By Matt Calamia (Twitter)
While the 2013 season may have come to an end, John Moore and Derick Brassard are hopeful it was only the start of something special in the Big Apple.
The two — along with Derek Dorsett — were acquired by the Rangers at the trade deadline in April in exchange for Marian Gaborik, and made immediate impacts with their new team. After arriving at Madison Square Garden minutes before the drop of the puck on April 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Brassard posted a goal and three assists, while Moore added his first goal of the season.
While Brassard put up numbers in Columbus, he did it with more regularity in New York, posting 11 points in 13 games. Moore, though, had the best stretch of his young NHL career, registering six points in 13 games after having just one assist in 17 games in Columbus prior to the trade. Last season, during his first NHL campaign, the 22-year-old had seven points in 67 games.
“It’s really refreshing going into the summer realizing that there’s a real opportunity here for me to grow my game,” Moore said. “It’s going to make my approach to offseason training that much more intense. The onus falls on me to come in here and be in good shape, ready to go for camp.”
While the increased point production from Moore was a positive, so too was his increased role on the blueline, especially in the playoffs when he logged more than 20 minutes on four different occasions after not doing it once during the regular season. Moore said he is hopeful to build on that experience heading into his first full season with the Rangers.
“The expectations are going to come from myself,” he added. “I’m going to hold myself to a high standard. I have a really good opportunity here and going into the summer, it’s going to be very big for me.”
Brassard, meanwhile, grabbed headlines nearly every night during his first playoff when he posted 12 points in 12 games, including 10 assists. The 26-year-old said he learned a lot during his first crack at the Stanley Cup, and, like Moore, will use that experience next season.
“I learned with the playoffs, it’s a grind,” Brassard said. “I learned about self-discipline and how hard I’m going to work this summer to be ready. I’m just really excited to be here. I think I can bring a lot” to the team.
While Moore said there wasn’t much of an adjustment to his game on the ice — though he’s still adjusting to sleeping in a noisy city — Brassard said the trade to New York re-energized his game.
“When I got traded,” Brassard said, “honestly I felt so good inside of me, just to be here and have a new start. I love the game and I play with emotion every night.”
With the 2013 season behind them, the duo is already looking ahead to next season and beyond.
Moore said he’s learned a lot from playing with Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and the rest of the Rangers blueline, which has greatly helped him in his development both at and away from the rink.
“For me to see those guys … and the way they prepare and their professionalism day in and day out away from the rink, that’s really priceless for someone like me to look up and see that.”
Brassard, meanwhile, said he believes the team will turn the disappointment of this season into a positive.
“I think we have a really good team, the game group of guys [will be back next year,” he said. “I think we learned a lot from our loss against Boston, and we just need to bring it next year.”
What did you think of Moore and Brassard's play after the trade? How excited are you to see them next season? Tell us in the comments below.