, replaced by Buch, Lindberg, Nieves or Hrivek….
    Every NHL team functions this way, except NYR….. Like we have to blow up the whole team (?).
    Trade Staal to Edmonton for a draft pick or prospect and send Girardi wherever.
    Maybe sign a Jiri Hudler type for depth scoring….
    No reason to blow up this core imo

    • Dave says:

      That’s the elephant in the room. None of this needs to happen if they recognize that 5/15/18 are the anchors.

      • SalMerc says:

        Because YOU PROBABLY CAN”T TRADE STALL & GIRARDI.
        They have little value. You think Gorton isn’t trying? C’mon!

        • Dave says:

          Addition by subtraction. Just getting the cap space is the win.

        • Chris Summers says:

          Anybody can be traded…… Staal could help a young D corps like Edmonton…. Girardi is a tough sell, agreed, but if we eat a little salary, expect a minimal return, he can be moved

      • RANGERS_UNDERSCORE says:

        They must blow up the team because they selected the the coach as not the problem. The problem is everyone except Tanner Glass. You don’t hear his name mentioned.

        • Chris Summers says:

          Glass has to go down as one of the worst and uneccesary signings of all time…. Right up there with Patrick Rissmiller, Skrudland and Keane and Scott Gomez

        • pas44 says:

          You don’t here his name, because he is known officially known as a ANCHOR…

          come on man, Pass the Dutchie!!!

        • Dave says:

          Personally, I think Glass should replace Ulfie as assistant coach.

    • BOBBY B says:

      Chris Summers has game, good moves all the way around, Lets see Gorton show some Ba**s and shake things up, the last thing I want to experience is just stand pat on what we got. I do not want to wait until the last week of the season to sneak into the playoffs only to get annihilated in the 1st round!!

  16. DangleSnipeCelly says:

    Where do we stand on trading Brassard, a prospect, and mortgaging future draft picks for Evgeni Malkin (a center and a winger)?

    Push hard on Vesey. Sign Gagner.

    Buy out Girardi and Staal. Re-sign Yandle.

    Sign Gryba.

    These are not lines – they are just to make it clear what pieces you have.
    All-Star Tier 1: Malkin, Nash, Zuccarello
    Tier 2: Stepan, Kreider, Buchnevich
    Young, cost-efficient Tier 3: Hayes, Miller, Vesey
    Depth forwards: Lindberg, Fast, Gagner, Jensen

    All-Star Tier 1: McDonagh, Yandle
    Proven Top 4, Tier 2: Klein, Gryba
    Young, cost-efficient Tier 3: McIlrath, Skjei

    Yes, this all fits under the cap. With wiggle room.

    • Chris Summers says:

      I don’t think Pitt would move Malkin, but everything else, especially Vessey would be a cherry on top

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Jim Vesey’s Pop is a Maple Leaf scout. Thus the kid’s either in ‘Tranna, joining Auston Matthews and Stamkos come 2K17; or he’s staying home with Boston.

    • Dave says:

      Why would the Pens trade Malkin in the division?

      • Ray says:

        I agree that the sentiment you express is real and probably does influence general managers. But I think that is just wrong-headed on their part. In a trade, you should improve the team as much as possible and not worry about who you are helping. To take less in a trade to avoid helping the Rangers (only to help Boston or LA to win the Cup) is not the way to build the best team possible.

      • DangleSnipeCelly says:

        I do see the issue with that. The reasons that they might would be:

        Malkin has been reported to say he’d like to play for NY one day. This means NY may be one of the only clubs he would waive his NMC for. If they were going to send him somewhere, they don’t have a lot of options.

        Pittsburgh doesn’t need him as much as the once did anymore. They could unload salary and take on a more fitting salary in Brassard’s. They seem to play well without 71 under Sullivan anyway.

        They would also clean a division rival out of draft picks/prospects, showing some incentive.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Never, David.

        Inasmuch, I could see him moved Out West: Edmonton, for one, has the prospects.

    • paulronty says:

      Gryba??????? Puh–leeze, did you have to pick a guy that sucks so bad it’s laughable!!!!

      • DangleSnipeCelly says:

        Gryba is definitely not the most skilled..and personally, I’m not his biggest fan. However, all things considered (including the employees running the team, remember it’s not me or you), I think Gryba makes sense.

        Gryba is a right-handed D-Man and the Rangers have stuck to the 3 LH and 3 RH model for a few years now under Vigneault. I don’t believe it will change if they can help it.

        Gryba is affordable and the Rangers do not need to give up any assets to acquire him. This is extremely important for the Rangers. To get some other attractive names, it will cost big money or a trading a valuable roster player or draft pick, and my idea is already mortgaging the immediate future.

        If the Rangers are going to finally remove Tanner Glass from the roster, Vigneault will need to be convinced. He feels comfort in sending out a “tough guy”. Well, here’s one; one that is not a liability to his teammates. Unlike Glass, Gryba will not hinder who he is on the ice with, nor will he feel pressure to contribute offensively.

        So while Gryba is not the best guy out there, he’s an affordable option that can bond well with the players on the team, will not be a liability, and provide the organization and coaching staff with comfort that their skill players will be protected.

        • paulronty says:

          OK, Gryba moves up to Glass’ spot & takes over nicest guy on the team who does shite role. I get it!

  17. RangerMom says:

    I endorse this post. Nice work, Dave.

  18. rich says:

    sometimes I wonder if half the people commenting on this post watch the games…..
    Forget the stats…Stepan is slow, never hits, cant win faceoffs ,is always hurt, has no shot……
    Brassard is simply a better player…….
    Hayes had a terrible year, I dont care what the stats say!!!
    Never trade or release-Miller-kreider-zucc-stallberg-mcdonagh-they all play hard, play with passion, HIT…….
    We should have never traded or released Dubi, anisimov, strallman, hagelin, stempniak, duclair……….I didnt need to see stats to know!!!!!

    • Other Dave says:

      “is always hurt”

      Stepan has played 434 of 458 career games.

      “sometimes I wonder if half the people commenting on this post watch the games”

    • pas44 says:

      I agree and would like to see passion, but Steph plays with passion, heart, just skilled and not always tossing his body around. He plays with passion… so Crosby plays with no passion?

  19. Ray says:

    I apologize for having no idea how to read these charts. However, if what they are saying is that Hayes makes his linemates better while Brassard does not, please note that this is not a fair fight. Brass is a top six center and Hayes was a bottom six guy. For linemates, playing with Hayes meant more OZ starts, the weakest opposition, and getting away from the heavy DZ starts of the fourth line and Dom Moore (Glass too). For Brass linemates, it often meant not playing with Stepan.

    That said, I agree with your main premise — that trading Brass is as reasonable or more reasonable than trading Step. The very fact that Brass has a more favorable contract means that he has higher trade value. The bottom line though is what can you get for each player and how will it improve the team.

    Personal suspicion: the Rangers have at least one player with far higher trade value than any here suspect and at least one player with far lower trade value than any here suspect.

    • Dave says:

      The HERO charts plot how the player performs compared to the rest of the league. This is broken into tiers, with the top quarter producing as top line “1L” players. This is broken down to 2L, 3L, and 4L as well. Naturally, the more you see a player in the “1L” sections, the better. The top part of the chart shows how his teammates play with/without him. If the blue circle is on the right of the orange circle, then he positively impacts his teammates.

      The WARRIOR chart is a side by side comparison of two players, using the same 1L/2L/3L/4L breakdowns described. Same concepts apply here.

  20. paulronty says:

    If you are going to trade one of Step or Brass, my vote is for Step because he is being paid way too much. It’s the Cap saving that would be the deciding factor. But then again, it all depends what you would recoup in a trade for either. Neither one is indispensable & the Rangers really need an upgrade at Centre, no doubt in my mind. The false consensus bias is that the forwards were fine & the D was awful but this is not even close to the truth. The forwards this year were by and large defensive miscreants and rarely could they sustain pressure in the offensive zone. The D was bad because the entire team was bad defensively & if not for stretches of brilliance by Hank, would not have even been in the playoffs. All this talk of buying out Girardi and?or Staal is pure nonsense. Sure the D could play better & maybe with a new coach & a system that fits them, we’ll see improvement. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

    • Peter says:

      Without a doubt Paul, the forwards were terrible defensively last season and they left the Dmen and Hank to fend for themselves. Hank was too often lonelier than the Maytag repair man.

      That being said, Girardi and Staal are definitely not what they were. While a long summer off may do them good and a coaching change and different approach may help too, I don’t expect them to be significantly better. In my opinion, those that believe either one is tradable are kidding themselves in view of their declining skills and large, long term contracts. Buying them out doesn’t give the Rangers much cap relief either. So, I think we can expect both men on the ice for significant minutes again this season.

      • paulronty says:

        Agree. We’ll wait & see & if Gorton can trade at least one, everybody will be happy, but it isn’t going to happen unless the have a strong desire to play elsewhere, & maybe they will come to that point, or maybe they are secretly happy that Ulfie is fine-a in Carolina.

  21. Peter says:

    Derrick is a nice player without a doubt. He had a good regular season last year, 27 goals, 31 assists, was +12 overall and won about 50% of his face offs. Like the rest of the Rangers’ forwards, he didn’t have a particularly good series against the Pens. Because he is relatively cheap, is productive and is not old, if the Rangers’ intend to merely retool a bit instead of revamping, I don’t think he is a player you move too readily unless someone offers you an exceptional deal.

    On the other hand, if they are going to try to overhaul the team significantly, then he is someone who is liable to bring good prospects and picks in return. I don’t see many teams trading a star straight up for him, so I think his trade value in a retooling effort isn’t great. But if you want young players, he should bring good ones in return. Because I believe that the Rangers need a thorough revamping and need to focus on youth, that is the way I would go. Derrick is at his peak about now and neither his trade value or his performance on the ice are liable to get any better.

    If you are looking to revamp then he could be a very valuable chip. If you are more or less standing pat, then he is probably someone you keep.

  22. SalMerc says:

    You can’t retool, get way under the Cap, get more draft picks and keep all your assets at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way. Since we are near or at the Cap ceiling, we need to keep or obtain high value players (high output at below pay scale) and offload some high-end salary guys. Not a lot of magic to it. We do not have a multitude of draft picks in the upper rounds to entice teams to take our older, under-performing players (Girardi and a second-rounder for your 5th rounder). It isn’t happening. We may indeed have to move a good asset (Stepan/Brassard/Kreider/Nash/etc) and get multiple younger players with potential back. All but 2 or 3 guys are trade-able – deal with it.

  23. mm says:

    a m e n. being preaching it forever. the biggest difference. Brassard is tge better shooter, Stepan better playmaker. also Stepan is a righty. Brassards value will never be greater.

  24. Egelstein says:

    RE: Hayes – “…seems to be a bit doofy.” THANK YOU, DAVE!!! I honestly think this is a huge reason Hayes gets so much heat from the “eye test only” segment of the fan base especially. His facial expressions generally range from somewhere between “DERP!” on the low end, to as high as “not quite awake yet”. He doesn’t make faces that look like he is working hard; not a lot of grimacing, not a lot of of visible strain. His skating stride is also long, he doesn’t move his arms a ton compared to many skaters, and he doesn’t get up to speed in a choppy manner, all of which perhaps makes it look like he isn’t trying that hard to get up to speed or isn’t accelerating adequately, when that is not at all the case. He’s not the most tangibly defensive forward out there to say the least, but then again I don’t know who thought that he ever was expected to be. I think in part solely because he’s big, the the fans who skew towards eye test just expect that defensive and physicality aspect to be a bigger part of his game than it is. He’s an offensive forward with a top 6 skill set, and always has been.

    And we certainly can all agree AV and Co. don’t seem to know their way around a HERO or WARRIOR chart, based on several of the lineup decisions they have made the past few seasons, to note.

    As for Brass vs. Step, I personally would not feel a pressing need to move either of them this off-season unless it made the team obviously better right now. I won’t say I’d necessarily need to be “blown away”, but I definitely would want proven assets in return. What I can say is, for me as GM, it would come down to one thing and one thing only: which offer do I have in hand that commands the best return for the current state of this roster? That’s something we as fans will never know, of course. Taking return out of the equation, gun to my head, I probably would look to trade Brass first, all things considered. Tough call though, all in all.

    As for Hayes as 2C, the main concern I’d have – which was voiced above by others as well – dude is just complete bullocks on FOs. That’s by far the biggest problem I see with Hayes at C overall on any line. Since I never played and certainly haven’t coached hockey, I will admit, I have no idea how teach-able that is.

    • SalMerc says:

      Plus Hayes does not back-check. At least Stepan plays some defense.

    • paulronty says:

      Like I’ve said before, the “eye test” is an apocryphal construction. The eye gives us perception, but it’s the brain that takes that perception & gives it meaning, so it’s really the “brain test.” That is why two different or nine different people can watch the same game & see something entirely different.

      • Walt says:

        Interesting stuff, that explains why when we sit for a game, I’d comment on something, and someone else didn’t see it, while I questioned their vision ???????????

      • Egelstein says:

        I certainly wouldn’t argue that terminology PR! But I generally use the common term “eye test” to represent, let’s say, “opinions that are determined without statistical basis or justification”. I personally am like 70% stats to 30% what I perceive while watching a game, if not 80/20 even. I’m the type of fan who can watch a game and say immediately afterward “The Rangers were hitting like crazy tonight.” …but then I go check the box score and it shows just 12 hits and I completely throw out my previous perceptions…because if they only registered 12 hits, then I was wrong. Stats > perception to me, by a long shot. But hey, to each their own!

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Huh. No wonder I’m so often mistaken for Denzel Washington.

  25. JoeS. says:

    Dave, I have to say, that is the most clear, accurate, and concise argument that I have ever seen you make. Be clear, I love what you write, you are my go to guy on the site. Trade Brassard, keep Step!

  26. Richter1994 says:

    The NHL is about value because of the cap. The most valued players on the team? Meaning contract vs production are: Brass, Zuc, and McD.

    Brass is the leading playoff scorer for the Rangers since he got here. 60 pts for $5M per is value also.

    This may lead to Brass being the most valuable trade chip but that doesn’t mean that it would be better to trade him than keep him. They should keep him and look elsewhere to get under the cap.

  27. Rick Kapossy says:

    We really need to focus on signing Stamkos! Then the best move is trading Stepan . Stop talking about what we can get in a trade. The real return is getting a top player in his prime. Must move Nash 1st.

  28. amy says:

    stamkos is going to stay in Tampa you do not trade someone who got you 27 goals yes he had a bad playoff yes but everybody did don’t trade him