Will the Boston Bruins opt to keep disgruntled left winger Jake DeBrusk at the NHL trade deadline, rather than deal him away, with less than a week to go?
That’s what Hockey Night in Canada host and 32 Thoughts scribe Elliotte Friedman said he believed was going to happen while doing a TV hit on NHL Network on Monday night. Friedman mentioned that the Bruins were “going for a Stanley Cup”, with the assumption presumably that they’d only get future assets like draft picks or lesser NHL talent in exchange for DeBrusk.
Elliot Friedman tells NHL Network, “Boston is going for the Stanley Cup, I think he’s (Jake DeBrusk) staying” in Boston.
— Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon) March 14, 2022
It’s actually not a surprising development given the way DeBrusk has performed over the last couple of months using his speed and skill to create offense with 15 goals and 25 points in 54 games this season, and the generally strong part he’s played with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand since moving to right wing with them. Still, DeBrusk requested a trade around the holidays, and it was expected that the Boston Bruins were going to try and accommodate him.
After all, it’s pretty much a lock that the Boston Bruins aren’t going to tender him his $4 million plus qualifying offer as a free agent during the offseason. Instead, they’ll likely walk away from an unsigned DeBrusk as they did with RFAs Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie at the end of last season, and in doing so get zero compensation for the outgoing asset. But there’s also no doubt the other 31 NHL teams knew that was a likely scenario going into this season and are similarly unlikely to give DeBrusk that kind of money following the season.
The real question becomes how DeBrusk reacts to sticking around the Boston Bruins for a few more months even if his trade request isn’t ultimately realized.
Will the 25-year-old sink back into the bad habits that got him into trouble in the recent past with disengaged play and cold streaks, or will he continue to play like a guy that seemed motivated to show other potentially interested teams that he still had game after struggling over the last few seasons?
DeBrusk has one point in six games during the month of March and only has more than two shots on net in one of them, so he’s definitely tailed off in recent weeks with the trade deadline straight ahead for him and the Bruins.
If DeBrusk remains with the B’s, it also probably limits what the Boston Bruins are going to do at the deadline. There wouldn’t be a logical spot for a center after the Bruins have presumably been scouting Claude Giroux for the last few weeks, and the same goes for possible trade bait Anaheim Ducks right wing Rickard Rakell.
So DeBrusk staying put might just mean that the Boston Bruins are full steam ahead to deal for a left shot defenseman at the NHL trade deadline, but we’ll have to stay tuned to see how it all shakes out based on Friedman’s sense of the situation.