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Posts tagged: Derick Brassard

Brassard in for Game Three?

Per Pat Leonard, coach Alain Vigneault was a bit coy this morning when addressing Derick Brassard’s injury. When asked, AV said, “If I were a betting man.” That’s it. So, let’s assume he’s in for Game Three, which is great news for the Rangers.

Gross: Brassard not taking line rushes

Per Andrew Gross, injured center Derick Brassard was on the ice for practice, but was not taking line rushes. Dominic Moore resumed his role as third line center with Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello. Brian Boyle was between Dan Carcillo and Derek Dorsett.

Has Derick Brassard done enough to return next season?

Brassard needs to be more consistent if he's to be a long term Ranger Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Brassard needs to be more consistent if he’s to be a long term Ranger Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Derick Brassard has a ton of ability and has flashed it countless times as a Ranger. Along with Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot he was part of the Rangers’ most consistent line all season, however was Brassard individually consistent enough to warrant being brought back next year?

Brassard came in from Columbus last year and was an impact player for the Rangers. Brassard was one of the few Rangers who distinguished themselves in the playoffs last season, but this year has been different as Brassard has been underwhelming in the playoffs following a streaky regular season.

Two big questions surround Brassard’s future in New York. How much of his (limited) success was a result of Mats Zuccarello’s breakout year and how much will Brassard demand to stay with the Rangers? Both questions aren’t easy to answer. The chemistry that Brassard showed with Zuccarello and Pouliot isn’t easy to measure or replicate. Secondly, given the weak free agent class this summer Brassard could make more money on the open market, if he gets there. Brassard was the fourth highest paid Ranger forward this year as he made $3.2m in salary during 2013-14.

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If only the New York Rangers had a powerplay

Richards who has been strong so far, has 2 points on the powerplay. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Note: Goal breakdown will be up this afternoon. Sorry about the delay.

The Rangers won in impressive style in Pittsburgh on Friday night. Impressive because they were hard on the puck, they were opportunistic but most importantly when they lost their lead, they didn’t panic and worked their way back in to a solid position. They handled – at least for game one – the surges that eventually came from Pittsburgh over the final two periods. The Rangers were around Fleury all night which resulted in the game winning goal but which also begs the question; why can’t the powerplay convert?

We’ve mentioned it before but Benoit Pouliot (surely the recipient of a shiny new deal from the Rangers this summer) goes hard to the net and he gets rewarded. The Rangers best line of Zuccarello – Brassard – Pouliot are consistently a creative force and something that is missing from the powerplay, their line is always moving, always busy and always looking for the puck. The fact is, game one of this series would have been won well before overtime had the Rangers managed to convert on the powerplay. The talent is there, the execution isn’t.

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The Musings: A rivalry renewed

RMcD = MVP?  Photo Credit: LoHud

RMcD = MVP? Photo Credit: LoHud

Today is the day a rivalry gets renewed. The Rangers entertain the Flyers tonight in a much anticipated series. Let’s throw a few musings up.

The series against the Flyers represents a no-win situation for the Rangers. In all honesty, there is not a huge amount separating the two teams but yet everyone expects the Rangers to win. The Flyers have a ton of talent but are very flawed. That said, it wouldn’t be the greatest of shocks if they beat the Rangers but it would cause serious fall-out in New York.

Is there a single Ranger forward you wouldn’t swap for Claude Giroux?

Beyond the obvious (Hank, McD, Nash), who holds they key to the second round for the Rangers? Mats Zuccarello. He has been the Rangers best powerplay forward all year and you have to assume the Flyers will take more penalties than the Rangers. If the Rangers can stay out of the box and Zuccarello can work some PP magic that may be the decisive factor.

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The curious case of Derick Brassard

Does Brassard's future lie in New York?

Does Brassard’s future lie in New York?

With the Rangers roster facing significant change in the near future, one player’s situation that is a difficult one to predict is Derick Brassard’s. A player of immense natural ability, Brassard started his New York career in brilliant style as a game changing, point per game force last season. His performance left players such as Rick Nash in his shadow during the playoffs.

This season however has been a different story. As he was in Columbus, Brassard has been (until recently) maddeningly inconsistent. His game has been littered with defensive mistakes, careless passing that reminded many of Brad Richards last season, and several times Brassard simply went missing from games. Then there’s the other side of Brassard’s game that excites so many.

Brassard is a great playmaker, with soft hands and vision not often matched by his teammates. In fact, apart from Richards (surely a goner after this season) only Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan have the same level of vision as Brassard. It’s his offensive skills that the Rangers sorely need; especially with a general lack of top end skill on the roster.

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Free agency is still months away, but the Rangers will have some tough decisions to make

Ryan Callahan’s injury woes are concerning, but New York will still likely do everything it can to keep its captain

Quick note: Dave was at the game last night, so the goal breakdown will be done for the afternoon post.

The Rangers’ season is quickly spiraling out of control and it’s probably a matter of time before GM Glen Sather steps in and makes a major shakeup.  But with so many pending free agents and so many players underperforming, it’s a certainty that the 2014-2015 version of the Blueshirts will look drastically different than the edition that stunk up the joint last night against Nashville.  So let’s take a look at New York’s upcoming free agents and see who might still be around next year, and who could be gone.

Ryan Callahan - Yet another injury has clouded this situation.  A few months ago it would have been unthinkable to imagine life without Callahan, but his health is becoming increasingly concerning.  New York’s doctors will have to evaluate Callahan’s physical condition, but assuming he’s in one piece, I still expect the Rangers to do everything they can to lock up their captain long-term.  Some of the beat writers think Callahan would be very tempted to join the Sabres next summer to move closer to home, but though I’m sure Callahan loves Rochester, New York City isn’t all that far away and I can’t imagine Callahan joining a rebuilding team.  If things really fall apart for the Blueshirts and there’s not much progress in negotiations, I could see Callahan being tempted by a contender.  But it’s still most likely the Rangers will retain their captain, albeit at a very steep price.  Remember, the Rangers paid RFAs Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle and Michael Sauer over Callahan in 2011 and gave him a lesser deal due to the resulting cap crunch.  No. 24 swallowed that bitter pill then, but it’s unlikely New York will be getting a hometown discount this time around.

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Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Brassard needs to show more, if he's to remain a Ranger

Brassard needs to show more, if he’s to remain a Ranger

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you all have a great day and weekend. In the mean time, a couple thoughts on the Rangers as they head in to the weekend and toward a big double header.

Offensive Alternative?

If Taylor Pyatt continues to struggle once he’s back up to speed and Benoit Pouliot continues to be consistently inconsistent when does Alain Vigneault look for alternatives to help his frustrating offense? Wednesday night saw Danny Kristo add another goal to his tally in the AHL.

With 10 goals in 19 games for the WolfPack Kristo is on pace to flirt with 40 goals in his rookie year as a pro. While showing patience with Kristo is possibly the right course of action, if the Rangers continue to underwhelm offensively he’s surely worth taking a look at sooner rather than later.

Crossroads

Alain Vigneault has said that Pouliot is at a career crossroads. Well, could Derick Brassard also be at a crossroad? While Pouliot may have his entire NHL career under scrutiny, Brassard has been far too inconsistent thus far to warrant being retained at his current salary beyond this year (and certainly isn’t in line for a raise).

Brassard’s status as a promising talent is under threat. While Brassard would definitely find a home somewhere should the Rangers cut the cord, Brassard needs to find some consistency to justify the Rangers retaining him beyond this season. Very talented, very frustrating.

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Best case/worst case scenarios for Ranger forwards in 2013

A bounce-back season from Brad Richards would be a huge boost for the Rangers

Arron Asham

Best case: Asham continues to provide comedic relief on Twitter and plays in a handful of games with the Blueshirts.

Worst case: New York is unable to find a taker for Asham on waivers and he spends the final year of his contract in Hartford.

Benoit Pouliot

Best case: The former fourth-overall pick puts it all together as a Blueshirt and records a 20-goal season.

Worst case: The Rangers learn why Pouliot has already played for four teams in his young career and the big forward is invisible most nights. Read more »

Musings: Will Chris Kreider shine with a new head coach?

Will Kreider finally shine under AV? (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

Will Kreider finally shine under AV? (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

So hockey has actually begun. The preseason games are underway and we’ve seen the preseason roster already begin to dwindle. So, what’s next? The Musings is of course.

When hearing Alain Vigneault discuss the potential of Chris Kreider being used in front of the net it gave a small but significant insight into his different mindset compared to John Tortorella. Vigneault looks at Kreider as an opportunity, not necessarily as a rookie who has to earn his stripes. There was merit to Tortorella’s approach (he was after all successful as Rangers HC) but trying to use players in a variety of scenarios will surely help maximise a players potential and the teams overall success.

Martin Biron: surely the only choice as the back up to the Rangers. Whether he’s more expensive than Hedberg or not, he’s arguably the best back up in the league and over a full season he’ll surely get opportunity to prove himself again.

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