Ordinarily, when a player requests a trade, there is at least some consideration to making him a healthy scratch in order to protect the asset. But the Boston Bruins were left with no choice but to play Jake DeBrusk on Tuesday night, which might remain the case going forward.
They seriously did not have any choice.
DeBrusk’s agent went public Monday with the request, which the Bruins confirmed Tuesday morning. However, that didn’t prevent DeBrusk from playing in Tuesday’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings, with the winger skating on the fourth line with Erik Haula and Curtis Lazar.
Brad Marchand is currently serving a three-game suspension, and Anton Blidh is out with an upper-body injury. Ordinarily, the Marchand situation alone would merit a call-up from Providence, but that isn’t even on the table.
The P-Bruins currently have a COVID-19 outbreak, and a big one at that, to the degree Bruins general manager Don Sweeney on Tuesday said a roster move from the AHL isn’t presently possible because Providence’s team is on “lockdown.”
So, instead of having a full 23-man roster, the Bruins on Tuesday only had 21 players available — including their two goalies. Whereas there usually are three scratches, Connor Clifton was the only one not dressing for the game.
If Providence’s situation is that serious, it seems unlikely the lockdown would be lifted in time to get a player to Nashville for Thursday’s game against the Predators. In short, that means the Bruins need to keep trotting out the same group of forwards.
Nobody from Boston, that we know of, got hurt during the game against the Red Wings. Had that happened, the most likely scenario is playing with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, with no healthy scratches against the Preds. If the Providence situation isn’t cleared up soon, that could remain the case into the weekend, with the Bruins scheduled to play Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
There are plenty of AHL players — Zach Senyshyn, Oskar Steen and Jesper Froden among them — deserving of a call-up. But until their outbreak is in a better state, it appears the Bruins will roll with the 21 players they have and hope that they don’t lose anyone else.