Oilers Acquire Derick Brassard: Everything You Need to Know

While most expected a quiet deadline day for the Edmonton Oilers, Ken Holland was able to pull off two somewhat minor deals. The first of the day was a deal with the Montreal Canadiens that will see Brett Kulak come to Edmonton in exchange for William Lagesson and a second-round pick in the 2023 Draft. Most are viewing this deal as an overpayment, though their thoughts may change slightly on that if he is to re-sign for cheap this summer.

Related: Oilers Acquire Brett Kulak: Everything You Need to Know

The second deal, and one that is being met with better reviews from Oilers fans, is the acquisition of Derick Brassard. This trade was one of the final moves of the deadline day, and will see the Philadelphia Flyers receive a fourth-round pick for 2023. While this move certainly isn’t a blockbuster, it gives the Oilers even more options with what has turned into one of the NHL’s better forward groups.

Brassard Plays Multiple Positions

Though he has primarily been used as a centerman throughout his 936-game career, he has also spent time on the left wing. Prior to this deal, he was centering the Flyers’ second line with James Van Riemsdyk and Cam Atkinson on his wings.

Derick Brassard, Philadelphia Flyers
Derick Brassard former Philadelphia Flyer (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

His versatility will be of great benefit to Jay Woodcroft, who will likely use him in a third-line role. If he so chooses, Brassard can play on the wing or he could center the third line once Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returns from injury. This would allow Nugent-Hopkins to play wing alongside either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. He will likely tinker with his combinations down the stretch of the season to see what works best as the team prepares for the playoffs.

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Of course, this could also mean that Nugent-Hopkins is out even longer than expected. On March 16, Holland told media that the 28-year-old was still a couple of weeks away with what the team is calling an upper-body injury. It is possible that there is more concern than they are letting on and they grabbed Brassard as an insurance option, though that is pure speculation.

Solid Secondary Scorer

When he first entered the league, Brassard had a ton of hype surrounding him after being selected sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2006 Draft. While he never progressed how the organization had imagined, he turned into a very solid player years later with the New York Rangers, posting a career-high 60 points in 2014-15, followed by a career-high 27 goals the very next season.

He is no longer that type of player offensively, but he can and has still provided secondary scoring in recent seasons. As a member of the New York Islanders in 2019-20, he recorded 10 goals and 32 points in 66 games, as well as eight points in an additional 18 playoff contests. Those numbers are solid enough on their own, and even better given the fact they came on an Islanders team who preaches defence-first hockey.

His secondary scoring has continued in 2021-22, as he has managed six goals and 16 points in 31 games with a Flyers team that has really struggled. He should have no issues scoring at a similar rate if not slightly better on what is a far superior roster.

Man of Many Teams

One fun tidbit from this trade is the fact that the Oilers will be the 10th NHL team Brassard has played for. After spending the first six seasons of his career with the Blue Jackets, followed up by another four with the Rangers, he has been moved often. Since leaving the Rangers after the 2015-16 season, he has had stints with the Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, Islanders, Arizona Coyotes and, of course, the Flyers.

Derick Brassard New York Islanders
Derick Brassard as a member of the New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Some may view this as a negative, but it is also worth noting that several of the teams mentioned above chose to pick him up at past deadlines, clearly believing he could help their team succeed in the playoffs. This is obviously what Holland is hoping for as well, and with only a fourth-round pick going the other way, he didn’t have to take much of a risk in the acquisition.