Bruins Need to Trade Jake DeBrusk at the Deadline

(Photo Credit: Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

By: Joe Todd | Follow me on Twitter @heyjoetodd

The Boston Bruins should not be keeping Jake DeBrusk as “their own rental.”

Speaking with the NHL Network, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman suggested that because Boston is going for a Stanley Cup, he believes that means that Jake DeBrusk will stay in Boston beyond the NHL Trade Deadline. However, if management believes that Jake DeBrusk is the answer playing his off-wing on the first line, then the Bruins are truly not interested in going for a Stanley Cup in order to maximize the remaining years of Bergeron and Marchand. Keeping DeBrusk is a mistake for two main reasons.

1. The First Line Struggles.

DeBrusk was elevated to the first line on February 24th when the Bruins defeated the Kraken 3-2 in overtime. DeBrusk scored two goals that game, including the overtime winner. However, he was not on the ice with Bergeron or Marchand during either of them. Since that game, DeBrusk has four goals and two assists in eight games. These numbers are inflated by a four-point night against Los Angeles, where DeBrusk finished with a hat-trick to go along with one assist. The goals scored against LA were primarily due to a shaky night from Jonathan Quick.

This is a stoppable shot.
A gift.

He is currently on a four-game pointless streak as of March 15th’s game against the Blackhawks. Additionally, since DeBrusk’s debut on the first line, Bergeron and Marchand have a combined five goals. Bergeron has three of them, with two coming on the powerplay, and Marchand had two against San Jose but is currently on a seven-game goal-less streak.

According to moneypuck.com, the line of Marchand – Bergeron – DeBrusk are dead last on the team in terms of actual goals with over 75 minutes of time on ice; however, they are second only to Marchand – Bergeron – Smith in terms of expected goals, with 71.8% in over 100 minutes. This could just be a slump, and they have just simply been unable to score on their high-quality chances, but can the front office afford to have the streaky winger support their best players? While DeBrusk has looked better on the right-side this year than he did last year, I believe that his left-handedness has started to affect Marchand and Bergeron, who are used to playing with a right-handed winger in either Pastrnak or Smith. If the Bruins are serious about winning a cup and maximizing Bergeron and Marchand, Sweeney will need to acquire a right-handed winger at the deadline.

2. Jake DeBrusk does not want to be a Bruin.

We all know that Jake DeBrusk made a public trade request. We know that his relationship with Bruce Cassidy has been broken beyond reasonable repair, thus the request. After his overtime winner against Seattle, DeBrusk faced the media for the first time since his trade request. He had a chance to rescind the request, and he did not. He elected to “plead the fifth” on all questions. While I admire DeBrusk’s professionalism throughout the year and his willingness to “not be a distraction,” he will surely be one come playoffs. The Bruins players have appeared to be nothing but supportive regarding the young winger. However, if his struggles continue in the regular season and into the playoffs, surely his commitment to the team will be questioned by fans, media, and perhaps the players.

The Bruins need to bring in a right-handed winger at the trade deadline. They need a player who wants to be a Boston Bruin and is excited about the opportunity to compete for a Stanley Cup. They cannot rely on a streaky winger with questionable commitment if they are serious about winning now.

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