Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Oilers close to signing Derick Brassard

The Edmonton Oilers are close to signing C Derick Brassard to a one-year contract, former Oilers tough guy Georges Laraque reported Tuesday night.

In a tweet, Laraque called it a “great signing.”

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If true, it would mark a smart signing for the Oilers — a team still searching for a third-line centre to play behind Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Brassard, 31, played parts of last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche amassing 14 goals and nine assists in 70 games.

It was a year that saw him traded twice as he struggled to find a place to call home. Scoring his lowest point total in a season, Brassard also struggled to find ice time playing only 15 minutes a night. Despite that, he still would’ve ranked sixth in Oiler forwards in both goals, and points.

His drop in ice-time correlates with a drop in his primary scoring rates, too. Last year, he scored 1.0 points per hour (a fourth-line rate), getting third-line minutes and was largely caved in both shot rates and goal rates relative to his teammates.

The year before, when he potted 46 points in 72 games playing 17:44 a night, he was getting second-line minutes, scoring 1.8 points per hour (a first-line rate) and was much better in both shot, and goal rates relative to his teammates.

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The drop, nonetheless, was sharp for him but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest he could bounce back to the mean this upcoming season. Age is no longer on his side, but that’s not to suggest he’s a useless player.

He could very well come back this season, regress to the mean of his NHL career of being a player who has scored 47 points per 82 games throughout. After all, he’s only a year removed from doing that.

While Laraque’s aforementioned report didn’t say what Brassard would potentially be signing for, with just under $2.5-million in cap space the Oilers don’t have a lot of room to work with. Much like many of the Oilers signings this offseason, inking Brassard would be a low-risk, moderate-to-high reward move.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

  • Viperx

    If laroque is the source, I dont trust it. This is the guy that said hall got traded and went to rehab. Havent seen this rumour quoted by any of the big guys yet

  • Spydyr

    I understand that there are cap restraints but Holland keeps picking up guys that are coming off a bad season and we hope they bounce back. That is a very slippery slope. There is no way all of them bounce back and some will even regress.

    • thebigdirty17

      I think the mindset is that the Oilers were going to be bottom feeders regardless of if these signings were made. Kenny is just making a few short-term risks in the hopes that they may prop the team up to some form of respectability. If none of them work out and the Oilers still suck, then we wipe our hands clean at the end of the year and try again with a bit more cap space. It’s really the only play available without making a massive shakeup to the teams core.

  • Fireball

    Short version.. Holland gets a A plus. Moved looch for “possible” goal scorer for Nuge but also can be bought out.. got affordable option in net to eat a bunch of games.. a lot of competition in the bottom six. A 3c with scoring potential who can win half his face offs. Didn’t mortgage the future.. didn’t over pay or sign anyone long term.. made room for the kids to compete on D. There’s still no one making to much money not to be bumped in the bottom 9 forwards .. so kids have a shot. ( if they steal it !! Moves aren’t sexy ! Lots of gambles !! Healthy competition!! All very realistic moves based upon the Cap Kenny Had to work with !! He didn’t force a single thing !! A plus !! If the team don’t win o’well there’s always next year .. at least there’s no moves that will kill us going forward

    • I think Holland is applying some patches to the drywall until the real craftsmen show up. That’s not a criticism: that’s a total compliment. He knows he has some bright prospects in the system, and also more cap space next season. The future looks bright. But right now, he’s got some guys he knows can contribute (Neal, Brassard, Smith) along with some potential diamonds-in-the-rough (Nygard, Haas) to help stop the bleeding and get the squad to catch up with the handful of superstars already producing. It’s not always sexy, but it’s smart and (hopefully) effective. I’m not ready to promise a playoff spot yet, but this team is better than the one Kenny inherited.

      • Fireball

        Brassard was on pace for 19 goals and 30 odd points through 40 games with Pittsburg.. it didn’t go well with the other two teams. I sure think it’s a safe bet with potential for decent reward. If nothing else they will be deeper.

  • Redbird62

    More competition is a good thing. If true, it will be very interesting to see both the $$, the length and other terms. I would hope given that GM’s haven’t been lining up for Brassard, that Brassard is taking a low $$, short term show us you can still play contract with no MMC or NTC so that he can be sent to the minors if he is outplayed by Haas, Marody or someone else. I am not sure he is an ideal fit as a 3rd center since his best year of the faceoff is 50.2% (career 45% though his best 2 years were 17&18) and he has never killed penalties. Maybe he can reinvent himself to sustain his career.

  • HockeyRooster

    I hope Brassard signs. I’d say Holland has almost done as much as he could with Chia’s mess. Its time for the players to do their part. Many did last season so it’s no dig at last year’s producers. Someone not named Connor, Leon or Nuge (Chiasson and Kass too) needs to grab a hold of their opportunity and do something with it.
    As always in August, I am optimistic about the upcoming season. Such is life as an Oilers fan.

  • BR

    With Holland stating that he likes to have 1.5m of walking around money you’d hope that he’s managed to sign him up to a relatively cheap deal. Maybe a minor trade is made to free up a touch of space could happen. But if he’s around 1m good – under above 1 up to 2m I can live with. Not like the UFA market has any heat in it at all.

    A good buy low candidate. I’m sure he’s eyeing top six minutes/opportunity

  • Crazy Pedestrian

    This is good news. the AAV will probably be around $1.25M-$1.5M if I had to guess. Wonder what this means for JP… (and all those other centermen fighting for a spot for that matter)
    This will put the Oilers contract count at 51 with three sliding contracts in Broberg, Bouchard, and Rodrigue.

    • Fireball

      Healthy competition with a lot of options at centre if they end up with any injuries. Brassard will be pushed. He’s hands down the best man for the 3c spot. He is a proven centre. I sure feel a lot better going forward.

      • Crazy Pedestrian

        I agree.

        Too bad he isn’t a right-shot though… kinda running wild with lefty-centres right now… only (not really a center) Gagner and (Newbie) Gaetan Haas shot right.

        • Fireball

          For sure. He wasn’t exactly my first option but I am happy he’s a established NHL centre. If he was a righty it would be better. With so many guys like Gagner who have areas where they do well in the dot they should be able win more than Half their draws.

    • Jason Gregor

      Today the Oilers are at 47 contracts. Rodrique and Bouchard contracts don’t count until they play nine games or are 20 years of age. Strange technicality. If they sign Brassard, and I was told there is no agreement in place as of last night, but they have discussed a deal it just isn’t signed yet as other teams still making offers as well, then they would be at 48 contracts. If they sign Puljujarvi they are at 49. And Broberg will not count the minute the Oilers release him to Sweden, so they’d be back to 48. But today they are at 47 on the NHL books.

    • Crazy Pedestrian

      Whoops… it’s actually 50 with three slides (JP would make it 51 if he actually does stay with the oilers, but it’s almost certain he won’t be)

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Well I honestly didnt think Holland would be after anyone else without moving a body or two out, if Brassard does sign I would think it wouldnt be for 2 mil a season, I dont see the Oilers spending all their cap cash. If Brassard does sign a 1 yr with the Oilers this may be the signal to Poolpartys camp that Jesse should get settled in Europe for the year, because there arent enough chairs left for when the music stops.

    Brassard could be like Chaisson and have a bounce back year since he is on a 1 year show us contract, and honestly with the bottom 6 and some jobs up for grabs it could be an opportunity like Chaisson to get going and then hopefully find a team to call home for a while. Be interesting to see what the details are when they come out

  • toprightcorner

    Doubt it would be much more than $1.25. It is like signing a PTO and if he plays well, he likely gets $1.5-$1.75. This adds risk to Oilers but gets a solid vet at a great price and guarantees Brassard a chance to play with a lot of skill and maybe move up in the lineup on the wing.

    If Holland gets him at 1 year for $1.25, when Brassard went into the summer looking for a 3 year $10+ mill contract, they can start carving his statue now.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I dont think iit will be for big money either, like Chaisson it will be a show us deal, and 1 year not much risk to the Oilers and if Brassard does well and wants to stick around they can always see what happenes. lot more cash to play with next year then we had this year…so its an opportunity

  • Corbs

    I like the signing but my concern would be that Brassard has admitted that part of his struggles last year were because he was unhappy to be playing on the third line. He is slotted in to be on the third line here…so is he going to be unhappy and unproductive again? I’d assume he is signing here so he’d be open to it but it’s a concern.

    • CMG30

      Time has a way of offering perspective. Should he sign, he will be fully aware that he’ll be coming into a situation where he will be a 3rd line center. If this is where he chooses to be, then I don’t see why he would be upset any longer.

  • KootenayDan

    If true it would be a huge coup for KH and would solidify the roster for this season at least. I was skeptical of Ken Holland but now think he is exactly what this organization needed a calm, wise and patient gm doing a great job with limited resources and cap space. Let’s hope it translates to a better performance on the ice and gives the long suffering fans some hope.