With all of the great prospects that the New York Rangers have in their pipeline, the Boston Bruins are sure to have an interest in what the Rangers have to offer. However, with the Blueshirts flying high and challenging for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, they may not feel a move is needed.
There could be a few scenarios, though, that would make both sides happy, and the Rangers wouldn’t need to shake the roster up too much. What should, or could, the cost be to get Jake DeBrusk, who’s disgruntled in Boston and asked general manager (GM) Don Sweeney to move him? Let’s take a look at what those scenarios might be.
What Debrusk Could Bring to the Rangers
DeBrusk is a two-way player who doesn’t mind going to dirty areas to make things happen. He can also shoot the puck pretty well. The 6-foot, 196-pound left winger can play up and down the lineup. He has no problem paying with skilled players while creating extra room on the ice, similar to the way his father Louie Debrusk did during his career, although Jake doesn’t throw the hands quite like his dad, who was a great enforcer. Louie had over 1,100 penalty minutes (PIMs) in 401 career games. Jake can also make amazing plays as well as mixing it up; like the series winner in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, similar to what Rangers forward Dryden Hunt did Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, and Sergei Federov was famous for doing.
DeBrusk came into the league in 2017-18. He had a solid rookie season, scoring 16 goals and 43 points. The following season he had 42 points while scoring a career-high 27 goals. His point production has declined in each of his five seasons, though two of the seasons were affected and shortened by COVID-19. What’s alarming is how poorly he played during the last season and thus far in the 2021-22 season. His production has gone way down if you pro-rate it to a full regular-season schedule.
During the 2020-21 season, he only had five goals and 14 points in 41 games. So far this season, DeBrusk has three goals and six points in 18 games played. The former 2015, 14th-overall pick is hoping a change of scenery will shake him up and get back to scoring 20 goals and over 40 points, or better. He was a healthy scratch for several games last season and for the first time in 2021-22, he was scratched last Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Edmonton, Alberta, native said this of his play last season, “It wasn’t what I wanted or the team wanted in retrospect, so [I] obviously want to improve on it. Pretty much forgot my whole career. Whether it was the 27-goal season or last year, I’m clean-slating it. I think it’s a pivotal point in my career as well. So, [I’m] just trying to do the little things every day, just take it day by day and not look too far in advance or anything in the past.”
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said, “I think what happens with Jake and what we’ve seen over the last few years is, like when the production is there you’re getting more second effort, they kind of go hand in hand,” Cassidy told reporters. “When it’s not there, we lose a little bit of that. That’s been the ask of him for a number of years now — no drop off on this side of the ledger just because the production isn’t there.”
Something else to pack on top of this is that DeBrusk has performed pretty well in the playoffs. When he does take faceoffs he’s very capable, which the Rangers can use at times. So far this season, he has a 57.14 faceoff percentage (FO%).
DeBbrusk is in the final season of a two-year contract at $3.675 million per. He’ll become a restricted free agent (RFA) in the offseason. The Rangers can easily take on his contract since they have just over $7 million in cap space — that’s if they only trade prospects. If they trade someone on the roster, they might even free up more space to make a move at the deadline for high-priced talent.
The Trade – Georgiev or Kravtsov?
Since the Rangers have a wealth of riches in their prospect pool, they can afford to make a move without hurting themselves. Some scenarios to ponder are possibly moving Alexandar Georgiev since Igor Shesterkin has a stranglehold on the No. 1 goaltender spot. The team might need to throw a prospect or two in there, but possibly not. A 1-for-1 might not be out of the question.
Georgiev has proven he’s good enough to be a No.1 goalie; he’s just behind a former Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) nominee and a guy that’s in Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie) talk. Like DeBrusk, Georgiev is 25 years old and will be an RFA this summer. He’s making $2.425 million this season.
Another thing to note is the Bruins’ goalie situation. They currently have Jeremy Swayman, who’s a rookie, and Linus Ullmark, who’s in his seventh NHL season and just signed a four-year, $20 million contract over the summer. Swayman is playing a bit better in the Bruins’ crease of late. He’s got a 2.42 goals-against average (GAA) in 10 games while Ullmark is at 2.68 in nine games.
The other thing is the Tukka Rask situation. Rask, who had hip surgery in the offseason, is back skating at the Burins facility hoping to come back as early as January. However, no one knows what Rask will be able to play like after the injury and time off. Basically, it all depends on how highly the Bruins think of Georgiev if they want to go that route. The Rangers have Adam Huska, Francios Brassard and Keith Kinkaid in Hartford. Kinkaid has NHL experience appearing in nine games last season with a 2.59 GAA. They also have Tyler Wall in the ECHL, who’s high on the goalie depth chart.
Another scenario is to trade disgruntled prospect Vitaly Kravtsov, who’s 22 years old and refused to take his assignment with affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack at the start of the season. He’s back with Traktor in the KHL. The team might be able to make this trade 1-for-1, too, or he might be moved with another prospect in the Rangers’ pipeline. That would be determined by the Bruins’ need in their system as far as offense or defense.
What Makes Sense?
Does it make sense to go after DeBrusk? He certainly can help come playoff time if he plays like he’s capable of. The cap numbers make sense and the Rangers have the talent pool to offer the Bruins extreme value. The question is do the Rangers want to move Georgiev or keep him as one of the better backups in the NHL? Or, can the Rangers make a clean break with Kravtsov and bring in some two-way grit that can score big playoff goals? I think it would be a good move for the Rangers and bolster their playoff roster. I would also love to hear if you’d consider going after DeBrusk and what kind of deal you’d make.
Latest News & Highlights
Scott Blair is an author and journalist from Los Angeles, CA, by way of Detroit, MI. Uniquely diverse experiences have shaped Scott’s life in both of those places he calls home. He is now traveling the world, learning and growing as a human and a writer. He was a professional hockey player and then turned to the arts, becoming an actor for about 15 years. His passions turned to poetry, prose, politics, and journalism when he got tired of the Hollywood machine and what it represents. Scott is available for interviews and welcomes questions and topic ideas.