Derek Dorsett’s quest to become Brandon Prust 2.0

It’s not fair that Derek Dorsett will always be compared with Brandon Prust, but he’s done a pretty good impersonation

That’s not really a fair title to Derek Dorsett, who could surely care less what Brandon Prust did in New York before Dorsett’s arrival.  But fair or not, “Brandon Prust 2.0” is how Dorsett was billed when he arrived in the Marian Gaborik blockbuster last spring, so Prust is the player Dorsett will forever be compared to in the eyes of Rangers fans.

Prust’s game has changed a bit over the last two seasons due to injuries, but at his best with the Rangers he was relentless on the forecheck, a willing combatant, a reliable penalty killer and one of New York’s most important energy guys.

Dorsett has settled in nicely this year and has filled an almost identical role.  Like Prust, Dorsett has been a terrific forechecker, a dependable penalty killer, and a trusted player in his own end (just 38% of his shifts have started in the attack zone).  And if fighting is your thing, you’ll be pleased to know that Dorsett has five majors this season, second in the league.  Perhaps the greatest difference between the two is in the energy jolt they deliver to the lineup.  This is an extremely subjective observation, but it seems that even though Dorsett goes all out every night, he hasn’t yet displayed the same penchant for shaking his team awake that Prust once did.

But aside from that opinion, the two players measure up very similarly, and if Dorsett is still viewed as a downgrade from Prust, it’s because of bias and nothing else.  Normally this is where we’d put the two players’ statistics side by side, but Prust’s injury has resulted in too small a sample size to fairly analyze this season.

Fans were understandably pained when Prust exited as a free agent two summers ago, but the Rangers made the right decision by walking away once he received a four-year, $10 million offer from the Canadiens.  It took some time, but GM Glen Sather found a very similar player who’s two years younger, much healthier and nearly $1 million cheaper annually.

Show More
  • Prust was, I think, also much more intimidating on the ice. He was harder to play against and I think he influenced how physical opposing players would play our skilled guys much more than Dorsett does. Other than that, though, Dorsett fills the Prust hole fairly well.

  • Well I don’t suppose we can compare the players now, but perhaps we can compare Dorsett now to what Prust was in 2010-12:

    2010-11 Prust 5v5: 82 GP, 11.61 TOI/60, .524 Corsi Rel QoC, .309 Corsi QoC, -3.6 Corsi Rel, -4.52 Corsi On, 42.3% Ozone start, 49.1% Ozone finish.

    2011-12 Prust 5v5: 82 GP, 10.20 TOI/60, .153 Corsi Rel QoC, .269 Corsi QoC, -7.9 Corsi Rel, -11.34 Corsi On, 33.7% Ozone start, 43.7% Ozone finish.

    13-14 Dorsett 5v5: 16 GP, 10.66 TOI/60, .538 Corsi Rel QoC, 1.838 Corsi QoC, 3.3 Corsi Rel, 4.57 Corsi On, 38% Ozone start, 44% Ozone finish.

    Could be a product of small sample size or just playing within a better puck possession team construct, but seems Dorsett is outperforming the Brandon Prust NYR had. But he’s definitely less of a bad ass than Prust, that’s for damn sure.

  • Maybe on the ice Dorsett can be like Prust, but in terms fan sentimentality Dorsett doesn’t stand a chance. He’ll never be Prust in that regard, or at least he has a long way to go.

    I’m content with Dorsett on the team though, and I think he’ll only improve (even if it’s only slight improvement) from here on out.

    • Yes, he can start building sentiment by not getting his butt whooped by Tanner Glass in a meaningless fight at the end of a dominant win.

      Always felt that while Prust was a great fighter, he fought a little too much. But gosh, did we all love him…

  • I have really enjoyed watching Dorsett improve this season, and he is not even close to the level I think he will reach. He got off to a rough start in NY as he was thrown into a tense playoff series coming off a long term injury, but he is finally starting to change the fans minds about him. He throws his body around, fights for the puck, gets pucks to the net, and brings the element of grit that a fourth line needs on a successful team. I think he is here to stay and think that he is still far from reaching his potential.

  • Prust had a beard. People fear the hairy ones.

    Plus prust had a reputation built. Dorsett is building it.

  • Sum it up very well at the end:

    2 years younger
    Nearly $1 million cheaper

    That’s basically why in a salary cap world, Dorsett is the more effective guy to roster.

    Subjectively, he lacks the “warrior” quality that Prust had. He doesn’t play the game with the same pedigree that Prust did. You can tell that he get’s less respect from opposing players. Not that Dors exerts less energy or puts in less effort, its more how he goes about doing it. Dorsett displays more agitator qualities and has an approach which is somewhat reminiscent of Avery. Although a MUCH more watered down version.

    I’m not trying to open up a can of worms here but Dorsett uses subtle on ice tactics to get under the skin of opponents, much like Avery would. If used intelligently, such tactics can be very effective but certainly separate him from the Prust category. Prust was known for what he did between the whistles, whereas Avery was maligned for much of what he did after them. I see a little bit of both tactics employed in Dorsett’s game.

    • The comparison to Avery is spot on. He’s an interesting mix of both Prust and Avery.

      I like what Dorsett brings and fans are starting to see why.

    • Hatrick nailed the nuanced coda to Kevin’s smart if timely piece.

      Prust was not only a warrior, he might’ve been the best personality in the locker-room.

      Remember his sandbagging Gaborik on the HBO special while the team dined, when Prustie quipped (on camera), “Holy smoke Gabby, what’s that your sixth beer?!”

      Now let’s add Cody McCormick or Steve Ott at deadline to augment our sandpaper element.

    • Interesting observation Hatrick. I was actually watching the game last night and Avery came to mind watching Dorsett play, so I started watching YouTube videos of Avery’s long-list of antics versus the Devils. Definitely could see Dorsett being a slightly more restrained, and less abrasive, version of Avery.

    • Good analysis.

      Prust has a “bigger” presence. Dorsett while being an effective agitator/team guy has a nice offensive upside. He seems able to create opportunities for himself and his mates much more effectively than Prust can.

  • I liked Prust as much as anyone but he’s gone now. I hate hearing the comparisons to Dorsett now. Prust wanted money more than NY which is fine but since he’s a member of a rival team, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of measuring him to every other tough 4th line player in NY. He made a name for himself because of the bright lights of NY. Then picked up and ran for the money. We have Dorsett now and that’s who players should be measured to. I hope that contract bites the Habs hard in the next few years.

  • I miss Prust, but as the season progresses, I’m liking this kid more, and more!!

    Could you see a line of Dorsett, Prust, and Boyle as a 4th line, that would be fun????????

  • It is not fair to compare him to Prust. They’re different players. Due to his age, cost, and health, Dorsett has way more upside than Prust, who is going to struggle with injuries for the rest of his career. Give this kid a chance!

  • Glass is a UFA at end of season. In the middleweight category, you can do no better than a Tanner Glass or Aaron Asham. Both are punchers, not grapplers like Prust. Glass is the better body checker of the 2, Asham better offensively. Even though Glass is only like 6-0, 195, he has done very well VS Crowe, Simmonds, & Rosehill ALL BIGGER players.

    When you look at # of hits to PM, there is no fighter better than Glass. Mashinter could be that guy in time, as Mashinter hardly ever takes a minor PM & never take a misconduct PM.

  • Back to top button