On Monday, Elliotte Friedman reported that the Boston Bruins and forward Jake DeBrusk have plans to part ways. Per the report, it sounds like DeBrusk wants a fresh start and the team is willing to explore options to give him that opportunity.
The trade may not happen within the next few days, but it's fair to assume a trade will happen before the calendar turns into 2022. In fact, a trade for both sides means the Bruins get new blood in sooner and DeBrusk gets his fresh start.
This is where we have fun. The reason you're reading this article is because I fully believe Jake DeBrusk is a player the Chicago Blackhawks need to make a push for.
Immediately when I read the report regarding DeBrusk, I thought, "Blackhawks get him for Dylan Strome!" That's right. Another player desperately in need of a new situation, Strome could benefit from playing with a deep team such as the Bruins. In fact, I wasn't the only person who put the connection together.
Let's compare the players. For starters, Dylan Strome is 24 years old and has only appeared in 12 games this season, tallying one goal and two assists. Of late, the former third overall pick has been a healthy scratch in favor of players such as Henrik Borgstrom, Reese Johnson, and Mike Hardman. Strome's best season in Chicago came back in 2018-19 following the trade from the Arizona Coyotes. In 58 games with Chicago, he tallied 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists). He followed that up with a 38-point season the following year but has struggled ever since.
On the other hand, Jake DeBrusk is 25 years old and has appeared in 17 of Boston's 18 games. In that time frame, the 2015 first-round pick has tallied six points (three goals, three assists). DeBrusk's desire to be moved may stem from a lack of opportunity in Boston. Due to the forward depth the Bruins have in their top six, he hasn't seen a ton of minutes. In fact, his average minutes align with a third-line player on most nights. DeBrusk's first two seasons saw him tally greater than 40 points, followed up by a 35-point campaign in his third year. However, since signing his two-year bridge deal, similar to Strome, he has struggled.
Now, let's analyze the fit. For starters, both players are on similar contracts. Both players signed two-year deals prior to the 2021 shortened season. Strome's contract has a $3 million AAV and DeBrusk's deal pays him $3.675 million on average. That fact alone makes the trade worthwhile. In fact, there likely wouldn't need to be much more added to the deal. The teams could possibly flip depth players in the deal too, but Strome and DeBrusk would be the feature players in a trade.
In addition, both teams could use the proposed players in the swap. Strome would help Boston's depth since he can play center. Boston isn't hurting, as Charlie Coyle is a nice No. 2 center behind Patrice Bergeron, but adding Strome to play as a third-line center/wing is ideal for their depth. As for DeBrusk, Chicago loves players that fit in the middle six. In fact, DeBrusk would likely see regular time in the middle six in Chicago and, if he found chemistry with one of the top three centers, he'd likely stick on their wing. Ideally, if Toews and Kane are split up again, DeBrusk would slide in nicely next to the Hawks' captain.
Truthfully, Jake DeBrusk could thrive in Chicago. A solid depth scorer given the right opportunity could have a big impact early. For whatever reason, I see some Brandon Hagel in DeBrusk, a player who is currently doing very well in Chicago. Perhaps DeBrusk finds his stride with the Blackhawks and has that type of impact on this team now and in the future.
Also, both players provide little risk to their potential acquiring teams. If both struggle, they let them walk in free agency. If they like what they see but don't want to commit, an affordable contract is very much in play. Finally, if they both thrive, then both teams have the first opportunity to extend the players long-term. This is a very low-risk, high-reward move for both sides.
Why does DeBrusk fit in Chicago? Well, one fun fact is that his dad, Louie, finished his career with the Blackhawks in 2002-03. Although Louie DeBrusk only appeared in four games, Chicago was the last stop of a solid 11-year career.
In addition, two of DeBrusk's WHL teammates are with the Blackhawks. In 2015-16, DeBrusk was traded from the Swift Current Broncos to the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL. Once joining the Rebels, DeBrusk teamed up and played alongside Reese Johnson and Brandon Hagel. Both players were in their second and first seasons, respectively, in the WHL.
Overall, the trade makes a lot of sense for both sides. When considering all the reasons above, interim GM Kyle Davidson should call Boston and discuss a deal for Dylan Strome, bringing Jake DeBrusk to Chicago for his fresh start.