With the NHL trade deadline five days away, things are getting interesting around the NHL and with the Boston Bruins. In this edition of Bruins Weekly, could a former first-round draft pick have played his last home game for the Black and Gold, a four-game road trip will feature more possible trade targets, a first-year Bruin reaches a milestone, and more.
Has DeBrusk Play His Last Game at TD Garden Wearing the Spoked-B?
In late November, Jake DeBrusk requested a trade from the Bruins through his agent and three and a half months later, he’s still a part of the Black and Gold. Since being moved up to the first line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, he has six goals and two assists in nine games. Despite his recent play, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft still would like a change of scenery before 3 o’clock on Monday. According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, DeBrusk’s agent, Rick Valette, has told teams that the 25-year-old is open to discussing an extension prior to a trade to facilitate his way out of Boston.
“(Valette) has informed teams that they’re willing to work on an extension to facilitate a deal because a lot of teams are concerned about that $4.4 million qualifying offer to retain his rights this summer,” LeBrun said on TSN’s Insider Trading segment. “Maybe an extension at a cheaper price and everyone goes home happy.”
If Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes ends up being DeBrusk’s last game as a member of the Bruins at the TD Garden, that would put a bow of disaster on the 2015 Draft that has turned into a complete disaster for Sweeney and Boston. Jakub Zboril, selected 13th overall is out injured for the remainder of the season and the 15th pick, Zach Senyshyn has also requested a trade while playing in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Providence Bruins.
Bruins the Hit Road Against Possible Trade Targets
Following Tuesday night’s 2-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks to kick off the road trip, it’s a four-game trip that ends against the Montreal Canadiens on March 21, the day of the trade deadline. The game against the Blackhawks allowed the Black and Gold another look at defenseman Calvin de Hann and Boston’s third game on the trip Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets offers them an up-close look at Andrew Copp, who the Jets are expected to take calls on.
Copp would be a middle-six addition for the Bruins and comes with a $3.64 million cap hit and he will be a free agent following the season. Winnipeg has slipped in the Western Conference standings and with no talks between Copp and the team about an extension, he will be a sought-after pickup by multiple teams, including Boston. He has 13 goals and 19 assists this season for the Jets and the 27-year-old has won 53.8-percent (%) of his faceoffs. Erik Haula has been playing well on the second line between Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak, but Copp could be a nice addition for the stretch run and postseason.
Foligno Reaches Milestone in Chicago
Last summer, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney signed three bottom-six forwards to remake the look of the bottom-six. One of those veterans, Nick Foligno reached a milestone on Tuesday night against the Blackhawks on his first shift. He played in his 1,000th career game, his 43rd as a member of the Bruins. His line started the game and like they did when Boston faced the Columbus Blue Jackets nearly two weeks ago on the road, he wore the second “A” against Chicago.
He is in his 15th NHL season and is playing for his fourth team. He played 599 games for the Blue Jackets, 351 for the Ottawa Senators, and seven for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Foligno joins his father Mike in the 1,000 games played club. Mike played 1,018 games over 15 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, and Florida Panthers.
“It’s something I’m definitely proud of, to be able to make an impact this long. It’s something I saw my Dad do as a kid. I had the silver stick at my house. Could barely lift it as a kid, now I can finally hold it.”Nick Foligno (from ‘Bruins Notebook: Nick Foligno approaching major milestone’, Boston Herald, March 13, 2022)
Foligno signed a two-year contract that carries a cap hit of $3.8 million and he has two goals with nine assists, while averaging 13:22 a night this season. He is closing in on another milestone as his career total of 205 goals and 292 assists leave him three points shy of 500.
Pastrnak & Bruins Flip Troubling Trend Against Chicago
Prior to playing the Blackhawks at home on March 10, the Bruins were showing signs of a troubling trend, giving up last-minute goals in three of their last four games, which included a regulation loss to the Anaheim Ducks and an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Against the Blackhawks, the Black and Gold was able to be on the other side of a late third-period goal.
Tied 3-3 with 17 seconds left in the game, Pastrnak had a bouncing puck find him alone in front of Chicago goalie Kevin Lankinen and the Bruins second-line right wing buried the game-winning goal under the crossbar. It was Pastrnak’s 33rd goal of the season and his 25th since Jan. 1, as he continues to be on fire since being placed on a line with Haula and Taylor Hall on Jan. 1. It was his second goal of the game and his 43rd career multi-goal game.
Pastrnak has vaulted to seventh in the league for goals, 12 behind the leader Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs. On Jan. 1, how many people had Pastrnak in the Top 10 of goals scored by mid-March? Not many.
The Week Ahead
- Wednesday: at Minnesota Wild, 7:30 p.m.
- Friday: at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m.
- Monday: at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m.
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.