By: Connor Green | Follow Me On Twitter @connorgreen777
Jake Debrusk has been a hot-button topic in the Boston market since the day he was drafted, and this season just made it unbearable. Debrusk was the #14 pick in the 2015 entry draft (chills); within that territory, there are certain expectations that He couldn’t fill consistently.
Now the Bruins are at a Debruskian crossroads. So much that the organization has finally come out to admit they should’ve taken their time with those three first-round picks in 2015. While, on one hand, it will be tough to admit defeat and move on from Debrusk as the Bruins have the opportunity to get a decent return on a player you are not looking to commit to long term.
So, we look at the contract, of course, right? Debrusk sits at $3.67 million against the cap for the ’21-’22 season; then, he will be a Restricted Free Agent with arbitration rights. As part of the contract structure, the salary in ’21-’22 will be $4.8 million in real dollars; this means his qualifying offer to retain his rights after this coming season would be AT MINIMUM $4.85 million. Let me stress that again, $4.85 million!! Debrusk has already said in interviews that he’s not interested in taking a hometown discount in Boston, and that should be all you need to hear right there.
Now, where does this take Debrusk? Right to the trading block, rumors have already started circulating with his name attached to it. So I will give you two trade scenarios I could see being realistic and how they would benefit the team.
1. Jake Debrusk to EDM in exchange for Jesse Pulijujarvi to BOS
Debrusk – 6’0” 188lbs – $3.675m AAV
Pulijujarvi – 6’4” 201lbs – $1.175m AAV
While looking at the options around moving Debrusk, you have to imagine where he is in your own lineup first. Debrusk, at best, is now your third line LW. Which in this offseason, the Bruins need to find value in their bottom-six forwards to help spread out the offense. Enter Jesse Pulijujarvi, originally scorned with bad press and perceived to have off-ice issues, Pulijujarvi has returned to EDM with a new attitude on the team, and it showed. In 55 games this season, Jesse produced 15G-10A-25P for a +6 rating.
Here’s why it works; the Bruins would need a third-line player if moving Debrusk, and the Oilers need scoring talent who can play with their top-end players. Pulijujarvi’s size, speed, and offensive ability would be on display around another bigger-bodied, speedy forward; Charlie Coyle. Then to finish off with the most important reason, you should jump on this as the Bruins; they would then save $2.5 million against the ’21-’22 cap.
2. Jake Debrusk, Urho Vaakanainen, 2022 2nd round pick to CAL in exchange for Johnny Gaudreau to BOS
Debrusk – 6’0” 188lbs – $3.675m AAV
Vaakanainen – 6’1” 185lbs – $894,167 AAV
Gaudreau – 5’9” 165lbs – $6.75m AAV
Here is the homer trade scenario that Bruins fans would be chomping at the bit for. Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau played his collegiate career at Boston College and spends time in the Boston area during his offseason. Calgary is in a retooling offseason in where they will most likely move on from one of their core players to free up cap space, hence this trade scenario.
CAL would receive a younger winger at a cheaper value, a defensive prospect who will play in the NHL soon, and a pick in the next draft along with a whopping $2.18 million in savings. While I think this is the most radical of trade predictions revolving around Debrusk, I think this is the one that will really get you into the realm of the Lightning, Avalanche, and Golden Knights for your roster. Slotting Johnny with Charlie Coyle on the third line AND having him available to be the centerpiece of your second power-play unit?! That addresses two major problems from the forward group.