The news that Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk has rescinded his trade request after the coaching change with Bruce Cassidy certainly sheds some light on the situation, doesn’t it?
The 25-year-old winger has taken back his trade request after a conversation last week between DeBrusk’s agent Rick Valette and Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney, per a report from TSN reporter Ryan Rishaug.
Jake DeBrusk’s agent Rick Valette spoke with Bruins GM Don Sweeney last week and informed him that DeBrusks trade request was rescinded, and that he’d be happy to remain a Bruin moving forward. DeBrusk has 2 years left at 4m, and could still be moved but unlikely at this point.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) July 4, 2022
“He’d be happy to remain a Bruin moving forward,” according to Rishaug relaying the convo between agent and Boston Bruins executive.
There was plenty of smoke behind departed Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy being at the heart of DeBrusk’s discontent with the only NHL team he’d ever known, though neither party ever came out and wholly confirmed it. Cassidy and DeBrusk managed to put any differences aside down the stretch this season with the winger playing on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and largely returning to form with 25 goals and 42 points in 77 games for the Bruins last season.
Jake DeBrusk was noncommittal when asked how he felt about coming back to Boston when asked about it back in May after Boston’s first round exit, but clearly that has changed a few months later.
“It was kind of nice to not think about it there since the [trade] deadline,” admitted DeBrusk. “I’ve been spending lots of time with the boys here. It’s been two days. I’ll go back home with my family and kind of go over the year more thoroughly and then kind of make my call from there. That’s kind of where I’m at.”
This came just a few months after DeBrusk’s trade request went public in the middle of the season following a healthy scratch in November that seemed to be the last straw. Bruce Cassidy called out DeBrusk while kicking him up to the press box after a couple of seasons where the winger’s play had clearly declined, and shortly afterward the trade request was made public.
“Just help us win, Jake,” said Cassidy. “Get out there and play to your strengths and we’ll coach you up on the things that you need to get better on. Just be one of 20 guys to help us win.”
The winger signed a two-year contract extension just ahead of the NHL trade deadline presumably to make him easier to trade, but DeBrusk was never moved leaving some question as to what his fate would be this offseason.
It was going to be difficult to move DeBrusk this summer with Brad Marchand out of commission for the first few months of next season following double-hip surgery, but now there would seem to be no need to the move last month to fire Cassidy.
Don Sweeney confirmed at that time that creating a positive environment for the young Boston Bruins players was high on the priority list for the new coach, the newly hired Jim Montgomery.
“The coach has to have the communication skills to be able to bridge that gap with older and younger players. I think that’s paramount now with integration. As I said, in a perfect world, all players are overcooked or overbaked. Kenny Holland and my [general manager] peer group have used that terminology. We won’t be any different,” said Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney last month when announcing the Cassidy firing. “But I go back, you’ve asked me about the Lysells of the world. Only when they’re ready. I mean, David Pastrnak is a great example of that a number of years ago. We didn’t necessarily believe he was ready, but he came in and scored against Philadelphia and next thing you know, he’s in our lineup for the rest of the year and impactful moving forward.
“Those will be the challenges that we try and find the balance of development and an infusion of talent, and the new coach is going to have to be able to communicate and bridge that gap from older players, communicating with them and holding them to a standard that I think we all feel is necessary. And in this town, it is necessary to hold a team to a competitive standard. That coach has to walk that walk.”
Reading between the lines it feels like DeBrusk was one of the young Boston Bruins players in the B’s dressing room that wasn’t happy with Cassidy, and that the popular winger was probably far from the only of the B’s players in their 20’s that fit squarely in that category.