Panthers Trade Brassard to Avalanche

The Florida Panthers have traded Derick Brassard and a sixth-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie have reported. This deal comes just a few hours ahead of the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline.

This is the second time this season that Brassard has been moved as he was previously sent from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Panthers along with Riley Sheahan and two fourth-round picks in exchange for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann. At the time of that original deal, it was expected that Brassard would later be flipped once again for more assets.

A veteran center who’s now joining his sixth team (and his fourth team in two seasons), Brassard has scored 172 goals and 447 points in 766 games. He’s scored 13 goals and 27 points in 64 games this season and has struggled to replicate the success he’s had in recent seasons with Ottawa and previously the New York Rangers.

Penguins center Derick Brassard
Veteran center Derick Brassard has been traded to the Colorado Avalanche. They will represent his third team in just a few short months and fourth team in two years. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

While he was once considered a possible middle-six center with second-line upside, the 31-year-old adds depth to an Avalanche team that already has Nathan MacKinnon, Tyson Jost, Carl Soderberg and Andrew Agozzino down the middle. The return for Brassard was certainly palatable and the Avalanche opted to trade minimal value to acquire a forward who has 90 games of postseason experience under his belt.

The Avalanche have 65 points and are only one point out of the second wildcard spot (and two points out of the first wildcard spot) in the Western Conference. While they aren’t a lock to make the playoffs, this deal doesn’t break the bank and undoubtedly makes them a better team than they were previously.

Panthers Clearing Cap Space

The game plan for the Panthers remains the same; collect assets and clear contracts. The Panthers have been intently monitoring the situation in Columbus as it pertains to goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and left winger Artemi Panarin. Both players are among the best at their respective positions but could be looking for a new home come July 1.

Related: 2019 NHL Trade Deadline: Deal Tracker

The Panthers are one of the teams rumored to be involved on not just one, but both players. This is part of what motivated them to move on from Bjugstad and McCann in the first place in exchange for two expiring contracts with Brassard and Sheahan. Moving on from Brassard and acquiring an extra third-round pick was just smart business.

The Panthers are 11 points out of a wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference and 16 points out of the third wildcard spot in the Atlantic Division. It’s very unlikely that they will compete for a playoff spot this season and instead, they’re looking ahead to the future to maximize their potential without getting distracted by the present.

The assets alone may not represent the most value, but combining them with the open cap space the Panthers will have in the offseason and the team could be primed to make a major splash.