Marchand Injury Could Help Boost DeBrusk’s Trade Value for Bruins

When a superstar gets injured, it’s never a good thing for a team in the NHL. While there can be silver linings and saving-graces, there’s no pretending that things will be better without the player in the lineup than they would be with them. This is especially true in the case of Brad Marchand who went down with an injury during Thursday’s 4-3 victory for the Boston Bruins against the Washington Capitals.

Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand left the Boston Bruins 4-3 victory against the Washington Capitals with an upper-body injury (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The veteran winger has scored 20 goals and 43 points in 31 games so far this season and has been far-and-away the Bruins’ Most Valuable Player given his consistent production. The injury came as a result of a hit by Capitals’ forward Garnet Hathaway that drew the ire of head coach Bruce Cassidy who deemed the play to be a cheap hit.

Marchand would briefly return from the injury but would leave the game again shortly thereafter.

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe

Losing Marchand for any extended period of time would certainly hurt the Bruins who have been playing extremely well since the start of the 2022 calendar year. With the exception of a 7-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 18, the Bruins have played well in each contest since the start of the new year with Cassidy making some very crucial lineup changes. The team is now 9-2-0 with these new lines and have beaten some of the NHL’s best teams in that stretch including the Capitals twice, the Nashville Predators and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

As mentioned, the injury to Marchand can’t be spun in a way that will make fans or the coaching staff happy that he’s out of the lineup. Should he miss some time, though, there is some good that could come out of it if the Bruins play their cards right.

Before looking at that though, let’s take a look at Jake DeBrusk and the ongoing situation surrounding him and his future with the team.

Jake DeBrusk Can Boost Trade Value if Marchand Misses Games

With DeBrusk requesting a trade away from the Bruins, the team is going to have to navigate the Trade Deadline in an interesting manner. On the one hand, the Bruins are good enough that they will almost certainly be buyers when the deadline rolls around. On the other hand, though, they’re also going to have to figure out how to manage the DeBrusk situation as he could be considered a negative asset given his production and $3.675 million cap hit this season (though acquiring him will cost less than half of that should it come around the Trade Deadline).

Trading valuable assets for a disgruntled winger who has six goals and 12 points in 32 games and who only had five goals and 14 points in 41 games a season ago may be a hard sell for a lot of teams in the NHL. The good thing for the Bruins, though, is that a team looking to acquire DeBrusk won’t simply be looking at the stat sheet to identify whether or not he’s a player worth kicking tires on.

Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins
Jake DeBrusk has been electric for the Boston Bruins since requesting a trade (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

DeBrusk did score and record an assist in the Bruins victory against the Capitals, but prior to that, goals and points in general have been hard to come by for him.

On the surface, it may seem like he’s not engaged enough and he’s just coasting from shift to shift. Admittedly, this has been true of DeBrusk in the past and he has undoubtedly gone through cold spells where his presence in a game is of little to no importance. That cannot be said as of late for DeBrusk, though, as he’s been electric to watch with the new lineup in place.

While he may not have the value of a player who once scored 27 goals in a season, his value should be gaining traction on a day-by-day basis given how well he’s played alongside Charlie Coyle on the team’s third line. If the Bruins could get this type of consistent play from DeBrusk, they’d definitely want to keep him in a black and gold uniform for the foreseeable future. As it stands, though, DeBrusk hasn’t rescinded his trade request and the Bruins will have to keep that in mind as the Trade Deadline approaches.

This is where the Marchand injury comes into play.

DeBrusk Has Golden Opportunity on Bruins’ First Line

With a hole open on the left side of Patrice Bergeron and Craig Smith’s line, the Bruins slid DeBrusk into Marchand’s usual spot and it resulted in a goal and an assist for the 25-year-old winger. This was his first goal since Dec. 9 when he scored against this hometown Edmonton Oilers.

The assist would also be crucial to the Bruins win as it came on a beautiful feed to Charlie McAvoy who scored the eventual game-winning goal with just 45 seconds remaining in the third period.

Related: 4 Potential Landing Spots for Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk

“It was a great play by [Jake DeBrusk] to buy time, and I had a feeling he was going to see me,” McAvoy said of the goal. “I was able to just get that shot through, and to see it go in, I know I was feeling excited.” 

Moving forward, the Bruins should continue to use DeBrusk on their top line until Marchand is healthy. This would allow for Oskar Steen to slide back into the lineup on the Bruins’ third line while also keeping the rolling second line intact.

This stretch of time alongside Bergeron and Smith could be an unbelievable opportunity for DeBrusk to showcase that he still has the ability to be a top-six player in the NHL. This is huge for him as he’s set to be a restricted free agent this coming offseason. Whether he has a change of heart and signs an extension with the Bruins or he gets traded and signs somewhere else, boosting his value in a contract year would be the best-case scenario for DeBrusk.

Sign up for our regular 'Bruins Newsletter' for all the latest.

His teammates and coaching staff love him in Boston, but if he wants to play elsewhere, that’s something they’ll have to consider.

For the Bruins, this is the ultimate showcase opportunity as teams will get to see what they could get in DeBrusk. If he can play at this level and start to convert some of these excellent shifts into points, he could flip the script on his value and actually become a positive asset for the Bruins as they look to bolster their team for a playoff run.

Marchand’s injury may not be good for the Bruins, but there’s nothing they can do about it now. What they can do, however, is make the most of this time to get production out of DeBrusk and hope for a speedy recovery from Marchand.