A suitor has emerged for Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard. On Monday Pittsburgh Hockey Now was the first to report the Penguins now expect to deal Brassard. The report was followed Tuesday by a report from TSN reporter Daren Dreger which used echoed the same.
Late Tuesday, one of the same sources familiar with the Penguins front office activity who confirmed the first story, confirmed to Pittsburgh Hockey Now the Dallas Stars have called on the talented center.
The interest is likely why a pair of Penguins scouts were in Dallas late last week.
Brassard, 31, scored a goal in the third period Tuesday night. It was his eighth of the season but overall the Penguins third line led by Brassard has mightily struggled to produce enough offense consistently. Brassard and Phil Kessel have been a mismatch for weeks and last night each player had a Corsi rating below 27 percent against the San Jose Sharks, even as the Penguins coaches shuffled the lines.
Should the Penguins deal Brassard, it would leave them a decision to pursue a third line center on the trade market (perhaps one in return from Dallas) or return fourth-line left wing Riley Sheahan to the spot.
At the 2018 trade deadline, the Penguins acquired Brassard in a complicated deal which left even the NHL processors scratching their heads. The NHL rejected the initial three-way deal between Vegas, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh. Later in the evening, the sides came to a new agreement which saw the Penguins send defenseman Ian Cole, a first-round pick and goalie prospect Filip Gustavsson to Ottawa and fourth-liner Ryan Reaves to Vegas in exchange for Brassard from Ottawa and $2 million salary cap relief from Vegas.
The Penguins also received a third-round pick and two minor leaguers from Ottawa.
It was creative even by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford’s standards.
However, Brassard has struggled to find his place and his stride with the Penguins. In 55 games, the center has just 22 points (11g, 11a). The deal was to make the Penguins the deepest team down-the-middle in the NHL, but it has not worked out that way. One factor is reduced ice time. Brassard is averaging about 15 minutes per game, which is well below his career norm.
The reduced ice time is why Brassard broached the idea of a move to left wing with Penguins coaches in his exit interview last May. The Penguins have experimented with Brassard on Sidney Crosby’s left wing this season with some favorable results but instead opted for more balanced lines and put Brassard back into the third line role.
Brassard is a 12-year NHL veteran. He helped to lead the 2014 New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final, the 2015 Rangers to the Eastern Conference Final, and the 2016 Ottawa Senators who took the Penguins to a Game 7 double overtime, to the Eastern Conference Final.
Along the way, he earned the nickname, “Big Game Brass.”
Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars are in a bit of turmoil. Team President Jim Lites recently tore into his star players Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn in a for-the-media profanity-laced tirade.
Dallas is currently in the Western Conference wild-card card spot, one point ahead of second wild-card team Minnesota and three points ahead of Edmonton.