How Does Bruce Cassidy Feel About Jake DeBrusk Rescinding Bruins Trade Request?

DeBrusk requested a trade from Boston last November

by

August 30

One of the bigger storylines surrounding the Bruins last season was Jake DeBrusk requesting a trade out of Boston.

Then the forward added to the story when he rescinded the request not long after Bruce Cassidy was relieved of his coaching duties. Cassidy spent six seasons with the Bruins.

DeBrusk made the request in November and was able to dodge questions about it for a while. But a hot streak after he was moved up to the top line to play with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron made it difficult to not face the media.

While the 25-year-old never fully addressed it, he did say he didn’t know what the future held for him after the Carolina Hurricanes ended the Bruins’ Stanley Cup playoff run. General manager Don Sweeney confirmed in July that DeBrusk indicated he’d like to stay.

Cassidy never was afraid to call players out or healthy scratch them if he felt he wasn’t getting the performance he needed. But he also made it clear he and DeBrusk had good conversations last offseason about what they needed from one another.

Whether DeBrusk rescinding his trade request and Cassidy leaving Boston are related remains up for debate, and likely is something we won’t know the full truth about.

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Cassidy doesn’t want to speak for DeBrusk, but in a sit-down interview with the Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard, the now Vegas Golden Knights head coach shed some light on the whole situation.

“The Jake one? Only he can answer that. I thought he had a really good finish to his year,” Cassidy told Bedard. “I think there was different things that went into his trade demand. We just signed Taylor Hall to a long-term contract, who was a left winger. (Brad Marchand) had a long-term contract, so there may have been some issues of how high I can get in the lineup.

“I think the thing that worked out with Jake is he switched to play the right wing and that really helped him get more ice time and play with higher-end players. So that was a good thing for him to be amenable to that switch. But only he can answer that.”

DeBrusk finished the season with 25 goals — the second time he’s done that in his career — including 10 goals in the final 19 games.

Cassidy knows DeBrusk has the potential to be a great player in the NHL and wonders if a new voice such as Jim Montgomery will elevate him to the next level.

“… There comes a time when they earn more rope. And there are times we have to remind them of the process,” Cassidy told Bedard. “He is a good player in the league and he is really, really good because he’s got elite skating and he can finish. It’s kind of, at some point, on the player to push through to get to the next level, like Marchy and (David Pastrnak) in the past. So he may get to that age where now’s the time. Maybe a different voice could be the time. We’ll see.”

It sounds like Montgomery will keep DeBrusk on the top line when the 2022-23 season begins, especially with Marchand sidelined due to double hip surgery.

This will be a big season for DeBrusk for a number of reasons, and it’s probably a safe bet he will go into the new year with a lot of motivation to have his best season yet.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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