Type to search

  • Takeaways: Ullmark and DeBrusk pace Bruins after surviving Deadline Day

    Tim Rosenthal March 9, 2024

    Friday’s trade deadline provided minor upgrades for Don Sweeney and eased tensions for Linus Ullmark and Jake DeBrusk.

    Pat Maroon and Andrew Peeke arrived at their new club 24 hours later. Both will be eased into the Boston lineup as Maroon recovers from a back injury and Peeke adjusts to new surroundings after struggling to find his footing in his final year with the lowly Blue Jackets.

    Ullmark faced some decent traffic in his first post-deadline start against the Penguins but remained square in tracking pucks through bodies and sticks to the tune of 39 saves. But as they encountered some leaks and turnovers defending the rush, the Bruins established a healthy attacking zone presence against Pittsburgh’s shaky D core.

    David Pastrnak’s one-timer, Pavel Zacha’s tally along the goal line and Brad Marchand’s backhander paced Boston to a 3-0 lead over a 15:59 time span.


    Kris Letang’s blast early in the third provided a blip. But the Bruins prevented Pittsburgh’s hopes of a pushback in check as DeBrusk and Zacha notched insurance markers to put the finishing touches on the 5-1 victory.

    Here’s what we learned as the Bruins earned their third regulation win in four games.

    Ullmark feels fortunate to remain in Boston.

    Jeremy Swayman couldn’t help but wonder if Thursday marked his final victory hug with Ullmark. A day later, the other half of the dynamic tandem faced the final round of rumors for his 2023-24 season.

    Within the multiple trade deadline T.V. specials and social media chatter came a nugget about Ullmark refusing to waive his no-trade clause in a potential trade to Los Angeles. Sweeney declined to address the validity of the Ullmark report during his press conference.

    Following his traditional postgame victory embrace with Swayman, Ullmark had his turn with the media after recording his first win since Feb. 8. He also refused to expand on any possible discussion with the Boston front office about waiving his NTC.


    “I’m just very happy to be here,” Ullmark said. “This is the team I want to be in. I’m very fortunate to be a part of this group, and ever since Day 1, I’ve loved it here. So I’m very happy the trade deadline is over with.”

    The goaltending needs throughout the league may lead the Bruins to revisit their goaltending prospectus in the off-season. Ullmark will enter the final year of his deal at a time where Swayman is due for a long-term raise and Brandon Bussi’s waiver-exempt status expires.

    Ullmark won’t have to worry about rumors and scuttlebutt for the rest of Boston’s centennial season. The Bruins wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

    On Saturday, they benefitted from Ullmark’s steady hand.

    “He was our best player. Wasn’t close,” Montgomery said of Ullmark. “I’m glad he’s still a Bruin.”

    The sentiment holds for the other hotly rumored Bruin on the trade market.

    DeBrusk also responded to his deadline day accordingly.

    The Ullmark rumors began in earnest during the 2023 off-season. The other rumored Bruin on this year’s deadline block became a hotly debated daily topic upon his trade request two years ago.

    DeBrusk wasn’t made available to the media after notching consecutive two-point outings with his goal and assist against the Penguins. Frankly, he could’ve used a breather from discussing the latest scuttlebutt.

    DeBrusk’s teammates, however, were more than happy to do all the talking for him — and, for that matter, Ullmark.

    “It’s going to weigh on you no matter who you are, and they had a hell of a game,” Pastrnak said. “They’re a big part of our team, and obviously they showed it today. I’m happy that they are here.”


    The Edmonton-born product remains the lone holdover from that trio of 2015 first-round selections. The Bruins included Jakub Zboril in their package to Columbus for Peeke. They risk losing DeBrusk for nothing as he plays out the final months of his contract.

    The streaky DeBrusk showcased his strengths against the Penguins, using his speed and net-drive traits. The Bruins will only benefit from that going forward, especially if DeBrusk showcases similar offensive consistency from his career season a year ago.

    Hampus Lindholm had an active return.

    The former Anaheim Duck endured tough stretches during his second full season in Boston. But since returning from the All-Star break, amid a challenging stretch of Boston’s third-period meltdowns and defensive lapses, Lindholm’s slowly returned to his productive two-way roots before falling to a lower-body injury on Feb. 19.

    The coverage around the blue line remained loose at times. But over the last week, the Bruins began displaying more defensive urgency in front of the net. Down the other end, the core of blue-liners remain actively engaged in supporting Boston’s attacking zone setup.

    Lindholm will only help the Bruins improve in those departments. The Swede found his footing early in his return to Boston’s lineup Saturday, providing a pair of helpers and landing two shots on net during his 21:05 time on ice.

    “You could tell that he had a lot more jump than the rest of our players and excited to be back,” Montgomery said of Lindholm. I thought he was simple, but just really effective, especially offensively.”

    Pastrnak joins elite 40-goal company.

    At this time last season, the Bruins and Pastrnak inked pen to paper on the largest contract in franchise history. Now, both parties seek to reap the benefits of their eight-year commitment.

    Pastrnak’s ascension among Bruins greats continued into Saturday after he notched his fourth career 40-goal season with his latest tally at 2:26 of the middle stanza.

    Now nine shy of 350 for his career, four 40-goal campaigns tied him for 

    Cam Neely for third most in the 100-year history of the organization, trailing only Phil Esposito (seven) and Rick Middleton (five) in that illustrious department.


    “I won’t take it for granted, obviously,” Pastrnak said. “It’s my job to score goals, but obviously, it’s the best league in the world. So, I don’t take it for granted. It doesn’t mean anything to me right now, not much, but definitely a lot of scoring. So yes, it makes me happy.

    The accolades and dazzling moments will only pile up for the 25th pick of the 2014 Draft. But Pastrnak and the rest of the Bruins have their sights set on a chance at a more illustrious team goal that’s evaded them for nearly a decade and a half.

    The Bruins remain confident in their post-deadline group.

    On the surface, the cap-strapped Bruins marginally improved after adding a bottom-six grinder (Maroon) and rugged third-pairing blue-liner (Peeke). 

    Frankly, they weren’t in a position of strength to upgrade.

    In a year of transition, the Bruins developed into a solid, but flawed, hockey team. They’re not as deep down the middle following the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Nor do they possess the same shutdown defensive structure from their record-breaking regular season in 2022-23.

    They’ve faced more adversity this season. But that can only benefit them in the long run, especially after facing very few obstacles before last year’s first-round matchup with Florida.

    “We’re happy with our group,” Pastrnak said. “We put in some good games lately in a row. We’re starting to figure it out. It’s about sitting down, following the gameplan and keep moving forward and keep getting better as a team.”

    A challenging 16-game stretch awaits the Bruins as they try to ease Maroon and Peeke into the lineup. With their current roster intact for the stretch run, the tight-knit group remains more than happy to welcome their new additions with open arms.

    “I think we’ve got some pretty good additions here,” Lindholm said. “I’ve played with Maroon before [in Anaheim]. Great guy to have in the locker room, he’s really good at what he’s doing there. Peeke, I’ve played against him a lot. I think he’s really good… defensively strong, good skater… I’m super excited to have them here.”

    Facebook Comments
    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.


    You Might also Like

    Leave a Comment