A big part of having success in todays NHL relies on center depth down the middle. There’s a reason that two Penguins teams that were running Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bonino, and Matt Cullen won the Stanley Cup two years in a row.
Jim Rutherford was tasked with work to do for the 2017-18 season, needing to replace Bonino and Cullen, who departed via free agency to Nashville and Minnesota, respectively.
It took him some time to figure it out, as the Penguins started with the season with Greg McKegg taking regular shifts for the Penguins. Flash forward to the end of October, Rutherford went out and got Riley Sheahan from the Detroit Red Wings — one need was filled, but there was more work to do. Flash forward again to the end of February leading up to the trade deadline — Derick Brassard. It took some magic to make it work, with Ian Cole and a 1st round pick being traded to Ottawa, Ryan Reaves being traded to Vegas, Derick Brassard being traded to Vegas, who retained salary on him for some reason, and then trading him to the Penguins.
The Penguins had their center depth again. It didn’t work out in another attempt to win the Cup this season, but it’s all good, folks.
With the retained salary, Brassard’ cap hit for next season is only $3M.
Here’s what $3M would buy you on the free agent center market.
re: Derick Brassard.— mike darnay (@MikeDarnay) May 9, 2018
this is the free agent market for centers going into next season. the Penguins will have Brassard under contract for $3M cap hit.
end of argument. pic.twitter.com/SS9DTVPJeQ
Give Brassard a summer of rest and a training camp with the Penguins. Next season will be different.