One of the bigger surprises of trade deadline day didn't actually involve a trade.
The Boston Bruins turned heads across the league on Monday morning, agreeing to terms with forward Jake DeBrusk to a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4 million.
The deal, which theoretically ties DeBrusk to Boston through the 2023-24 season, comes mere months after the 25-year-old publicly requested a trade, and is sure to puzzle those who were following the situation closely over that time.
What might explain this curious development, though, is a report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman that came shortly after the extension was announced, stating that DeBrusk's trade request is, in fact, still on the table, and that the Bruins may have only signed their young forward as a means to establish cost control over their asset and make him easier to move.
Regardless of the extension, it does seem as if DeBrusk would be best served with a fresh start.
The 2015 first-rounder has just 15 goals and 26 points in 57 games this season, a far cry from the near-30-goal pace he was once operating at, and has clearly lost favor with the Bruins' coaching staff.
Signing DeBrusk to this extension now ensures that he is locked in under contract at a set price point that inquiring teams can manage, with DeBrusk's expected qualifying offer as a restricted free agent this summer seemingly hurting his trade value prior to today's news.
It will be interesting to see what the Bruins do with DeBrusk moving forward.
After signing Hampus Lindholm to a massive eight-year extension over the weekend, Don Sweeney has little in the realm of cap space to work heading into next season, making DeBrusk's $4 million price tag an attractive asset to shed.