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TimeJul 19, 2016

Brassard v Zibanejad

Photo: David Hahn/Icon Sportswire

See Ranking Scale below for placement on the average NHL forward roster

Derick Brassard has played 8 seasons in the NHL and is 28. He has averaged .68 points per game over his career and approximately .58 points per game in his first 3 seasons.

Mika Zibanejad has played the better part of 3 and a half seasons in the NHL and is 23. He has averaged .57 points per game.

Based on play-by-play analysis, Brassard and Zibanejad's overall performance, over the past three years is very similar. Brassard has a slight 1.2% contribution advantage, ranking 120 (of 360) to Zibanejad's 128 (of 360). Both forwards rank as 2nd liners.

At Even Strength per game Brassard has a 7.1% advantage but on a per 10 min basis, Zibanejad overtakes Brassard in all game situations and at even strength, by 5.4% and 4.8% respectively.

On overall offense Brassard leads by 8.9%, and at even strength per game by 14.3%, but on a per 10 min basis the gap narrows considerably to a 2.1% advantage for Brassard. Brassard 112 (of 360) and Zibanejad 122 (of 360) both rank as 2nd liners offensively.

In offensive game situations, Brassard has a 26.1% advantage in Offensive Zone Play and is 16.4% stronger on the Rush. Zibanejad contributes much more than Brassard on the Breakout, 224% more.

On defense neither player ranks well but Zibanejad is the clear winner, contributing just over twice as much as Brassard. Zibanejad (247 of 360) ranks as a third liner defensively while Brassard (360+) ranks just outside of the 4th line.

In Defensive Zone Coverage Zibanejad is much stronger, but they are similar on Rush Defend/Backcheck. On the Forcheck they both perform like 1st liners, with Zibanejad having a 7.4% advantage.

Perception is that Brassard is the superior offensive player, and he is, but not as much as we think. In career time-on-ice, Brassard has averaged 36 seconds more at even strength, and 30 seconds more on the PP. This additional ice time accounts for part of Brassard's higher points-per-game average, but the biggest difference is how they deliver their offensive contributions.

Brassard makes 66.7% more High Impact - Positive Offensive Plays (Great plays) than Zibanejad. These are primarily in the form of passes in the offensive zone. Zibanejad makes more Low Impact - Positive Offensive Plays (Good plays) than Brassard. Is Zibanejad capable of making more Great offensive plays as he matures as player?

Note: Over the last two years of data, at overall performance 'per game', and ranking just Centers, Brassard 36 (of 120) ranks as an upper 2nd liner to Zibanejad’s 52 (of 120) ranking as a lower 2nd liner. A deeper analysis would track progress from season to season and 10 game segments within each season.

Who won the trade?

Time only tells for sure, but after 8 years in the league we expect the clay to be hardened more with Brassard than Zibanejad. This suggests Brassard's future may be more predictable, and that Zibanejad's future performance may factor more prominently on who won the trade.

From a potential and team defensive standpoint, the Rangers win, but if Brassard can continue to make those Great offensive plays the Sens are looking for, the trade could turn out very well for both sides.

Note: An interesting profile emerges when looking at the playing styles of these two centermen. Zibanejad is much stronger in DZC and on the Breakout.... a very important area of the ice. This is a positive indicator on the road to becoming the 'coveted' 200 foot player. This concept and profile is explained in more detail as TP looked closer at Pavel Datsyuk. It can be found here

Forward Ranking Scale

1-90 91-180 181-270 271-360 360+
1st Line 2nd Line 3rd Line 4th Line reserve

Center Ranking Scale

1-30 31-60 61-90 91-120 120+
1st Line 2nd Line 3rd Line 4th Line reserve



Offensive Plays


Defensive Plays

Learn more about OUR METHOD


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