Jake DeBrusk
Have the Bruins given up on Jake DeBrusk? Bruce Cassidy told reporters DeBrusk is now a healthy scratch. Is a trade in his future? (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Have The Bruins Given Up On Jake DeBrusk?

How does Boston create offense beyond its magical first line of David Pasternak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron? That’s the million dollar question and one that needs to come to fruition if the Bruins win another Stanley Cup. Thus far on the season, Boston is 13-6-3 locked into the third spot in the East division.

The Bruins have performed close to expectations during the 2021 season. There’s a lot of young defenders playing roles they shouldn’t be playing. There’s a youth movement coming that features Trent Frederic and Jack Studnicka. It just doesn’t appear that Jake DeBrusk is close to living up to his potential.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is running out of ways to try to kickstart DeBrusk. DeBrusk has been held to an injury plagued 17 games notching just one goal and four assists. Now, the young winger has found himself as a healthy scratch. YIKES.

VIA NESN:

“Well, we’ve tried different angles with Jake,” Cassidy said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “He’s met 1-on-1 with myself, he’s met 1-on-1 with the coaches, Joe (Sacco) and Jay (Pandolfo), met with lines, has talked with some of the veteran guys. At the end of the day we’re not quite getting out of Jake what we want. Some of that is circumstances and situational, he’s moved around, been hurt. His center that he’s played with in the past has been hurt.”

“I still feel he’s been given ice time to perform to the best of his ability. We just feel that we’re not getting the effort required,” Cassidy said. “It’s not always about the scoresheet, it’s about being one of 20 guys helping you win. Some nights it’s there and some nights it’s not. Again, we’ve tried different messaging with the player, and sometimes going upstairs and taking a look is not a bad way to go and put a different perspective on it. Maybe have a better appreciation for being in there, and then maybe educating yourself on some things you see from up top that look a little easier than they do in the live action.

“So at the end of the day, he’s not the first person that’s been scratched and he won’t be the last. But we want to make him a better player in the long run and this is the avenue we’re going to take today and sort it out on Thursday when the Rangers are in town.”

DeBrusk just looks like he’s taking steps backward. There’s no question the Canadian-born winger can skate. He posses good breakaway speed, but his overall skill level is questionable. Two years ago, DeBrusk scored 27 goals as a 22-year-old. Whether it be effort level or shaky puck scoring ability, that guy looks gone.

It poses an interesting question for the Bruins. Now is the time to strike. Bergeron and Marchand aren’t getting any younger. Pasternak is in the midst of his prime and Charlie McAvoy appears to be on a star trajectory. Is it time to trade DeBrusk for a change of scenery?

Furthermore, is DeBrusk someone you leave unprotected in the expansion draft with the Seattle Kraken set to join the league? If it’s even a question, shouldn’t DeBrusk on the trade block in order to land a player that can help you win now? Depth is going to be snaked one way or another with the expansion draft. DeBrusk could easily become the player Seattle selects.

Offense beyond the first line and formidable defense needs to be the Bruins’ priorities heading into the trade deadline. If DeBrusk has found himself as a healthy scratch, maybe it’s time to part ways. Better yet, maybe this is the Bruins’ way of telling the rest of the league they’ve given up on him.

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