The Boston Bruins are a team to watch in the trade market after left winger Jake DeBrusk's agent made his client's trade request public last week.
Reports indicate the Bruins are trying to make something happen, but they also won't be rushed into doing anything. This logic makes sense with the March trade deadline still a long way off.
Several teams, including the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, reportedly have expressed interest in DeBrusk. He's a former first-round draft pick who averaged 20.67 goals scored over his first three NHL seasons. The problem is his recent offensive production has been pretty weak. He's scored just nine times in 61 games since the start of the 2020-21 season.
What is another issue for teams interested in DeBrusk? ESPN's Emily Kaplan highlighted one in a story posted Wednesday.
"There are two players everyone knows are on the trade market, but they haven't been easy deals to consummate: Chicago's Dylan Strome and Boston's Jake DeBrusk," Kaplan wrote.
She later added: "It's a similar situation for 25-year-old DeBrusk, with his eligibility for arbitration a serious holdup for teams. There seems to be plenty of interest in the winger; teams I've heard connected to him this year (and in the past) are the Blues, Flames and Rangers. The Bruins, like the Blackhawks, want to make sure they don't lose a promising young player in an underwhelming trade."
Not only is DeBrusk in the final year of his contract and eligible for arbitration in the offseason, his qualifying offer is nearly $4.5 million. That's a pretty high number for a player who's goal scoring has cratered of late. He's also making $4.85 million in salary this season, which is another high number for a player of his caliber.
DeBrusk needs a fresh start. It hasn't worked in Boston. He's been a healthy scratch already this season, and his consistency offensively hasn't gotten much better.
The Bruins should work to accommodate his request, but they need to get some sort of NHL value in return. Picks and/or prospects aren't going to help a Bruins team in win-now mode with several key players over the age of 30.