The Philadelphia Flyers got a major facelift this offseason thanks to several moves by general manager Chuck Fletcher. He started the offseason with a few major additions in Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Cam Atkinson. Then, he added a few veteran depth pieces in Keith Yandle, Nate Thompson, and –– just this week –– Derick Brassard.
Brassard, 33 (34 next month), signed a one-year, $825,000 contract on Wednesday. The veteran forward has played in 905 regular-season games for eight different teams across his 14-year career. On top of that, he has played in 117 career playoff games, including 59 for Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault when they were both with the New York Rangers.
That connection with Vigneault definitely doesn’t hurt.
Brassard said he spoke to Vigneault a few days ago and the conversation went well. “I wanted to join the Flyers and I think him as a coach wanted me to jump in with the group.”
Fletcher’s offseason additions also factored into Brassard’s decision to sign in Philadelphia.
“I feel like with everything they’ve done this summer, adding like five or six players or so, I think it’s going to give the team a good chance to succeed and have a good season,” he said.
It wasn’t just the quality and quantity of moves by Fletcher, but Brassard’s familiarity with those players as well. He specifically mentioned playing with Cam Atkinson in Columbus as well as Kevin Hayes and Keith Yandle in New York.
He also spoke about wanting to be on Claude Giroux‘s side rather than playing against him in both the NHL and juniors.
“It’s going to be nice to play on his side. I think he’s one of the best leaders around the NHL and one of the best players in the league,” Brassard said.
But it wasn’t just about the connections.
“I didn’t come here just because my friends are here. I came because I feel like we have a shot [at the Cup]” he continued.
“I had an offer with a different team in the West with maybe a little bit more money, but it’s all about fit and to have a chance to win,” Brassard said. “Like I said, I think the Flyers fit all the boxes for me. I’m super excited to be here.”
The veteran forward has mostly played center in his career, but he’s comfortable playing on either wing. He just wants to win as he enters his age-34 season.
“I’m just all-in to have a good season and hopefully have a chance to win the Stanley Cup,” Brassard said. “I’m not saying that we’re going to win it but I think we have a pretty good shot with the roster that we have right now.”
Brassard is a much-needed safety net for the Flyers’ bottom six. Morgan Frost and Tanner Laczynski are two prospects vying for a bottom-six forward role, but they may not be ready just yet. Now, the Flyers have Derick Brassard as a veteran option to play in the bottom six and help push the youngsters in training camp.