After about 48 hours of intrigue, the Bruins have figured out who will skate to the right of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on Boston’s top line. And there was little intrigue with their decision, as it will be Jake DeBrusk who will return to his off wing and skate to the right of the Boston one-two punch Thursday night.
It’s a move that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy ran by DeBrusk before making official, which is expected given the Bruins’ commitment to keeping DeBrusk at his natural left wing position whenever possible this season, and one that’s come with a simple set of objectives from the Black and Gold bench boss.
“[DeBrusk] has to bring some of the attributes that he brings best: Speed, help create some turnovers on the forecheck. Because they’re a line that will play both off the rush and puck pursuit,” Cassidy said following Wednesday’s practice in Seattle. “What we’d ask of anybody on that line [is] make sure you hang onto pucks. They’re a good cycle line. Second effort on pucks and then play your game. He’s a smart player, he’s a good offensive player, [so] read off those guys.”
This isn’t completely foreign to DeBrusk, of course. DeBrusk spent some time with the Bergeron-Marchand duo last season, and the trio had a relatively solid 45 minutes of five-on-five time together last year, with the Bruins outshooting opponents 27-13 and scoring two goals. By 2021 DeBrusk standards, especially playing his off wing, it was about as good as it got.
Cassidy also acknowledged the intimidation factor that can come with playing with two Hall of Fame talents, but added that DeBrusk’s age and experience at this point should make him better prepared for this kind of opportunity.
“He’d like to give it a go and see where it leads,” Cassidy acknowledged. “Sometimes chemistry happens, sometimes it doesn’t. But that’s how we’re gonna try it for now.”
With that line squared away atop the Boston forward grouping, the Bruins have reunited Erik Haula with Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak on the second line, and plugged Nick Foligno to the left of Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar line four.
The only line untouched as a result of this latest round of shuffling was the B’s third line, which will feature Charlie Coyle between Trent Frederic and Craig Smith. Speaking after Monday’s win, Cassidy noted that his preference was to keep that line together, and the Bruins ultimately found the right jumbling maneuvering to land there.
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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.