Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk did not get his wish to be moved by the Bruins granted by Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
There was definite disappointment in that. Especially when you consider the timeline of DeBrusk’s request for a fresh start elsewhere, which actually came last summer but didn’t become public knowledge until November. That’s a whole lotta time wishing for something else, and a whole lotta uncertainty. But at the same time, the Bruins’ decision not to move DeBrusk has given the 25-year-old a much-needed moment to take a deep breath and re-center himself.
“It was definitely a difficult day, [and] it’s been a difficult week,” DeBrusk said following the 2022 NHL trade deadline. “There’s a lot of uncertainty and you don’t necessarily know. I think the one thing that I’ve taken away from it from past 4 p.m. [Monday] is I haven’t felt clarity in three months. I haven’t known if I’m gonna go, where I’m gonna go, or any of that stuff.
“So now I know, and it’s kind of nice to have that done with.”
The ride was a wild one, honestly. From mild boos in DeBrusk’s first game on Boston ice after the request went public to on-ice struggles and near-constant bouncing around the Boston lineup due to injuries and COVID and everything in between, it felt like everything was in complete flux for a player that’s craved some semblance of stability over the last few years.
“It tests you,” DeBrusk admitted. “Obviously my last two years of my personal life, and just life in general with COVID and everything, it’s been a whirlwind to say the least. I think that it brought out some good things in me and some bad things. There’s tough days and there’s good days. And I just took it shift-by-shift and day-by-day.”
From the B’s point of view, the asking price on DeBrusk was never met. Not even close to their liking, in fact. Countless calls were made to and from Boston, but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney made his demands clear and held firm.
But even with a trade offer not up to their standards, the Bruins worked in tandem as best they could with DeBrusk, and even hammered out a two-year, $8 million extension just hours before the deadline. The goal behind that extension was not only to erase any teams’ fears about DeBrusk’s hefty qualifying offer as a restricted free agent in 2022, which was said to have limited his market, but also show DeBrusk that the future, though unknown, wasn’t going to be a complete unknown for No. 74.
“We feel that he’s an important part of our hockey club [and] we wanted him to feel that way,” Sweeney said of the extension. “It also sends a message to everyone that there’s clarity there in moving forward if we were going to explore something. Didn’t really mean [Monday] at all, just means moving forward. The impact that he can have on our hockey club, we believe in.”
In other words, the Bruins are betting on DeBrusk betting on himself and increasing his own trade value to a degree that the Bruins would find acceptable. And if he doesn’t, well, the Bruins aren’t too far off from where they were at the deadline, and there’s something a little bit ‘better’ about losing a trade in the offseason and not in the middle of a serious surge in the East.
As for DeBrusk, not getting his wish isn’t going to be met with sulking or going into a shell.
It’s officially no longer about where he is going this year, but where the team is going.
“I don’t look at it as a negative situation,” DeBrusk said of his extended Boston stay through the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the very least. “Any time that you can play for a team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup, it’s a positive. That’s why I play the game… to win the Stanley Cup. I’m comfortable with these guys. I grew up with this team and was drafted by them. It’s one of those things where it kind of hits you a little bit, but it hits you in the right way. I’m playing on a very good line at the moment, and I’ll do anything I can to stay there and help the team win.
“It’s all about winning the Stanley Cup at this point, and I think anybody can get behind that.”
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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.