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  • Jake DeBrusk admits that trade chatter and future is in “back of his mind.”

    Tim Rosenthal February 28, 2024

    Every trade deadline provides a certain level of uncertainty.

    The chatter among rumored top names on the market intensifies with each pressing day. With that comes a mix of players entering the final year of a respective contract and other commodities with term and length remaining on a current deal, hoping to find a fresh start at a new home.

    Over the last few seasons, Jake DeBrusk accustomed himself to the noise. Just nine days ahead of the closing of the trading period for the 2023-24 season and just hours removed after returning home from Boston’s woeful four-game road trip, DeBrusk admitted that the trade deadline process had crossed his mind.

    “I think it’s probably more intense around a week [to go], but nine days isn’t really much [of a difference],” DeBrusk said following Boston’s latest practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Wednesday.

    “Usually, when there’s trades around the league, it kind of stirs up talks between guys. But, it’s been a pretty busy schedule to be honest with you with these time changes and everything. It’s in the back of everybody’s mind obviously, because nobody is really safe. So, it’s one of those times that’s always intense and stressful, and as a fan, it’s exciting and stressful as well. It’s just kind of how it goes. I’ve gone through some pretty interesting ones, to be honest.”

    Could DeBrusk’s latest interesting trade deadline be his last with the Bruins?

    DeBrusk confirmed that there hasn’t been any progress of late in contract talks. The 2015 first-round pick is in the final months of the two-year extension he signed on Deadline Day in 2022.

    In the months leading up to inking his second short-term deal with the Bruins, DeBrusk endured one of the worst timeframes of his career. His scoring production wasn’t up to par from his near 20-goal pace during his first three seasons. The efforts came into question upon his raft with former coach Bruce Cassidy.

    All this led to DeBrusk requesting a trade out of Boston. But over the next few months, the Edmonton-born winger found his offensive touch and developed better habits within his 200-foot game. Despite the noted friction, Cassidy promoted a promotion to Boston’s top line next to Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

    DeBrusk rescinded his trade request during the 2022 off-season. He then embarked on a career year during Boston’s record-breaking regular season, notching 27 goals and 50 points over 64 games.

    In a transitional season without Bergeron and David Krejci, DeBrusk encountered an opportunity to flourish in the final year of his current deal and earn a coveted long-term extension in Boston. While his nightly efforts haven’t been under as much of a microscope as it had under Cassidy, DeBrusk’s scoring production encountered a dropoff from last year.

    In a results-oriented business, DeBrusk knows his future can change at a moment’s notice. He could serve as a rental for a team looking to upgrade their top six. Even then, the open market will await DeBrusk on July 1, barring a contract extension with the Bruins or another potential trade suitor.

    “I feel like I’ve been around here long enough to know how the league works on that sense of things,” DeBrusk said of the business side of hockey. “Obviously, there’s different things — guys getting injured around the league and different stuff that happens that’s under normal control. It will be interesting to see what teams are aggressive and what teams aren’t.

    “But, of course, you always have that in the back of your mind,” DeBrusk added of his personal feelings around the deadline. “Obviously, two years ago was a little more intense on that side of things. But I think ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been worried.”

    Perhaps that urgency will showcase itself on the ice.

    The last 12 games marked one of DeBrusk’s worst stretches over the last couple of seasons. He only has a goal and an assist during that timeframe, both coming during his latest Edmonton homecoming in Boston’s only victory of its latest west-coast swing.

    Amid their recent slew of third-period collapses and overtime setbacks, the Bruins enter the deadline needing to upgrade their center and defensive depth. Between their limited cap space, lack of draft capital and a thin pool of high-end prospects, the Bruins may turn to DeBrusk, Linus Ullmark or another veteran trade chip to help land a coveted name like Noah Hanafin to fill the gaping holes of their transitional roster.

    At peak performance, the Bruins benefit from DeBrusk’s combination of speed, skill and net-front traits. Perhaps the Bruins will look at another avenue to address their needs if DeBrusk (13-14-27 in 58 games this season) rediscovers his scoring touch ahead of another round of scuttlebutt.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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