Last summer, Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk requested a trade. In late November following a game against the Vancouver Canucks where the 25-year-old was a healthy scratch, it was made public that DeBrusk had made the request over the summer. It appeared to be only a matter of time before general manager (GM) Don Sweeney would honor his request, but Monday morning, five hours before the trade deadline, the Bruins announced a two-year contract extension with DeBrusk.
Re-signing him is a bit of a surprise, but he was due a $4.4 million qualifying offer this summer and was going to be a restricted free agent and this signing could be part of a sign and trade before the deadline at 3 o’clock. Elliotte Friedman reported after the Bruins announced the extension that DeBrusk has not rescinded his trade request and re-signing him wipes out the concern of the qualifying offer for any team that acquires him in a trade.
DeBrusk Has Been Playing Well Lately
On Feb. 24, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy moved DeBrusk up from the fourth-line to the first line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. The 14th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft has six goals and three assists in his time on the first line. He has been a better player overall with his skating game, forecheck, being aggressive shooting the puck, and being a net-front presence. He has 15 goals and 11 assists this season.
There is no doubt that DeBrusk has the talent to be a 20 or even a 30-goal scorer. He scored a career-high 27 goals with 15 assists in 2018-19 before scoring four goals and dishing out seven assists in 24 playoff games during the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Final. In 2017-18, he had a career-high 27 assists and added 16 goals for a career-high 43 points. He took his game to another level on the second line with David Krejci and despite having a revolving door on the right wing, he was one of Boston’s up-and-coming young players.
What Happens From Here?
If this is a move to lock up DeBrusk for two more seasons, it would be a bit of a surprise considering his trade request. He has not spoken publicly with the media about his trade request, but it’s hard to believe that he has had a change of heart to stick it out for two more seasons in Boston. It has been hard for Sweeney to deal as Marchand has received two suspensions since late November for a total of nine games and DeBrusk has been needed for left wing depth.
A possible sticking point for teams looking to acquire DeBrusk is the $4.4 million qualifying offer that he was due this summer. Teams might be hesitant to make a deal and pay him that qualifying offer. Sweeney could make DeBrusk more desirable in a trade by re-signing him to this deal, which would allow a team acquiring him to have two seasons of control of him.
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Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.