Philadelphia Flyers: Derick Brassard shines with help from his friends

When the Philadelphia Flyers signed Derick Brassard to a one-year, $825,000 contract, it barely moved the needle on many a fan’s excitement meter.

Sure, Brassard was a fine enough addition to the bottom-six, especially with Nolan Patrick on his way to Las Vegas, but he was, like, the fifth biggest name folded into the Flyers’ fray over the offseason behind Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, Keith Yandle, and Cam Atkinson, so did anyone really expect him to be more than just another guy?

Well, if you were one of the few who heralded the deal as a legit diamond in the rough signing, you probably feel pretty good about yourself, as Brassard has been a vital cog on arguably the Flyers’ best line of the 2021-22 NHL season so far, with the potential to keep his spot even after Kevin Hayes returns from offseason surgery.

Not too shabby for a 34-year-old on his sixth team in as many seasons.

Has Derick Brassard finally found a home with the Philadelphia Flyers?

In 2020-21, Derick Brassard logged 20 points in 53 games of action for the Arizona Coyotes.

He scored eight goals, the lowest total of his career since his rookie season, and was similarly ineffective at setting goals for others, as his assist total again ranked second worst behind his maiden campaign back in 2007-08.

Surely some thought Brassard’s time as a top-sixer was done at the NHL level, with some genuinely wondering how many seasons he had left to play. But after being named an alternate captain for the first time in his career with the Coyotes, the Flyers GM saw an opportunity to bring Brassard in with a chance to compete for a spot in the bottom-six, while both reuniting Kevin Hayes, Keith Yandle, and Alain Vigneault and serving as a mentor for young players like Joel Farabee and Scott Laughton.

So far, here’s been all that and then some.

Serving as the middle man sandwiched between two of the team’s top shooters, Farabee and long-time friend Atkinson, Brassard is averaging an assist per game over the first four games of the season, with a goal of his own to round out his points total at five.

And the best part? Brassard has only attempted six total shots, including four on goal.

Sidebar: If I were playing on a line with Cam and Joel, I wouldn’t be putting up more than a shot per game either.

Brassard had been making good decisions with the puck on his stick, allowing a single turnover versus a little over 56 minutes on the ice, and most importantly of all, is making sure his teammates are in the best possible position to score, which the line has been doing at a clip of two goals per game.

Unsurprisingly enough, that is the best mark of any line on the team, even better than Vigneault’s top line of Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny, and Sean Couturier.

What? The Flyers have two lines with at least seven goals in four games? What is his feeling? Is it… joy?

Will Derick Brassard be able to keep this clip up all season long? Will he even retain his spot once his good friend Kevin Hayes takes the ice next month? And what about his future? Can the Philadelphia Flyers give the 34-year-old a home long-term to end his journeyman ways? Only time will tell, but needless to say, it’s going to be fun to watch.