It’s safe to say that Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was active on the first day of free agency. He addressed the need for the bottom-six forwards with three signings, signed a left-shot defenseman and a goalie.
Sweeney used up all except around $1 million of his cap space Wednesday. He still has to sign David Krejci, if he wants to come back for another run in Boston and during the offseason, you are allowed to go $10 million over the cap, but have to get to or under it by the time training camp rolls around. With that said, there are still more moves coming for the B’s.
With the three additions upfront, all left-shot players that can play multiple positions, the question must be asked, where does Jake DeBrusk fit into the future plans with the Black and Gold? Well, if what most think is going to happen actually happens, then there is one question that Sweeney must answer.
Why did the Bruins protect DeBrusk in the Seattle Expansion Draft?
When the NHL protection lists were made public, the Bruins protected DeBrusk, but left Jeremy Lauzon exposed, with defensive teammates Connor Clifton and Jakub Zboril. It was expected all along that the Kraken was going to grab one of the Boston blueliners.
While that came reality on July 21 when they chose Lauzon, one has to wonder if DeBrusk was left exposed, would he have gone to the Northwest with the NHL’s 32nd team beginning play this October?
If DeBrusk had been chosen, you also would have been freed of his $3.67 million contract which would have been more cap space. You also would have retained the services of Lauzon as a future piece of your defense.
DeBrusk has shown that he can be a 20-goal scorer in the NHL despite his down season of 2020-21. Nobody was more frustrated than DeBrusk himself and he was rightfully a healthy scratch in a few games during the regular season.
Lauzon on the other hand had a much more manageable contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $850,000. The case could be made that he was a more valuable piece to the 2020-21 Black and Gold because of his penalty-killing and his left-shot on defense. Would he have become a future all-star? Most likely not, but he would have been a nice piece on defense to have.
If and when DeBrusk is moved, we won’t know how things turn out until we see the package that comes back in return. Who knows, maybe the Kraken would acquire him as part of a deal for Lauzon so the Bruins can get back the expansion piece they lost. Hey, it worked for the Washington Capitals Wednesday when they reacquired goalie Vitek Vanecek, who Seattle took last week, so you never know. He also may not be moved either, which is what is going to make this fun to watch how it plays out.