Surely, most Penguins' fans felt nothing but excitement when news broke last February that a three-team trade would send 31-year old center Derick Brassard to Pittsburgh. Who could blame them? Brassard could be a first-line center on a handful of teams in the NHL and he would be slotting in behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on a pretty stacked top-nine front.
What nobody saw coming for this 'experiment' was it falling completely flat on its head. When Brassard has been healthy in his Penguins tenure he has had a revolving door of wingers since most everybody he plays with gets took away from him to play with Crosby and score a load of points.
After scoring 38 points in 58 games last year prior to the trade, he has only been able to put up 22 points in 53 games in a Penguins' uniform, adding a -6 plus/minus rating, significantly worse than his rating on his previous two teams. As the man to center the second power-play unit, he has only scored three points on what should be a solid power play. With two power-play assists this year while the Penguins have the fifth best power-play in the NHL.
Brassard has posted his worst CF% of his career through this season at an abysmal 43.6, putting him very close to the bottom of the league for centers.
To play devil's advocate in this situation, Brassard has had the lowest offensive zone starts and the highest defensive zone starts in his career so far this year. Additionally, his time in Pittsburgh has led to the lowest average time-on-ice of his career.
What's the verdict? You can't put a square peg in a round hole.
You can't expect Brassard to play great when he isn't being put into his ideal situation to be great, and that is nobody's fault. You can't blame the coach for not starting him in the offensive zone when it is a way better choice to have Crosby or Malkin's line take that face-off, and you can't blame him for not being able to make something out of nothing.
So, it is time to end the experiment and get some value for Brassard while it is still a possibility. It will be beneficial for both sides, as Brassard will be able to play in a more fitting role somewhere else and Pittsburgh can find a more efficient third-line center either within the organization or through the trade. Keeping in mind that Matt Cullen and Riley Sheahan still leave us with four centers.
Do not be surprised if Brassard gets moved and begins to play amazing elsewhere, and do not fret as the Penguins will likely benefit from any moves as well.