With a sudden logjam at the center position, there was talk that the Pittsburgh Penguins might look to unload someone with the name of Derick Brassard being near the top of the list. However, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the Penguins may now be looking to do something different instead.
The scribe writes that the Penguins intend to experiment with Brassard in hopes of converting the long-time center to the wing and move him up a line. The 30-year-old has played in 716 NHL games and has never played anywhere other than center. However, the belief is that with his skating and shooting skills, Brassard might be a solid wing option for either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin and would free up room for others to fill in the bottom-six center roles.
While Brassard was having a solid season with Ottawa, posting 18 goals in 58 games, he didn’t thrive as well in a lesser role in Pittsburgh, where he went from averaging 18:21 ATOI to 15:12 with the Penguins. However, an increased role in the team’s top-six could be exactly what Brassard and the Penguins both need.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets may be getting close to signing one of their restricted free agents as The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reports that the Blue Jackets and Oliver Bjorkstrand are closing in on a deal. Portzline follows that up by reporting that his sources say they are not buying out any of his unrestricted free agent years, suggesting it is likely to be a bridge deal, most likely for two or three years. The 23-year-old winger put up a solid season last year for Columbus, posting double-digit goals for the first time in his career, posting 11 goals and 40 points. Bjorkstrand just finished up his entry-level deal and was paid $872K.
- New Jersey Devils prospect John Quenneville had high expectations coming into the 2017-18 season, but various injuries held him back and the 2013 first-round pick is starting to run out of chances to develop into the highly-touted prospect. In fact, in the team’s exit meeting with Queenville, the team was quite frank with the 22-year-old, telling him to get into shape. The Athletic’s Corey Masisak (subscription required) writes that Quenneville has done just that this offseason, working with a sports trainer alongside many athletes, including the New York Islanders’ Johnny Boychuk. He has already got himself to 210 pounds with just 9.3 percent body weight in hopes of finding a regular role in New Jersey. He only played two games for New Jersey and managed just 43 in Binghampton, posting 14 goals and 34 points.