As the 2022-23 Regular Season comes to a close, PHWA members have announced their selections for each team’s Bill Masterton Trophy Nominee. This year’s Masterton Nominee for the Ottawa Senators is none other than Derick Brassard. Quotes from this article are taken from Ian Mendes’ recent piece for The Atheltic on this topic.
For the first time in his NHL career, Derick Brassard entered the season without a contract for an NHL team. He signed a Professional Try-Out (PTO) with the Ottawa Senators on September 15th, 2022 effective during pre-season, and he was able to earn a one-year contract on October 10th, a few days before the Senators’ season opener against the Buffalo Sabres on the 13th.
“It’s a privilege to play in this league […] I’m getting older, and I know that. I’m lucky to have played 14 or 15 years in this league” Brassard had to say about the nomination. “I know I have some hockey left in me, I just didn’t know where” was his response when asked about where he had intended to play at the beginning of the season.
Eventually, Brassard went to his agent, Allan Walsh, telling him that the only team he had any interest in playing for was the Ottawa Senators, having already played with the team and reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016-17. He is best known for his postseason performances, earning him the nickname “Big Game Brass”
In his first tenure with the Sens, Brassard would appear in parts of two seasons before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of the beginning of the rebuild.
After his tenure with the Penguins, “Brass” would suit up for six other NHL teams, the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, and the Philadephia Flyers, where he would play with current team-mate Claude Giroux. When asked for a comment, Giroux had this to say ” For 15 years straight, he was going to camp with a contract and knowing what to expect during the season. So coming into camp, not having a contract, it can’t be easy. It’s got to be tough.”
Giroux also said he would not be surprised if Brassard would attempt to return to the Sens next season, but pointed out that it would be difficult considering the devastating injury he would sustain recently where he broke his fibula.
Brassard entered the season not knowing what to expect on a PTO. He earned a contract and began the season as the 13th forward. After unfortunate injuries to numerous Sens players, Brassard would earn a spot in the lineup and he took it and ran. This season, Brassard mainly contributed to Ottawa’s bottom 6 (but played some stretches in the top 6) and also earned a spot on the second powerplay unit. He has scored 13 goals and 10 assists for 23 points in 63 games.
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Derick Brassard suited up for his 1000th career NHL game against the New York Rangers on March 2nd and would score two goals in a 5-3 win. It’s pretty poetic that he played his 1000th game against a team he played four seasons with, and then had his home-ice celebration where he would receive his golden stick against the team that drafted him, the Columbus Blue Jackets.