Derick Brassard raring to make mark on home ice with Senators
Gatineau native acquired in trade with New York Rangers in July
For Derick Brassard, playing for the Ottawa Senators is a sweet homecoming of sorts, and he says he's eager to help the team win in front of friends and family this upcoming season.
The 28-year-old centre met the Ottawa media for the first time Friday since he was acquired in a trade from the New York Rangers in July.
The Gatineau native says coming here is a "proud moment," and he's "really, really, excited" to play for the Sens.
"Just the fact that I'm gonna play in front of my friends and my family, I think it's gonna give me another edge to my game," said Brassard. "And I think I'm in the prime of my career right now."
He admits when he first learned of the trade by a text message from former teammate Martin St. Louis, he was shocked.
But now he's looking forward to meeting his new teammates and developing a winning chemistry with the new NHL season just around the corner. As a left-handed centre, he wants to provide wingers with more scoring opportunities as a top-six forward.
'He brings experience'
That's Senators general manager Pierre Dorion's vision for Brassard. "I think he improves our top six forwards right away," said Dorion.
"We haven't had a left-handed centreman play-making type for quite a few years. I think he brings experience. He brings a love and passion to the game."
Dorion believes the hometown element will be a positive factor too.
"I think you take pride. All your family's here. A lot of your friends are here. So most of the time you're gonna play 41 games in front of them, so I think you're gonna play hard those 41 games. So I think it definitely adds something," he said.
Brassard will wear number 19 — a jersey not worn in Ottawa since the Jason Spezza era. Going forward, he believes the Sens can create "something special" this season.
"We're a big team. We're tough. We have a lot of speed and skill, and we have a good goalie," he said.
"So if we put everything together and we're confident and take one game at a time, I think this team could achieve a lot."