Jake DeBrusk became a frequent subject of trade speculation after requesting a move from the Boston Bruins last November. However, the Bruins surprised the hockey world by signing the 25-year-old winger before the trade deadline to a two-year, $8-million contract extension.
Most observers, like Boston Hockey Now's Joe Haggerty and The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, assumed the signing was to improve DeBrusk's value in the trade market before the deadline. As LeBrun pointed out, the winger's new $4 million annual average value is lower than the $4.41 million it would've cost to qualify his rights this summer had he become a restricted free agent.
The signing, however, failed to generate any offers strong enough to entice the Bruins into moving DeBrusk, who hasn't rescinded his trade request despite seeing top-line minutes since mid-February.
LeBrun doesn't rule out the Bruins attempting to move DeBrusk in the offseason. He reported the winger's agent was disappointed his client wasn't moved before the deadline.
Whether DeBrusk is shipped to another team this summer depends on his play down the stretch and into the postseason. He's struggled to regain the promising form of his 40-point performances from his first two NHL campaigns. DeBrusk had seven goals and nine points in his first five games after being moved to the first line but only two points over his last 10 contests.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney could seek a young NHL-ready player rather than a draft pick or prospect in return for DeBrusk. Unless the latter can find some offensive consistency over the remainder of the season, Sweeney could be forced to swap him for another struggling player in need of a change of scenery.