MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 22: at Ice Palace on May 22, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images)

NHL: One player to watch heading into the 2016-17 season: Part III

Ottawa Senators: Derick Brassard

The Ottawa Senators have been searching for a top line centre since trading captain Jason Spezza in 2014, and this off-season, they finally managed to net one, landing Derick Brassard from the New York Rangers. But despite filling a vital need, Ottawa still could not escape the ire of supporters nor NHL fans, with the move being labeled as “overly conservative”. But why? Brassard is a fantastic two way forward who is in his prime and is a great play maker and puck controller. He fills all the needs of a first line centre for the Senators. But it was nothing to do with Brassard – the Sens gave up immensely promising young centre Mika Zibanejad, coming off a career year, to bring the Quebec native to The Palladium. Ottawa are one of the many teams in the league working on a budget, and thought of paying Zibanejad what he’s worth when he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season was keeping gm Pierre Dorion up at night, and that fear ended up eating through him. Derick Brassard has had an impressive couple of seasons, recording 60 and 58 points respectively, but it will take an even bigger effort to erase Z Bad from the minds of Senators fans.

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