Brassard signs extension *UPDATE*
People are expecting big things this season from Derick Brassard. Many project Brassard as a franchise center and “the guy” that Rick Nash has been waiting to play with his entire career. The Blue Jackets seem to share those opinions and, with the threat of restricted free agency looming in the summer of 2010, the club decided to lock up the former OJMHL star for the next five years. The Blue Jackets announced this morning that they have agreed to a 4-year contract extension with Brassard that will keep him in the Union Blue through 2013-2014.
A Calder front-runner for the first part of the season, Brassard’s tremendous rookie campaign was cut short after he was forced to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. In 31 games in 2008-2009, the former first round pick put up 25 points and was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for October. Brassard only has 48 career NHL games under his belt, but the Jackets have obviously liked what they’ve seen.
Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson announced the contract extension this morning. “We are pleased to have Derick under contract for the next five years,” Howson said. “Derick’s determination, passion and talent make us believe he will be an important part of our team in the coming years.”
While the terms of the deal have not officially been disclosed, as per club policy, it is believed that Brassard will make $2.8M in ’10-11, $3.0M in ’11-12, $3.3M in ’12-13 and $3.7M in ’13-14. Dispatch Blue Jackets Beat reporter Aaron Portzline has also reported the Brassard will still be a restricted free agent when the 4-year extension is up.
Brassard, a Hull, Quebec native, is expected to anchor the first line with Blue Jackets captain Nash and Kristian Huselius on the wings. Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock may also experiment with Brassard at the point on the power play. He is expected to be a huge boost for a team that made the playoffs last year with the lowest ranked PP in the NHL.
The Blue Jackets have been searching for a first line center since their inception into the league. If actions speak louder than words, than it is safe to say the club thinks they finally have one.