Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 12: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins warms up prior to Game Seven of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on June 12, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Jake DeBrusk market sounds like a robust one.

It features almost half the National Hockey League if you believe what’s being reported.

As of right now, we know of at least eight of the teams that have been linked to the former 27-goal scorer.

And we know that all options are on the table for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney when it comes to the return.

“I just sit back and evaluate and have my conversations with every team and try and make what’s the best trade for the Boston Bruins. It very well could be on either side of that ledger or a combination,” Sweeney told 98.5 The Sports Hub dot com when asked if the Bruins would prefer a return that can help now or ‘futures’ in any DeBrusk trade. “That’s our sole purpose in this: To make sure we do what we think is right for our club. We’re a competitive club and obviously we’d like to continue to do that and how we make that decision is based on what other teams may or may not be engaging in.”

Whether or not any of the following is on the table is quite literally anybody’s guess right now, but I do love flinging pudding (we didn’t have any pudding in there) at the wall, so let’s dive in with some potential returns that wet that whistle for Sweeney, and from those that we believe are indeed in the DeBrusk sweeps.

  • St. Louis Blues

    ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 07: Benoit-Olivier Groulx #50 of the Anaheim Ducks steals the puck from David Perron #57 of the St. Louis Blues during the third period of a game at Honda Center on November 07, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

    It’s still early, but the Blues seem to be the potential favorite here if only because they’ve been mentioned by multiple top-tier insiders as a team that’s had significant interest in DeBrusk in the past.

    But this is probably the worst time for the Blues to try and swing a trade for the 25-year-old wing, because their cap situation is just an absolute mess. Just like penalties during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Craig Berube’s Blues have the least amount of cap space in all of hockey.

    Any DeBrusk trade would have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out kind of deal for St. Louis.

    A quick glance at the Blues’ cap situation and David Perron (a $4 million pending unrestricted free agent) makes sense. But while Perron remains productive (seven goals and 18 points in 20 games played), this may very well be the worst time to buy in on him given the age and contract status.

    At the same time, Perron’s playoff numbers, with 11 goals and 25 points in 35 postseason games since 2019, may be worth the risk given the Bruins’ window with Patrice Bergeron.

    The real bummer for the Bruins: Young St. Louis forwards like Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas, two players who would be of obvious interest to the Bruins, are the Blues’ one-two in scoring this season. In other words, they’re not coming here.

  • New York Rangers

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 10: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 10, 2021 in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    New York’s interest seems obvious beyond their linkage via Dreger, as they had been mentioned as a team searching for some middle-six scoring help even before DeBrusk’s trade request went public.

    But just what would a deal between these sides look like?

    Looking at the Ranger roster, Ryan Strome obviously sticks out. A center in the final year of his deal, Strome and the Rangers’ Chris Drury have just started to open the dialogue on a potential extension, but cap space is working against the Rangers. And given their start to the season (and that cap space inevitably coming), as well as Strome’s connection with Rangers superstar Artemi Panarin, it’s probably in the Rangers’ best interest to see if they can run through a wide-open Eastern Conference. You only get so many kicks at the can, and the Rangers are still chasing after their first Cup since 1994.

    So, who else? Well, the Rangers have their own disgruntled winger with Vitali Kravtsov wanting a fresh start elsewhere.

    The No. 9 overall pick from the 2018 NHL Draft, Kravtsov totaled two goals and four points for the Blueshirts in 2021, and ultimately decided to head back to Russia rather than report to the team’s AHL affiliate in Hartford after failing to make the team out of training camp. Suspended by the Rangers and back with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL, Kravtsov has five goals and an assist in eight appearances this season.

    It wouldn’t make much sense for the Bruins to take a one-for-one swap there, honestly, which is why it’s worth noting that the Rangers do have two second-round picks in 2022. 

  • Vancouver Canucks

    VANCOUVER, BC – FEBRUARY 19: JT Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks skates with the puck with support from Brock Boeser #6 during NHL hockey action against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena on February 19, 2021 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

    Another team linked to DeBrusk before this latest request, the Canucks are a team in definite need of a shake-up and might be just the landing spot for DeBrusk to get some big minutes and rebuild his game.

    And to get this one out of the way early, forget Conor Garland. The Canucks paid a handsome fee to bring the Massachusetts native into the fold, and even took on the Oliver Ekman-Larsson contract to make it happen. In a year with so many things going wrong, there’s absolutely zero chance that Jim Benning moves on from one of the only thing that’s gone right this season.

    But what about someone like Brock Boeser or J.T. Miller?

    Not exactly the player you’d consider a lover of rebuilds (few are), the 28-year-old Miller’s Vancouver future has come into question out of the gate this season, and with eight goals and 23 points through 25 games this season, there’s something to be said for the Canucks moving Miller when his value is at his highest. Boeser, meanwhile, has been in trade rumors for what feels like three years now and is in the final year of his contract with a big payday around the corner.

    Acquiring either would most definitely involve more than just DeBrusk departing from the B’s organization.

  • Calgary Flames

    CALGARY, AB – NOVEMBER 23: (L-R) Noah Hanifin #55, Rasmus Andersson #4, Tyler Pitlick #18, Dillon Dube #29 and Sean Monahan #23 of the Calgary Flames celebrate after Dube scored against the Chicago Blackhawks during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 23, 2021 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

    If there’s a potential change-of-scenery trade to be made, it’s pretty hard not to look at Flames center Sean Monahan, right?

    The No. 6 overall pick from 2013, Monahan was looking primed for superstar status when he set career-best marks in goals (34), assists (48), and points (82) in 2018-19. Since then, however, Monahan has totaled 86 points in his last 142 games over three seasons. This season has been his bottoming out in Calgary, too, with two goals and 10 points in 22 games to go with a career-low 14:34 time on ice per game under Darryl Sutter.

    A DeBrusk-for-Monahan would also help unstick the Flames’ cap situation a bit by ditching the 27-year-old Monahan’s $6.375 million cap hit through 2022-23, too. That seems more than necessary with Johnny Gaudreau (unrestricted),  Matthew Tkachuk (restricted), and Andrew Mangiapane (restricted) all set to become free agents in 2022.

    It’s not a perfect gamble for the Bruins by any stretch, but I gotta be honest, just about anything looks appetizing when looking at the franchise’s center depth mixed with their obvious desire to remain a true contender so long as Bergeron’s here. Factor in some potential salary retention and maybe you’re cooking with gas.

  • Seattle Kraken

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 12: Jared McCann #16, Joonas Donskoi #72, Mason Appleton #22, Philipp Grubauer #31, Marcus Johansson #90 and Ryan Donato #9 of the Seattle Kraken warm up before the Kraken’s inaugural regular-season game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on October 12, 2021. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    If DeBrusk is looking for a fresh start, how about going to the league’s newest team? Can’t get much fresher than that.

    Well, fortunately for DeBrusk, the Kraken have indeed been linked to DeBrusk by multiple reports.

    Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman floated some interesting speculation out there in his latest 32 Thoughts column, too, suggesting that Mason Appleton could be a player of interest to the Bruins in a DeBrusk trade.

    Standing at 6-foot-2, the 25-year-old Appleton landed in Seattle after posting a career-high 12 goals ad 25 points in 56 games for the Jets last season. But Appleton has struggled with the Kraken, with two goals and one helper through 12 games, and with Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol utilizing the Wisconsin-born right wing in a more defensive role.

    But Appleton shouldn’t be enough for the Bruins to consider a simple one-for-one swap. This is when you look towards Seattle’s blue line, which features an in-the-doghouse Jeremy Lauzon as well as Vince Dunn.

    Some other potentially interesting options on the Kraken? Forwards Colin Blackwell, Jared McCann, and Marcus Johansson if the Bruins are interested in a 2019 postseason reunion with Charlie Coyle.

  • Montreal Canadiens

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – FEBRUARY 12: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins skates against Marco Scandella #28 of the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at TD Garden on February 12, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    My ears couldn’t help but perk when I heard the Canadiens mentioned among the other teams interested in DeBrusk. I mean, the Bruins and Canadiens making trades? This is indeed The Upside Down and we are all vomiting up slugs. But then I remembered: Jeff Gorton (quick shoutout Melrose, Mass.) is now running the show in Montreal. The same Jeff Gorton that wanted DeBrusk included in any Ryan McDonagh deal back when the Bruins and Rangers were talking in 2018.

    What would be on the table for Montreal? Well, one pending restricted free agent of interest: Artturi Lehkonen. A Montreal fixture since 2016, the left-shot Lehkonen has hit double-digit goal totals in every season except the pandemic-delayed 2021 season, and is currently paced for what would be a career-best 34 points.

    The Bruins have also long had an interest in the Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli. But is he a player the Canadiens would want to unload given his production and contract, with Toffoli costing $4.25 million per season for the next three seasons while also scoring the 16th-most goals in the NHL since 2019? Seems unlikely, at least if they’re not signaling a full-on rebuild.

    On the backend, the Habs have three pending unrestricted free agent defensemen on the roster between Ben Chiarot, Brett Kulak, and Chris Wideman. Chiarot and Kulak are both left shots who have experience playing both sides.

    Is this a likely destination? Probably not. The Bruins and Canadiens haven’t made a trade with one another in almost 21 years, with the last trade between the sides coming back in February 2001 in an Eric Weinrich for Patrick Traverse swap. Before that, the last Bruins-Canadiens trade came back in 1964. Unlikely partners, to say the least.

  • Buffalo Sabres

    BUFFALO, NY – OCTOBER 22: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins gets hit in the face with a shot as Craig Anderson #41 of the Buffalo Sabres tends net during the third period at KeyBank Center on October 22, 2021 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

    Count the Sabres in as one of those teams interested in DeBrusk, according to ex-Sabre (and now Sabres analyst) Andrew Peters. Not sure I see the fit here as potential trade partners, to be honest, but what’s on the table for the Sabres?

    Well, draft picks for one. Barring some sort of Jedi Mind Trick (and you already had Taylor Hall do that on Buffalo for you about eight months ago), you’re extremely unlikely to get a first-round pick from Buffalo in return for DeBrusk. But in addition to their own second-round picks, the Sabres also possess a Philly second-round pick in 2023. Given Buffalo’s status, getting one of their own second-round picks may very well be a top-of-the-second pick. Not the worst value there.

    But if that’s not enough, Buffalo’s NHL roster includes rental options such as Cody Eakin and Vinnie Hinostroza up front, as well as lefty defensemen Robert Hagg and Will Butcher along with ex-Bruin Colin Miller.

  • Arizona Coyotes

    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 05: Lawson Crouse #67 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates his second goal of the game with Ilya Lyubushkin #46 and Antoine Roussel #26, to take a 2-0 lead, during the third period in a 4-1 Coyotes preseason win at Staples Center on October 05, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    The Coyotes are a downright fascinating team to me. That sounds pretty stupid when talking about a 5-16-2 team, but hey, pop quiz: Without looking, how many players on their NHL roster in some fashion do you think the Coyotes have signed beyond this season? Six! Six players! Beyond that, the Coyotes ice a roster featuring a staggering 14 pending unrestricted free agents and another seven pending restricted free agents. Not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it. Pure insanity.

    But are any of ’em worth anything to the Bruins in a potential DeBrusk trade?

    Lawson Crouse, one of Arizona’s pending restricted free agents, is a potentially interesting one.

    A 6-foot-4, 220-pound left wing, Crouse is off to a strong start by Arizona standards, with five goals and 10 points through 23 games. Crouse also leads the ‘Yotes in even-strength goals (five) and hits (51), and his individual scoring chances (41) and individual high-danger chances (19) at five-on-five are also tops among Arizona forwards.

    Now, the bad news there is that the Coyotes would in theory be selling high in Crouse while you’re selling low with DeBrusk. But the good news within that: Those numbers are setting Crouse up for a raise, and the Coyotes aren’t exactly in the business of raises right now.

    Another, more familiar name in Boston: Phil Kessel. In the final year of his current contract, Kessel has tallied three goals and 12 points through 23 games, and has some familiarity playing with Taylor Hall from their brief time together in Arizona.

    Some other lower-tier options include versatile forward Ryan Dzingel, right-shot veteran defenseman Anton Stralman, and a whopping nine second-round picks over the next three drafts if the Bruins are settling for futures in a DeBrusk move.