What If Derick Brassard Stayed in Columbus?

Not too long ago, Derick Brassard was part of the Columbus Blue Jackets. However, in a trade in the 2012-2013 season, Marian Gaborik went to the Blue Jackets, while Brassard was shipped out to the New York Rangers. In the Big Apple, Brassard was able to be part of 2013-2014 Eastern Conference champions Rangers, while compiling a 12 point post-season  — one that ended in a Stanley Cup Final defeat to the Los Angeles Kings.

Yesterday, the New York Rangers made the decision to re-sign Brassard.

That’s quite a bit of money for Brassard — who will be 31 when the contract expires. The deal got me thinking: what would’ve happened if Brassard didn’t leave Columbus in the Gaborik trade.

Gaborik Stays in New York (And Wins Title)

Marian Gaborik Rangers
Gaborik would’ve still won a title, but it would’ve been with the Rangers. (Icon SMI)

Maybe in some multiverse, Gaborik actually stays in New York — and helps bring home the Rangers first title since 1994. With the help of Gaborik, Rick Nash gets some goals in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, and the Kings lose to the Rangers in 6 games.

In this universe, Gaborik had game-changing abilities to help the Kings win the Stanley Cup. First, in Game 2, he scored the game tying goal to send the game into overtime. As you recall, Game 2 was a marathon game that crawled through the night into the early morning hours, and resulted in a double overtime win for the Kings — with Dustin Brown scoring the game winner. In Game 5, Gaborik once again scored a game tying goal — and sent the Kings/Rangers into another overtime game. Once again, the Kings won, and ultimately took home the Stanley Cup.

Take Gaborik out of Los Angeles, and the Kings don’t get their savior in 2014; the Rangers would’ve absorbed the powers of Gaborik, and hoisted the Stanley Cup through the Big Apple. Either way, Gaborik would’ve won a Stanley Cup, it was just a matter of where he would win.


Ryan Johansen Doesn’t Become A Star

In the past weeks, I’ve preached of Ryan Johansen and the likelihood of him coming back to Columbus with a sizable contract. If Brassard stayed, I’m willing to bet that 95% of Blue Jacket followers wouldn’t know who Ryan Johansen even was.

Brassard would’ve been joined by Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu on the center position. Even though the line would’ve produced, it probably couldn’t produce a 60-point scorer like Johansen. But remember, Johansen would’ve had very limited time to show his worth, and wouldn’t have gotten anywhere close to the 63 points he had last year.

In all, the Blue Jackets benefitted by having Johansen become successful. Letting Brassard go enabled Johansen to step up in a major role. A role that was the tour de force for the Blue Jackets postseason appearance in 2014.

The Blue Jackets Narrowly Miss the Playoffs

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Brassard could’ve hampered Johansen and the Blue Jackets postseason chances.(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

If Johansen doesn’t become a star, then the collateral damage would’ve been the Blue Jackets postseason ambitions. Unless Brassard could’ve tallied at least 50 points, the Blue Jackets would’ve missed the 2014 postseason. Johansen led the team in goals and assists last season; take that away, and you have a team that is still competitive, but just outside of the playoff picture.

Ultimately, the Washington Capitals would’ve snuck into the playoffs — after defeating the Blue Jackets in Columbus during the season — and sent the Blue Jackets to an early offseason. However, the Blue Jackets didn’t have Brassard, defeated the Capitals, and had Johansen leading the way. But things could’ve would’ve been different if Brassard stayed in Columbus.