Derick Brassard was in the middle of making a post-workout meal on Monday afternoon when he took a look at his phone and realized something was up. The 28-year-old forward, who spent parts of four seasons with the New York Rangers, was dealt to the Ottawa Senators.
Heading to New York were forward Mika Zibanejad and Sens’ second-round draft pick in 2018.
Brassard admitted he was slightly caught off guard by the move.
“I kind of knew they were talking about it, but just the way I heard about the trade: I was cooking lunch after my workout,” Brassard said. “I was away from my phone and when I grabbed my phone, there was a lot of messages and a lot of phone calls missed.”
Brassard appeared in 254 regular season games with the Rangers scoring 69 goals and 174 points. This past season he netted a career-high 27 goals and 58 points in 80 games in New York while averaging 17:53 a night in ice time.
“I’ve been (traded) before, it’s part of the business, I totally understand that,” he said. “I really enjoyed my time in New York, playing with a lot of really good players. We had a really good run, but I’m just ready for another challenge right now. I have to put everything behind me and I’m going to try to be the best player I can be in Ottawa.”
The move is a homecoming for Brassard, who is from nearby Gatineau, Que. Brassard grew up going to Sens games in Ottawa and recalled attending a Stanley Cup final game in 2007.
“My family is obviously really excited (and) all my friends,” said Brassard. “It's special for me to go there and wear the Sens’ jersey. I just can’t wait to go there, play well and bring the same game that I had in New York and bring it to Ottawa. I’m sure it’s going to go well.
“I grew up watching those guys play and (Daniel) Alfredsson has been a big part of the organization obviously in the NHL, he had a lot of success. I'm just looking forward to go there, and put my best foot forward to help this team make the playoffs.”
It wasn’t long before Brassard heard from veteran blue liner Marc Methot. The two got to know one another while playing with the Syracuse Crunch, Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate during the 2007-08 season.
“Excited to be back with each other again,” Brassard said. “I know all those guys from skating in Ottawa (in the off-season) and I think we have a really good team there. I can't wait to go there and try to help the team get in the playoffs.
“We started our careers together. Marc was a mentor for me when I started playing in the AHL. He's just a really good friend of mine and we still keep in touch with each other.”
Originally a 2006 first-round pick of the Blue Jackets (sixth overall), Brassard has scored 127 goals and 216 assists in 563 NHL games split between Columbus and New York.