The Toronto Maple Leafs have dipped their toe into the free agency waters this offseason. While it looks like the team has set themselves up with their lineup for opening day, there’s one more addition that can help make waves.
The Leafs should go after an unrestricted free agent, Derick Brassard. The former Arizona Coyote would be an excellent addition.
Brassard is a 33-year-old forward who has played for eight different NHL franchises. He was initially drafted sixth overall in 2006 by the Columbus Blue Jackets and has since played 14 seasons in the league. He plays center and left-wing.
Last season, Brassard recorded 20 points in 53 games on eight goals and 12 assists. Of those points, 14 of them came on even strength. On top of adding production, Brassard played a responsible two-way game.
Toronto Maple Leafs and Derek Brassard
The toughest part of adding Brassard to the mix is trying to find his fit. If Toronto hadn’t already signed David Kampf to a two-year deal then there would be no doubt that Brassard would make an excellent addition to the club. However, depth is important. If the Leafs could sign Brassard for the same AAV he was paid last year, $1 million, it would be worth the investment, even if it turns out that he spends several games in the press box.
The truth is, he wouldn’t necessarily even become a healthy scratch. We already know that Toronto’s top center, Auston Matthews had surgery on his wrist and will miss some time. Accounting for injuries is important. Having another center available would be incredibly useful.
On top of that, there is always the possibility that the Toronto Maple Leafs want to clear some cap space by trading a player and opening up a roster spot. If that’s the case, having Brassard ready to go ensures that the Leafs fill the space with an NHL player. He is too good for the AHL, so he wouldn’t be added to help the Toronto Marlies. Instead, signing Brassard to an inexpensive contract to be a bottom-six player would be a big win for GM Kyle Dubas.
Brassard doesn’t play as gritty of a style as he once did but he does add value. It also never hurts to bring someone in who can help the young players on the team both in-game and practice. If the price is right, it would be great to see the veteran with Toronto.