Boston Bruins

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 28: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck as Jakob Chychrun #6 of the Arizona Coyotes defends in the third period of the game at Gila River Arena on January 28, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With the trade deadline set for 3 p.m., it’s officially decision day for the Bruins and winger Jake DeBrusk.

It’s now been over two and a half months since DeBrusk’s trade request went public (DeBrusk actually made his request last summer), and DeBrusk very much remains a Bruin. In fact, the Bruins have since elevated DeBrusk to their top line, where he’s enjoyed some success with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. The promotion and uptick in production hasn’t swayed DeBrusk into wanting to stay, however, as his agent confirmed that their hope is that DeBrusk is moved by today’s deadline.

But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, according to Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.

“I’ll continue to explore,” Sweeney said. “I don’t think Jake has changed his opinion, but that doesn’t mean [a trade] happens and I’ve said that from Day 1. If I can make it fit for the Boston Bruins and helping our team — and Jake’s helping our team — I would certainly only do it with the fact that it’s going to help our team.”

To this point, the offers made on DeBrusk have largely underwhelmed the Bruins. It’s been mostly mid-tier picks and low-tier roster players, according to a source. The Bruins were even having trouble finding a potential project-for-project swap back when the trade talks went public. Part of that comes back to DeBrusk’s hot-and-cold play, but also his big-money qualifying offer as a pending restricted free agent, though DeBrusk’s camp has made it known they’re willing to hammer out an extension with his new team to avoid it coming down to that.

But given the Bruins’ needs right now — they’re playing DeBrusk on his off wing because they simply don’t have many other options at right wing, and their current preference is to keep the middle-two lines together — they’re not exactly in a position to accommodate DeBrusk’s wishes just because he wants it so.

The Bruins have, however, made their first big move of the deadline with the acquisition of then-Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm. The price to acquire the 28-year-old Lindholm, who has since been signed to an eight-year extension with the Bruins, was a big one, with three draft picks (a first in 2022 and second-round picks in 2023 and 2024) sent out the door.

Is it worth wondering if the Bruins ‘settle’ for recouping some of that lost capital by dealing DeBrusk for let’s say a second-round pick if a team is willing to make it happen? Either for themselves or to then spin into a deal for additional help? The latter would almost feel more likely given some of the names the Bruins have been linked to ahead of the deadline. It seems somewhat plausible, you’d think, especially with some of the talent expected to be available between now and today’s deadline.

“Just going through the calls, as I either field them or make them, and explore different ways to [improve the team] — not unlike in terms of where I landed with Hampus,” Sweeney said of the DeBrusk situation. “It’s not easy to find deals and you’re seeing players move around, and there’s some big players that are moving right now.”

That’ll only intensify up until the final horn, and the only thing the B’s can do is stay ready to pounce.

“Certainly the calls have picked up in the last day or so, but certainly [Monday] will be a little bit more frantic,” Sweeney acknowledged. “People are sort of jockeying and done their due diligence in terms of teams that have been interested and are circling back because the market has moved.

“The deadlines generally drive deals, and I believe you’re seeing that more and more.”

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association since 2013. 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.