It’s no secret that general manager Jim Rutherford and the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t really satisfied with the season Derick Brassard has been having. Rutherford has been fuming openly for weeks about things like “wanting more” out of Brassard and how the GM hoped the player’s performance would improve.
According to Darren Dreger on TSN’s “Insider Trading” segment prior to games on Tuesday, the team is about ready to move on.
Here’s a transcript of Dreger’s scoop-
“Derick Brassard of the Pittsburgh Penguins is another name that we have to include being in play. Now for whatever reason Brassard has not been a good fit with the Pittsburgh Penguins. That’s not to say he isn’t a quality centerman. On many teams he is a number two [second line center] – but with the Penguins he’s a number three.”
“I know that Jim Rutherford is at least listening to some interest in Brassard. The expectation is he will get traded, and that the Pittsburgh Penguins at least in return need a number three center back.”
To top it off, TSN put up a chyron on the screen of “Brassard appears sure to be traded” just for a little added emphasis.
It’s been highlighted that Brassard is a key piece as the Pens’ main trading piece to move out before the 2019 NHL trade deadline, but it’s always informative when a national source like Dreger is willing to be so direct with statements like “the expectation is that he will get traded”. It’s also worth remembering that trading Brassard also opens up the very hole that he fills as a third line center, which as Dreger mentions is what Rutherford is looking to move Brass for as a better fit.
Now the question will turn to what could a deal look like? The Pens are probably highly reluctant do deal Brassard to any playoff team in the East, as to not boost a possible competitor by trading them a second line center.
Similarly, non-playoff teams in both the Eastern and Western Conference aren’t going to have much use for a 31-year old center in Brassard who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. There could always be the possibility that a team just wants to trade a player with some term to Pittsburgh to take on Brassard and free up salary cap space (not unlike what LA did by swapping Tanner Pearson for Carl Hagelin) but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to trade away a quality player just for financial flexibility.