How the Bruins Can Overcome the Loss of Jake DeBrusk

When you think of the most critical players on the Boston Bruins, you’d probably think of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Linus Ullmark. But one player has done his part in the year’s success, and his name is Jake DeBrusk.

Recently, DeBrusk was in the midst of a career year until suffering an injury at the Winter Classic that put him out of action for the next four weeks. However, this is not the first time injuries have tested the team.

Oct 20, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) skates with the puck during the third period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

They began the year without Charlie McAvoy, Brad Marchand, and Matt Grzelcyk. They treaded water beautifully and will have to do that again. Furthermore, the injury not only put a damper on how he played but turned out to be a critical loss for the team. Since he will spend some time out of the lineup, what can the Bruins do with the lineup until he returns?

How Can the Bruins Overcome the DeBrusk Injury?

Stand Pat

It is no secret that the Bruins are a good hockey team, but a large part is due to the depth this team has to offer. Even though DeBrusk is out, there is no need to panic. From a depth chart perspective, there is Pastrnak, Trent Frederic, Craig Smith, and Tomas Nosek. The last two days do not precisely match the type of production that DeBrusk brings, but they are serviceable for the next four weeks.

Smith has spent time with the top line, with 180 minutes alongside Marchand and Bergeron last season. That line had the best-expected goals percentage at 71.9%. This means they generated many chances, a heavy factor in the offense. As a line, they scored seven goals, thanks partly to two world-class players’ ability to play with anyone. At this moment, rejoining the top line could be a boost the struggling Smith has been looking for.

The Czech line (Zacha, Krejci, Pastrnak) has been one of the worst lines in hockey in terms of generating chances. But they have scored 11 goals (most on the team) and have clicked together as a unit. Moreover, Taylor Hall could easily be in any other team’s top six, but he is on the third line with Charlie Coyle to provide balance in the lineups. Sadly, Coyle has not had a legit winger since he joined the team in 2019, until now.

Jan 8, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) skates with the puck during the third period against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

As the saying goes, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. In DeBrusk’s absence, the team has outscored their opponents 16-5, so the goals are still coming. Fortunately, the Bruins are fortunate to have plenty of depth to get them through his absence.

Make A Trade

A trade could be on the horizon if the Bruins brass does not feel like the depth is enough. Currently, Patrick Kane is not even an option, but the team could look to make a minor trade to provide the necessary depth. A player they could look for is someone like a Max Domi-type player who can give bottom-tier scoring.

It is a pipeline dream, but if they wanted to add some punch to the lineup, Travis Konecny would be a great option, given the year he is having. However, if Don Sweeney does anything, it will be minimal given the financial aspect of everything. He would have to move one of Mike Rielly or Smith to make room for anyone with a significant cap hit.

See What’s In The Pipeline

Ultimately, the team could stand pat and ride the wave, bringing in the youth and seeing where they stand. Joona Koppanen recently received a call to play center on the fourth line, but we are talking about DeBrusk and his replacement.

Boston Bruins Don Sweeney

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 18: Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins attends the 2019 NHL Awards Nominee Media Availability at the Encore Las Vegas on June 18, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

One of the best prospects in the pipeline is Fabian Lysell, a young Swedish winger who recently wrapped up the World Juniors tournament but didn’t register a single point in seven games. However, in the minors with the Providence Bruins, he has eight goals, 12 assists, and 20 points in 21 games. Realistically, they could give him a look with a spot potentially open, but they may not want to burn a year off his ELC.

Final Thoughts on the Debrusk Injury Situation

Overall, the Bruins are in a good position because they have dealt with injuries before, and what team hasn’t? The B’s are the best hockey team and have the depth to overcome adversity.

They treaded water nicely to begin the season with multiple key players out with injuries, and they could very well do it again. Ultimately, there are many ways management could resolve the situation, yet it will be interesting to see what Don Sweeney does going forward.