We decided to change the terminology for our new series. Basically we wanted to dissect the roster to see which players are important parts of the foundation that President John Davidson and GM Jarmo Kekalainen are putting in place, as they look to lead this team into the promised land.
We went from "core" to "the new foundation", mainly due to the varying opinions on the definition of core. You may also take issue with the term foundation, but at least by now you should see where we're going with this.
I'm going to look at Derick Brassard.
|2013 - Derick Brassard||3||8||11||-7||10|
Brass, along with Jared Boll and Derek MacKenzie, are the longest-tenured Jackets currently on the Columbus roster, making their debuts during the 2007-2008 season. Brass was the Jackets' first rounder the year prior. After suiting up for 17 games that season, he made the team full-time the next year. He started the season off red-hot, before tearing up his shoulder in an ill-advised fight with James Neal, who was with Dallas at the time. Only 31 games into the season, the injury knocked him out for the rest of the year-some say that he never fully recovered from that incident, not from a physical point of view, but perhaps from a mental perspective.
The following season of 2009/2010 was the first of three straight relatively healthy seasons. That year, he put up 9-27-36, one goal less than his injury-shortened season a year prior. This was looked at as a disappoint by most. The following year, his best statistically to date, saw him finish with 17-30-47, and it looked like he was finally on his way to breaking out and nailing down the role as Columbus' number one center. Last year though, his numbers dropped to 14-27-41 in the same amount of games played. It would seem as though he has plateaued offensively.
This season he has missed some time with injury, but has managed 11 points in 22 games played. He's been a contributor, but like in the previous three seasons he hasn't been able to lock down a role. If you look at his Relative Corsi with Quality of Competition accounted for, he's exactly middle of the pack for players on the Jackets with at least ten games played. He's slightly negative at -0.025, meaning that he doesn't add much in the way of attack, but also doesn't hurt the team either. He's just there.
Looking at his zone starts, you can see that he starts in the offensive zone 45.8% of the time, sixth lowest on the team and second lowest among centers. This indicates that the coaches aren't afraid of using him in the defensive zone, which is somewhat strange given his team-worst faceoff percentage for players who've taken at least 80 faceoffs this season. It also means that he is facing stiffer competition, unsurprising, because somebody has to.
At this point in time, it would seem that you know what kind of player Brass is going to be. He's a second/third line tweener center, who isn't great defensively or on faceoffs. He scores at about a half point per game, which is a positive, but he doesn't provide much else. In my opinion he'd be better suited on the wing as a playmaker. Columbus has used him in this capacity early this season, but with the injuries up the middle he has seen a return to the pivot spot. When Brandon Dubinsky returns, Brass will likely move back to the wing, and at that point, if he doesn't see an uptick in production, he almost never will. The reduced responsibilities on the wing should increase his point totals.
He is currently signed for one more year after this one, at a cap hit of $3.2 million, though his salary will pay him $3.7 million. The fact that he only has one more year on his current deal may make him appealing at the trade deadline. A team in the thick of the playoffs who is looking for a boost to their top six wings, with a bit of cash to spend this year and next, could come calling. I'm looking at San Jose and Ottawa as potential fits, as both teams are in the playoff mix but have trouble scoring. Ottawa could be the ideal fit for Brass, as he is from Hull, Quebec, right across the river from Ottawa. Even without Erik Karlsson, the Sens are still a team that could make some noise and Brass would be a good fit.
If we're talking about the foundation for the team going forward, I don't think Derick Brassard is going to be a part of it.
What say you?