Derick Brassard agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the New York Islanders on Wednesday. Financial terms were not released.
"It was a long process, obviously, and I just had to be patient with everything. I had a rough season last year, bouncing around teams," the 31-year-old center said. "I met with [general manager Lou Lamoriello] and [coach Barry Trotz] a few weeks back in New York, and when I look back on everything, I thought it was the best opportunity for me to be successful and help the team to win some games and get back to my old self."
Brassard was an unrestricted free agent who had 23 points (14 goals, nine assists) in 70 regular-season games for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche last season, and one assist in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Avalanche.
"[I'm looking to] just be my old self, make plays, be confident, skating, and just try to bring some offense and be good everywhere on the ice," Brassard said. "I know I can help this team. I had a bad eight or nine months. I felt like I played some good hockey the last couple of years, but for sure, people are going to think about what just happened. But for me, I'm just going to try to move on from that season and use it as motivation and come back even stronger. I think it was pretty much the first summer in a little while that I had no surgeries, no injuries, nothing, so I could focus training, skating and everything."
Brassard was traded twice last season; he had 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 40 games with the Penguins before he was traded to the Panthers on Feb. 1. He had four points (one goal, three assists) in 10 games with the Panthers and was traded to the Avalanche on Feb. 25; he scored four goals in 20 games with Colorado.
Video: Brassard agrees to one-year contract with Islanders
"I felt like I played some really good hockey in the last couple of years, I think I played more than 99 playoff games in the past six years, I played a World Championship, I had two surgeries (right shoulder)," Brassard said. "When you think about everything, that's a lot of hockey. In Pittsburgh, it wasn't the right fit for me, and then I was kind of bouncing around. I felt like it was really hard to get going. I'm just looking forward to bouncing back this year. I think that's a really good fit for me, playing there with the Islanders. They play four lines, they're in your face, they use everyone, and I'm just looking forward to having a big role on the team to help them to go back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs."
Selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the No. 6 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, Brassard has 451 points (176 goals, 275 assists) in 786 regular-season games with the Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Penguins, Panthers and Avalanche, and 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists) in 99 playoff games.
"I know the fans in the state of New York are really passionate about their teams. And I'm pretty familiar with playing in Long Island and playing against the Islanders when I was with the Rangers," Brassard said. "I think I've played well in New York under pressure. And now I'm really excited to be in Long Island and play in front of those fans. Just watching in the playoffs this year, when they beat Pittsburgh (in the Eastern Conference First Round), it was pretty interesting to see the atmosphere and how loud [Islanders fans] can be."
Brassard played with Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier in the Montreal pro league this offseason.
"I was talking to him about it and the first thing he told me is how dialed in the team is to play together, to be on the same page and play as a team," Brassard said. "That was one of the biggest reasons they had success in the last couple of years. For me, that fits really well. I played for three teams last year, so it was kind of hard to get going. And that's what l was looking for this summer. I know it's tough timing to be a free agent with the year I had, but I'm looking forward to meeting all the guys and playing with Anthony. I think we have a really good mix of veteran guys, some really good young players. I think it's going to fit well with me."
NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report