Taylor Hall’s success in Boston is great news for Boston Bruins fans. That said, it might not be the best news for Jake DeBrusk fans; at least not DeBrusk fans that want to see the forward find eventual success as a Bruin.
Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic took a look at Hall’s early success since joining the Bruins at the NHL Trade Deadline, what’s happened with DeBrusk since Hall’s arrival and what it means long-term for a forward who may have lost his spot on the team if Hall and the Bruins find a way to turn this short-term rental deal into a long-term extension.
Shinzawa notes that DeBrusk is signed through 2022 at $3.675 million annually and has been mostly playing his off wing on the third line with Charlie Coyle since Hall’s arrival. If Hall were to stay, a serious decision would need to be made when it comes to DeBrusk as there might not be room for both players.
There are ways to make a deal work, but head coach Bruce Cassidy has already hinted that DeBrusk on his off wing is not the ideal situation for the organization. And, with how Hall has played since arriving, the Bruins seem to have found the offense that DeBrusk was supposed to give the team this season, but didn’t.
Shinzawa writes, “The two have stylistic commonalities. Both have histories of dogged puck hunting, three-zone speed and finish around the net.” He also writes that Hall has outshined DeBrusk already. He notes of Hall’s game:
Five of his six points as a Bruin have been at even strength. He’s settled in on Krejci’s left flank, the position DeBrusk occupied for stretches of the last four seasons. Hall is giving the Bruins plenty of data to consider a multi-year investment once the expansion draft is over.
Unfortunately, DeBrusk has struggled with four goals and seven assists in 34 games. Shinzawa notes, “He has lost his even-strength job as the No. 2 left winger. Ritchie has taken over net-front duties on the No. 1 power-play unit.”
So What Happens With DeBrusk?
If the the Bruins want to extend Hall and get RFA Nick Ritchie re-signed, DeBrusk could be traded. The Bruins will have to take the July 21 expansion draft into consideration so as to not add an asset that would mess up their protection plans, but if a trade happens after the Kraken select their inaugural roster, this could expand the Bruins’ market of suitors.
Again, DeBrusk could stick, but if he has a strong playoff performance and other teams see him as a piece they could use, the Bruins might decide he’s expendable since they’ve potentially found his replacement.
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