‘Rangers Inside And Out’
By Sean Hartnett
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It’s a huge positive when New York Rangers fans are able to engage in debate over which piece acquired in the Marian Gaborik trade will have a more fruitful NHL career.
While Gaborik is thriving in Columbus, the Blueshirts landed quite a haul of their own by prying two former first-round picks from Columbus’ grasp. It’s the sort of trade that will sting the Blue Jackets down the line, as both 25-year-old center Derick Brassard and 22-year-old defenseman John Moore are beginning to flourish under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.
Since trading the Blue Jackets’ red, white and blue uniform for the historic Rangers sweater sharing the same color scheme, Brassard has shown Rangers fans glimpses of the tremendous vision, instinctual play and smooth-skating abilities that made him a worthy sixth-overall selection by the Blue Jackets in 2006.
Skillful Brassard Catching Fire Since Coming To New York
It all started with his four-point debut for the Rangers against the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 3. Brassard has continued his hot pace by recording five points in his past four games, including a two-goal effort in the Blueshirts’ 6-1 victory over the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
The Hull, Quebec native has nine points in eight games since joining the Rangers and has given their power play a boost with two goals and two assists on the man advantage. He’s earned the immediate trust of head coach John Tortorella.
“He’s been good on the power play. He doesn’t panic with the puck. He makes plays,” Tortorella stated. “It’s not off the glass. He can make some plays. He deserves where he’s at on the power play. He’s earned his spot there. He’s really helped us.”
Rick Nash spent five seasons playing alongside Brassard in Columbus and points to a change of scenery as a possible explanation for why Brassard is enjoying immediate success in New York.
“I always thought he was a good player,” Nash explained. “He always had all the tools and the skill. Sometimes guys just need a change and a fresh start; maybe it’s that. He’s a top 10 pick. There’s a reason why he was that pick — he’s a great player.”
Brassard’s skill level is obvious. He can stop on a dime and waves his stick like a magic wand. On the opening goal of the game, Brassard made a skillful pivot before putting a shot on net that produced a rebound. Ryan Callahan shot wide as Brassard followed the play to the far side of the crease to score an instinctual power-play goal.
Lundqvist, Tortorella Comparing Moore To McDonagh
Meanwhile, defenseman John Moore’s contributions are equally impressive. When I spoke with Lundqvist after the game, he immediately drew comparisons between Moore and rock-solid defenseman Ryan McDonagh.