It’s been over two months since Jake DeBrusk’s trade request went public, and even longer since DeBrusk’s camp first approached the Bruins and requested that they give DeBrusk a fresh start elsewhere.
But DeBrusk is still very much a Bruin, and Don Sweeney is in no rush to trade DeBrusk for pennies on the dollar, as he explained to Bob Beers and Judd Sirott during a Tuesday intermission appearance on the Bruins Radio Network.
“Before we make any moves, we have to do what’s in the best interest of Boston Bruins, and I’m going to continue to do so and Jake knows that,” Sweeney noted. “He’s been a professional about it. But it’s challenging because I hold him in high regard and I think the rest of the league does as well and knows what he’s capable of because he’s produced.
“Ultimately, we know what Jake can provide for our hockey club. We know him best and we’re not going to sell short.”
Couple of things there: This essentially confirmed that DeBrusk has not rescinded his trade request. DeBrusk has been completely silent and hasn’t talked with the media since the trade request went public, so we still have no clue into his thought process and feelings behind his desire to move on from the Bruins, though it’s fair to assume it comes back to his rocky-at-best relationship with Bruce Cassidy. After all, this request went public the day after Cassidy scratched DeBrusk. If that changed, Sweeney would’ve had an easy out and been able to outright say that they’re reassessing that option as a whole.
It also confirms that the Bruins still haven’t been able to find a deal they view as a sensible swap given their needs and goals for 2022. The word around the league is that the Bruins have tried some ‘our struggling player for your struggling player’ deals, but haven’t found the ideal return. DeBrusk’s contract situation — he’s a pending restricted free agent but has a heftier qualifying offer number that certainly comes with some risk fo a team — and downward trend doesn’t help.
The quickest way for DeBrusk to pack his bags out of Boston comes with some improved play, and everybody involved knows exactly that. January felt like a step in the right direction for the 25-year-old, too, with two goals and seven points in 12 appearances. If he can string into another solid month, the hope is that that right deal should present itself between now and the Mar. 21 trade deadline, where suitors and playoff tweeners could be more desperate for some secondary scoring help.
“Jake knows that [if] he plays his best hockey and produces at the level he’s capable of, it probably helps him and equally helps us,” Sweeney admitted. “I think that’s the candid conversation I’ve had with Jake’s representatives and Jake as well. And he’s responded, he’s played well and he’s been a little bit snakebitten, you saw him hit the crossbar again [Tuesday].
“So we know that he can score at this level and be a really good hockey player for us.”