Derick Brassard is easily one of the most skilled offensive players on the Rangers. He's a fluid skater, can make every pass on the ice and has a deadly shot.
However, the consistency that eluded him in Columbus and ultimately led to his trade to the Rangers seems to have followed him to New York.
After an impressive run with the Blueshirts last spring, Brassard had just 13 points (5g, 8a) through 31 games to start the season, but since December 8th, he has again caught fire scoring 12 points (3g, 9a) in the last 15 games.
So what's been the problem? What's led to his uneven tenure with the Rangers?
After taking a deeper look into Brassard's stats this season, I have four words for the 26-year old forward, "Shoot the puck, Brassy!!!!"
Yes, the infamous plea that Rangers legendary broadcaster Bill “The Big Whistle” Chadwick would shout at former Rangers defenseman Barry Beck in the 1980s is very much applicable to Brassard today.
During those first 31 games, Brassard had a miniscule 49 shots on goal (1.6 per game), however, in the last 15 contests he has 39 shots on goal (2.6 per game).
Even without the statistics, you can tell by watching the games that Brassard's first instinct is to be a playmaker. Earlier this season, he was passing up way too many opportunites in effort to setup a teammate. Now on a line with Zuccarello, he's finding himself with the puck in a position to shoot and he's not hesitating…
“I think the success of our team right now, why we’re scoring a lot of goals, is because we found chemistry between lines. Even on the power play, we have the same units,” Brassard said to Pat Leonard of the Daily News. “With the same line I feel better. I know who I’m playing with every night. We know each other, we know what to expect from each other. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been playing a little bit more and I’m playing with Mats who’s got some really good offense and Benny (Pouliot) as well.”
While you always want your centers to get their wingers involved, you also don't want them to become too predictable. For Brassard to sustain this impressive stretch of play, he needs to take what the defense is giving him and if the defense gives him the shot, he must do this..
If Brassard continues to be more assertive with that laser of a shot, the inconsistencies that have plagued his career will begin to dissipate, while his goal totals and hopefully the Rangers win totals will continue to climb.