It’s been a busy week for the Boston Bruins and they haven’t even played a game since last Saturday.
Boston will be without the services of both Brad Marchand and Craig Smith as they have entered COVID-19 protocols. The earliest they can re-join the team is ahead of their Dec. 27 matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Now, if anyone on the roster could end up benefitting from this, it’s Jake DeBrusk.
DeBrusk now famously requested a trade from Boston less than a month ago. Ironically, his services were necessary following the news of Brad Marchand’s three game suspension on Nov. 29. So it came as no surprise that the young forward wasn’t traded during Marchand’s absence.
Nevertheless, DeBrusk’s time on ice didn’t increase during the three games for which Marchand missed. In fact, over the last six games played, it wasn’t until his 14:46 time on ice against the Edmonton Oilers Thursday that he exceeded the 12-minute mark.
According to Elliotte Friedman’s ’32 Thoughts’ blog on Dec. 8 the Bruins are “definitely willing” to deal DeBrusk but “are looking for the best defenseman/forward they can find…they value DeBrusk, and won’t make what they feel is a bad deal”. Patience, after all is a virtue.
In 23 games played DeBrusk has recorded five goals with three assists for eight points, which for the minutes he is given, isn’t awful but also not spectacular. Especially if the idea is to maximize the return in a trade.
Assuming initial reports stand true and Marchand and Smith miss the next six games, DeBrusk is the obvious candidate to slide up to the second line, and perhaps gain additional power play time.
What he eventually makes of that opportunity is up to the player. DeBrusk undeniably possesses the offensive instincts and physical attributes to become a preliminary 60 point NHLer. His goals against the Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers this month alone backup the claim. But the inconsistency in his game likely has other general managers at a pause.
Don Sweeney will work to make a deal, but DeBrusk can expedite the process by continuing his recent string of strong play. As a player you can’t ask for anything more than being in charge of your own destiny.