Rick Valette, the agent for Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, has informed Bruins general manager Don Sweeney that DeBrusk has rescinded his trade request, according to the latest report from TSN’s Ryan Rishaug.
The confirmation from Valette ends what’s been about seven months and change of pure uncertainty for the Bruins and DeBrusk. While the request itself actually came back in the summer of 2021, the DeBrusk camp went public with it following a healthy scratch in late November, and left Sweeney and the Bruins to find the right landing spot, but without sacrificing the ceiling of their own club given DeBrusk’s importance to the team. That deal failed to materialize, and the Bruins ultimately signed the winger to a two-year extension prior to the trade deadline while DeBrusk thrived as the top-line right wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
Speaking at the end of the year, DeBrusk was noncommittal when asked if his trade request remained on the table entering the offseason.
Since then, the Bruins have fired Bruce Cassidy and replaced him with Jim Montgomery, and the belief is that Patrice Bergeron will return for another run. The B’s will also be without Brad Marchand for the first two months of the season, which opens the door for DeBrusk to play his natural left wing position in a top-six role.
The obvious storyline here is that DeBrusk’s trade request was rescinded after a coaching change.
Now, it’s no secret that Cassidy and DeBrusk had their issues at times, and the Bruins themselves felt that the messaging was too harsh. It’s easy to spin this as being about the man behind the bench and nothing more, but I don’t quite think that that’s the whole story here. On top of some undeniable struggles during the pandemic-delayed 2021 season, DeBrusk saw the Bruins add (and later extend) left winger Taylor Hall, which bumped DeBrusk down to third-line duty. The 25-year-old also struggled when the Bruins tried to move him to right wing.
In other words, DeBrusk most definitely saw himself falling down the depth chart, and it’s unlikely that the 2015 first-round pick wanted to view himself as a long-term third-liner at 25 years old.
But his move to the right side with Bergeron and Marchand came with some fantastic results (DeBrusk’s 16 goals from his move to the first line in late February through the end of the season were tops among all Boston skaters), and came with proof that DeBrusk could play his off wing. DeBrusk even brought that up when talking about what he could take away from his 2021-22 campaign, noting that many didn’t believe he could do that. Being a right wing on this team is a great way to almost guarantee yourself some top-six minutes.
Oh, and there’s also the whole ‘playing with Bergeron and Marchand’ thing that can do wonders for both your numbers and how you feel about yourself as an NHL player.
No matter the reasoning for the rescinding of the request, however, the Bruins have to be happy with where it leaves them. With DeBrusk comfortable in Boston, they no longer have to scour the market for a ‘worth it’ return that’s always been a struggle and instead have a productive winger signed to a $4 million per year contract.
DeBrusk, who put up 25 goals in 77 games last year, has 92 goals and 176 points in 321 career games, making him the 17th-most productive skater from the loaded 2015 NHL Draft.
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 PHWA 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.