Brassard Determined to Replace Zibanejad - On and Off the Ice

by Rob Poirier (@RobFeature)

On July 18th, the Ottawa Senators traded Mika Zibanejad to the New York Rangers in exchange for center Derick Brassard. The move was meant to signify that, after a string of disappointing seasons, the Senators were serious about returning to their winning ways.

Zibanejad had been drafted sixth overall by the Senators just five years ago (their highest pick since selecting Jason Spezza at number two in 2001) and was intended to be a big part of the team's future. But even after recording career-highs in goals, assists, and points last season, Zibanejad could not alleviate concerns regarding his attitude and conditioning levels, which ultimately led the Senators to part ways with their young asset.

Enter Brassard.

A native of nearby Hull, Quebec, Derick Brassard has thus far spent parts of his NHL career with both the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Rangers. Like Zibanejad, he too notched a career-high in goals last season, potting 27. But where the Senators believe that the two players differ is reliability. While it was often difficult to predict Zibanejad's output, the team believes that, at 29 years of age, Brassard is a known quantity.

"He's an experienced NHL player," General Manager Pierre Dorion explained. "You know what you can expect from him. What you see is what you get."

Speaking after his Senators debut last night (in which he scored a goal) Brassard talked about the inevitable comparisons between himself and Zibanejad (who also scored in his Rangers debut), and whether he felt any pressure to replace what Mika brought to the team and city.

"You know, I understand the temptation to try to compare guys who've been traded for one another, and I also understand how well-liked (Zibanejad) was in the room and how active he was within the community. And even though I want to play my game and be the player the folks here in Ottawa went out of their way to acquire, I also want to do my best to make sure no one feels like they've lost anything. So, to answer your question...

Hell yeah! I've been going to DJ school, homie!"

DJ Brass Ballz make ya'll freak (@Capital_Gains65)
"I was lowkey hittin' that gym hard, dog," Brassard stressed, before continuing in a whisper: "That's what I call my turntables: the gym."

So, while on-ice comparisons were to be expected, it sounds like Brassard is looking forward to competing with Zibanejad on the dancefloor as well.

"I'm a pro, yo! It's all about conditioning, you feel? And I made it my business to come to camp phatter and sicker than I'd ever been in my whole life!"

But Brassard may want to delay those comparisons for the time being. You see, during his time in Ottawa, Zibanejad was known to have played some of the city's hippest nightclubs. Brassard, however, is still working his way up.

"Well, I spun this kid's birthday party in Renfrew. Now, I don't like to brag or nothin' but I thought it was pretty FR-FR-FRESSSSHHHHHHH," he said, briefly miming a record-scratching motion before banging his elbow on the corner of a nearby wall and tearing up.

We reached out to the aforementioned birthday boy for comment.

"He kept playing this mashup of Macarena and Who Let the Dogs Out," the youngster explained. "Now my friends hate me. I wish I had never been pulled, screaming, into this world."

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