The Jake DeBrusk era in Boston looks like it will be ending relatively soon after his agent confirmed to several media outlets Monday that the Bruins left winger has requested a trade.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Monday that “nothing is imminent at this time, but something to keep an eye on.”
DeBrusk is struggling to score this season with three goals in 17 games. He’s found the back of the net only once in his last 13 appearances and was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s win over the Canucks. DeBrusk is in the final year of his contract with a $3.675 million salary cap hit. He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer.
Let’s look at five potential DeBrusk trade destinations that make sense for the Bruins (All salary info is from CapFriendly).
The Canucks are a disaster and moves need to be made to shake up that roster. Vancouver is 2-8-0 in its last games and the playoffs are becoming less attainable with each passing day.
One player who’d be a great fit on the Bruins is Canucks right winger Conor Garland. Obviously, the Bruins would have to attach other assets to DeBrusk to get Garland, but depending on the price it’s a move at least worth considering for Boston.
Garland is a local kid from Scituate, Mass., who would help address the Bruins’ scoring depth concerns.
He’s tied for the team lead in goals with seven, along with nine assists for 16 points in 23 games. Garland tied his career high in points with 39 in only 48 games last season. He’s a productive even-strength scorer with 54 of his 78 points over the last two seasons coming at 5-on-5. Garland also could be an option on Boston’s second power play unit. He had 11 power-play goals over the last three years combined.
Garland is in the first season of a five-year, $24.75 million contract ($4.95 million cap hit) he got from the Canucks after they acquired him via trade from the Coyotes during the offseason.
The Oilers don’t need any more scoring. They rank No. 2 in goals scored per game and have the best power play at 37.8 percent.
However, of all the places where a change of scenery could benefit DeBrusk, Edmonton might be at the top of the list. How so? He’s from Edmonton, so it would be a homecoming for him and an environment he obviously knows well.
Edmonton is very low on cap space, though, so fitting in DeBrusk’s $3.675 million cap hit would be a little challenging. Oilers left winger Warren Foegele, who scored 10-plus goals in each of the last three seasons, would be an interesting option for the B’s.
Overall, the Oilers’ main area of focus at the trade deadline should be on the blue line. They have enough firepower up front to score goals.
Trading within the division doesn’t happen often, but it sounds like the Senators had some interest in DeBrusk recently based on this tweet from Ottawa Sun reporter Bruce Garrioch.
The Senators have the worst record in the league at 4-14-1 and are rebuilding.
One problem here is Ottawa doesn’t have a ton of enticing players for the B’s to target in a possible DeBrusk trade.
One intriguing option might be Senators center Chris Tierney, who has scored five goals in 19 games and could play a bottom-six role for the Bruins. He’s also on an expiring contract with a $3.5 million cap hit.
How does a one-for-one swap involving DeBrusk and Dylan Strome sound?
Like DeBrusk, Strome is a 2015 first-round draft pick (No. 3 overall) who’s failed to meet expectations over his six-plus NHL seasons. He’s shown flashes of potential, like when he tallied 57 points in 78 games during the 2018-19 season and 38 points in 58 games during the 2019-20 campaign.
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Strome has struggled mightily this year with only three points (one goal, two assists) through 12 games. He’s also been a healthy scratch of late.
Center is a positional need for the Bruins and Strome has the potential to be a decent playmaker with good size at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. Strome is in the final year of his contract and his $3 million cap hit is a little smaller than DeBrusk’s.
Both players need a fresh start.
The Coyotes, with a 5-15-2 record, are in the middle of another rebuild and have done a great job stockpiling future draft picks. They could have as many as three first-round picks and five second-round picks in 2022.
The Bruins desperately need secondary scoring, so why not target an old friend?
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Phil Kessel is in the final year of his contract with 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 22 games. He’s no longer an elite scorer, but he’s still averaged 24 goals over the last six seasons.
Would Kessel want to come back to Boston? He has a modified no-trade clause, per CapFriendly. The Bruins would give him a chance to compete for a playoff spot again.
One obstacle is his $6.8 million cap hit, which is a bit high for a team like the Bruins that doesn’t have a ton of space. If the Coyotes were willing to retain some salary in exchange for a better draft pick (and potentially other assets) with DeBrusk, maybe that would work.