Derick Brassard or Rick Nash: Who deserves the “A”
Choosing the right players to lead your team is very important in the NHL. Not only is it crucial to select the right captain, but providing that person with the right alternate captains can create a strong locker room and great leadership.
This past season, Ryan McDonagh was appointed as the 27th captain in franchise history, taking over after Ryan Callahan was traded to the Lightning during the 2013-14 season. There were four alternate captains, two defensemen and two forwards; Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis.
However, now that St. Louis has hung up his skates, there seems to be an alternate captain spot open for a forward to take. The only question is who should be appointed in that leadership role.
Personally, I think there are two real candidates. The two strongest choices would be Derick Brassard and Rick Nash, with each player bringing something unique to the table.
Rick Nash has actually worn the “A” on his chest before while in New York, donning the letter during the playoffs after the departure of Ryan Callahan. On top of that, he has the experience of being the go-to guy and a leader in the locker room, captaining the Blue Jackets for parts of five seasons. In the 2008-09 season, Nash guided the team to their first ever playoff appearance.
This past season, Nash had one of his best seasons as a pro, setting a new career high in goals (42) and adding 27 assists through 79 games. He was behind only Steven Stamkos (43) and Alex Ovechkin (53) in goal scoring, and his +29 rating was the sixth best in the entire league.
Nash is also one of the hardest working players on the team, both on and off the ice. He trains and works hard, and he’s a complete three zone player, relentless on the forecheck and in his own defensive zone.
If there are two things that back up a player’s credibility in a leadership role, its work ethic and results, and Nash has provided both as a member of the Rangers. He’s always giving 110% whenever he’s on the ice, and there’s almost nobody else you’d want on the ice when the Rangers need a goal. Despite his soft-spoken demeanor, Nash leads by example, and has done effectively in the past.
The other candidate is another former Blue Jacket in Derick Brassard. The former 6th overall draft pick in 2006 enjoyed his best season as a pro, recording career highs in almost every offensive category, including goals (19), assists (41) and points (60). He really blossomed into an excellent playmaker and center this season, and there is still room to grow.
After a magnificent regular season, Brassard continued his success into the playoffs, where he led the team with 16 points (9-7-16) in 19 playoff games, including his first career hat trick in a must-win Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the Eastern Conference Finals.
In fact, Brassard has been the Rangers best playoff performer since his arrival back in the 2012-13 season. In his first year with the Rangers, he recorded 12 points (2-10-12) in 12 playoff games, and now has a total of 40 points (17-23-40) in 54 playoff games, all with the Rangers.
Like Nash, Brassard gets credibility because he goes out on the ice every night and makes things happen. Whether it be a slick pass or a booming slap shot, when Brassard is on the ice, the Rangers are probably attacking and creating chances.
The other thing I love about Brassard is the intensity with which he plays the game. Especially during the playoffs, you’ll always see him shouting when he scores a goal, chirping at other players, and playing with a fire and passion that is unparalleled. You can really see how much he loves the sport every time he steps foot on the ice.
He’s well-liked and respected in the locker room, plays with a lot of intensity, and backs it all up with results and points.
It’s not guaranteed that the Rangers will choose another alternate captain, but there is a good chance that they take another forward to balance things out again. If that’s the case, then Rick Nash and Derick Brassard should be at the top of that list.
Posted on August 25, 2015, in In the Crease and tagged Blue Jackets, Brassard goal, Columbus Blue Jackets, Derick Brassard, Derick Brassard playoffs, Madison Square Garden, McDonagh Captain, MSG, Nash goal, Nash playoffs, New York Rangers, NYR, Rangers, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.