No wonder Derick Brassard was so happy to be out of Columbus; while his former team continues to play hardball with Ryan Johansen, the New York Rangers just exceeded his demands in order to avoid salary arbitration. The Rangers and Brassard have agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal. The deal is front loaded, with Brassard earning $7 million next season, $6 million in 2015-16, $5 million the following year, and $3.5 million for the final two years of the contract.
It was reported yesterday by Elliote Freedman that Brassard’s camp was looking for $4.95 million AAV, and the Rangers counter offer was for $3.825 million. 24 hours later, the Rangers met Brassard’s demands and even through in a little extra. Included in the deal is a limited no-trade clause; another victory for Brassard.
Why were the Rangers so intent on avoiding arbitration and getting Brassard signed to an extension? With the Brad Richards buyout, and Brian Boyle signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers are looking pretty thin down the middle for the 2014-15 season. Brassard is currently slotted as the second line center. Next on the depth chart would be Dominic Moore, who put up six goals and 12 assists last season; a big step down from Brassard’s 18 goals and 27 assists. While it shores up the center position, the Rangers overpaid by giving $25 million to a player who has never reached 20 goals in his entire career. Brassard would be third liner on many NHL rosters.
Fortunately for Brassard, the limited no-trade clause gives him some control, should the Rangers get buyer’s remorse. Brassard was a valuable player for the Rangers during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He scored six goals and six assists, a 13.3 Sh%, a 51.6 CF%, and a RelCF% of +5.2. During the regular season, his RelCF% was +1.6%.
The New York Rangers have avoided salary arbitration with all of their RFAs this season, including Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello. After the Brassard extension, the Rangers have around $4 million left in cap space to sign defenseman John Moore to an extension and build some depth on their bottom two lines.