By this point, it has been well documented how Derick Brassard has struggled to find his footing with the Penguins — partially as a result of repeated injuries, and partially as a result of things just not working out. Even with the salary laundered by Vegas in the trade and getting Brassard at a reduced cap hit, 11 goals and 11 assists in 51 games for the Penguins just doesn’t cut it on a team with Stanley Cup aspirations looking to go back to its four-center model with strength down the middle that led to back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017.
The next question to ask is “what in the world is going on?” Derick Brassard is a good hockey player and he has a career track record to back that statement up. To see if we could figure out a little bit of exactly what is going on, data aggregated by Sean Tierney may help tell that story.
In comparison to other forwards around the league, Brassard is shooting a little bit farther out away from the net. As you can see below, there isn’t much variation to his shooting distances from last season in Ottawa. He is over performing his Expected Goals rate in Pittsburgh though. And that says a lot about how poorly he’s producing. If he were playing with a high xG rate and shots weren’t going in, that would be a different story — but we’re looking at a player who isn’t even generating.
Brassard holds the proud title of the worst shot share on the Penguins overall. That’s not good! At 5v5 with Brassard on the ice, the Penguins allow 10 more shots against than shots for per 60 minutes. Bad! Bad! Bad!
Brassard is easily Pittsburgh’s most “overused” forward. He has gotten the fifth most amount of ice time among forwards, while producing at a lower rate than every forward but Riley Sheahan. Yikes.
In terms of what kind of on-ice goals for percentage Brassard is carrying, it’s sitting right around expectations given the way he is playing. The bad part, and the problem, is that percentage is only around 40 percent!
The cherry on top of all of this is that Brassard has been given and is playing what you could call “easy minutes.” He regularly is on the ice with linemates who receive above league-average ice time but his competition on the ice is usually against players who receive below-average minutes! Bad!
All in all, Derick Brassard is a black hole for the Penguins. He is taking significantly fewer quality chances than practically everyone else while still getting tons of ice time, and being dominated by opponents while out there with quality teammates against easy competition. Rumors have abounded about his future and now the “expectation” is that he will be traded. Regardless of the optics or how the Penguins feel about what they gave up to acquire him, it’s in the best interest of both parties to find a trade suitor and move on.