Jake DeBrusk explained why he rescinded his trade request

"It honestly wasn't that hard of a decision to make."

The Boston Bruins held the 2nd day of captain’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Tuesday morning. Jake DeBrusk (left) chats with Connor Clifton. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe

For nearly a year and a half, Jake DeBrusk found himself in Bruce Cassidy’s doghouse and the hockey rumor mill.

The trade chatter intensified every time Cassidy scratched DeBrusk from the lineup. And undoubtedly, DeBrusk struggled producing offense during the 2021 pandemic-shortened season and again for nearly half of the 2021-22 campaign.

DeBrusk apparently reached a breaking point following another healthy scratch in late November. His trade request became public after another Cassidy benching in a post-Thanksgiving tilt with the Vancouver Canucks.

Amid the noise, DeBrusk’s teammates didn’t hesitate to support him. The 2015 first-round pick found his game again during the second half of last year and eventually earned a spot on the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He made the most of his top-end speed and net-front game, complementing the dynamic Marchand-Bergeron duo to a T, tallying 25 points in his final 32 games of the regular season.


Following an awkward season, DeBrusk pondered over his future. After discussing the situation with his family in Edmonton, DeBrusk decided to pull his trade request.

“I think the biggest thing last year was the support I got from this room,” DeBrusk said following Tuesday’s captains’ practice. “I felt like it was obviously a lot of stuff coming my way for obvious reasons, and the guys in this room kept it tight and kept it as one. That’s something I’ve always loved about this team

“I’ve always loved the boys and the city and everything else. This is what I’ve known, and this is what I’m comfortable with. It honestly wasn’t that hard of a decision to make. In saying that — and building off last season — it’s one of those things I talked about a little bit, and I was leaning that way, so yeah, that’s how it all happened.”

The Bruins signed DeBrusk to a two-year contract extension before their late-March tilt with the Montreal Canadiens. They parted ways with Cassidy following their first-round playoff loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Cassidy firing prompted further speculation on DeBrusk’s motivation to renege on his trade request. But DeBrusk wouldn’t go into specifics on the Cassidy dynamic.


“That’s been speculated enough I think,” DeBrusk said. “I think you guys know how I see stuff. Obviously, that’s an easy answer, but it’s one of those things that we can talk about. I respect all of you guys. Your job is to ask those type of questions. Obviously, it’s one of those things that are interesting to have lots of hot topics about the situation why I asked for a trade, but I am just looking forward to this year.

“I think I said it after against Montreal [in March] that I was looking forward to not answering those questions anymore, and it’s one of those things that’s in the past. This whole summer has been focused on getting right and getting ready for this season, and that’s how I kind of view that question.”

DeBrusk no longer has to worry about any takes regarding his past. Now he hopes to become a significant contributor in Boston’s core, this time with Jim Montgomery at the helm.

Montgomery and DeBrusk exchanged a few words in introductory conversations over the summer. During his interview on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund telethon in late August, Montgomery said he envisioned DeBrusk in a top-line role with Bergeron and newcomer Pavel Zacha to start the 2022-23 campaign.


“He sent me a couple of texts throughout the year, and he called me as well throughout the summer. [We had] good conversations as just kind of quick introductions,” DeBrusk said of his chats with Boston’s new bench boss. “I haven’t met him yet. I just got here late last night, so I’m looking forward to meeting him. He sounds very eager and excited to put his stamp on this team just like we all are. We’re looking forward to an exciting year.”

The Bruins will have their hands full from the get-go as Marchand (hip), Matt Grzelcyk (right shoulder) and Charlie McAvoy (left shoulder) all heal from their respective off-season surgeries. They’ll lean on a top-six of DeBrusk, Bergeron, Zacha, David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall and a returning David Krejci for the chunk of their offensive production without their crafty top-line left winger and pair of puck-moving defensemen.


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