While Derick Brassard’s tenure with the Penguins hasn’t gone as well as they’d hoped, it doesn’t appear as if GM Jim Rutherford is as eager to shake things up down the middle as he was a year ago. Speaking with Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rutherford indicated that he’s not as determined as he was to upgrade that spot compared to this time last season:
I don’t know where things will go on the trade front, but I don’t feel the same urgency as I felt last year to strengthen our center position, which was a big need last year.
Brassard is in the final year of his contract and considering that Vegas is paying 40% of his $5MM salary, he’s not looking like a strong candidate to stick around with the Penguins beyond this season. However, when he’s on his game, he’s a capable top-six player and having some of those on the third line (his current linemates are wingers Tanner Pearson and Phil Kessel) can only help their chances in the postseason.
More from the Metropolitan:
- In an appearance on 97.1 The Fan (audio link), Blue Jackets head coach indicated that forward Nick Foligno is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday night. He has missed the last four games while his daughter underwent surgery. The 31-year-old will be a welcome addition back to the lineup as he sits fifth on the Blue Jackets while ranking fourth among Columbus forwards in ice time.
- A career season from Capitals winger Jakub Vrana may be enough to earn himself a long-term deal this summer, suggests J.J. Regan of NBC Sports Washington. The 23-year-old has already set a new career mark in goals with 14 and is just three points shy of matching his previous season-best set last year. Given GM Brian MacLellan’s willingness to lock up core players to long-term deals, it’s certainly reasonable to think they’ll try to do the same here. However, with over $68MM committed to just 14 players for next season, making room for another significant contract could be tricky. Vrana will be a restricted free agent this summer without salary arbitration rights.