Ever since Derick Brassard was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the sixth-overall selection in 2006, he’s been considered a talented player. He scored 116 points during his last full season in the QMJHL and came into the NHL as the center that Rick Nash had never had in Columbus.
The hockey gods are strange in their workings sometimes, and Brassard and Nash still play on the same team. Only now they’re suiting up for the New York Rangers. Yet the change of scenery hasn’t changed the outcome for Brassard one bit. During his three full seasons in Columbus, he was hot and cold at best. He’d disappear for long stretches before suddenly erupting for a few special performances.
Then he’d fade again. Brassard gave coaches fits as he looked like an AHL player on one night, a third-liner a week later with an All-Star caliber performance in between.
New York is trying to figure out how to ignite the 26-year-old, who now has more than 330 NHL games to his credit. Coach Alain Vigneault is trying to succeed where no one else has. He’s trying to coax consistency out of Brassard, but he’s running out of patience for him.
Brassard practiced with the fourth line this morning, and Vigneault spoke at length about the center and where he fits in with the Rangers right now. Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants quoted the coach after this morning’s practice:
So far I think he has shown a little bit of inconsistency in his overall play. In some moments you see signs of top-end skill, and in some other moments you see signs of top-end skill not executed the way you’re supposed to… For whatever reason, he doesn’t execute the play that needs to be executed at that time with the puck so we need to get that part of his game, not just in our end, but in both ends, we need to get that in order and if we do that, he’s a good skilled player that has, in my estimation a lot to bring to the table.
Same story, different team for Brassard. With Nash out for the foreseeable future with concussion issues and New York struggling to score goals, they simply need more from the talented center.