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The Edmonton Oilers are close to signing C Derick Brassard to a one-year contract, former Oilers tough guy Georges Laraque reported Tuesday night.

In a tweet, Laraque called it a “great signing.”

If true, it would mark a smart signing for the Oilers — a team still searching for a third-line centre to play behind Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Brassard, 31, played parts of last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche amassing 14 goals and nine assists in 70 games.

It was a year that saw him traded twice as he struggled to find a place to call home. Scoring his lowest point total in a season, Brassard also struggled to find ice time playing only 15 minutes a night. Despite that, he still would’ve ranked sixth in Oiler forwards in both goals, and points.

His drop in ice-time correlates with a drop in his primary scoring rates, too. Last year, he scored 1.0 points per hour (a fourth-line rate), getting third-line minutes and was largely caved in both shot rates and goal rates relative to his teammates.

The year before, when he potted 46 points in 72 games playing 17:44 a night, he was getting second-line minutes, scoring 1.8 points per hour (a first-line rate) and was much better in both shot, and goal rates relative to his teammates.

The drop, nonetheless, was sharp for him but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest he could bounce back to the mean this upcoming season. Age is no longer on his side, but that’s not to suggest he’s a useless player.

He could very well come back this season, regress to the mean of his NHL career of being a player who has scored 47 points per 82 games throughout. After all, he’s only a year removed from doing that.

While Laraque’s aforementioned report didn’t say what Brassard would potentially be signing for, with just under $2.5-million in cap space the Oilers don’t have a lot of room to work with. Much like many of the Oilers signings this offseason, inking Brassard would be a low-risk, moderate-to-high reward move.

On Twitter: @zjlaing


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