When you think about Carolina’s positional needs at this point in time, there’s not a lot that comes to mind. Perhaps the only thing that jumps out at you is another scoring threat for the third-line left-wing slot so Turbo can go back to playing his preferred role on the right-wing. One player that makes a lot of sense in this situation for the team to pursue is Boston Bruins outcast Jake DeBrusk.
DeBrusk has had multiple conversations at this point, and NHL Insiders are now reporting that both the team and player are discussing the idea of a fresh start for the Edmonton, Alberta native. Seeing as his deal is not that bad and that he is a restricted free agent at the end of the year, does it make sense for the Hurricanes to try to make a move for the extra winger from the Boston Bruins?
Assuming DeBrusk slots into the top nine on the third line, he has the potential to add 20 goals to the lineup. He’s shown the potential to be more than this too, but he’s not put it all together quite yet. As a former 1st round selection at 14th overall during the 2015 NHL Entry draft, DeBrusk was viewed as a player that could have a lot of upside and potential. Wherever he ends up will need to find a way to unlock that potential.
His cap hit of $3.675 million for the rest of this year is very affordable for the Carolina Hurricanes. Yes, it would limit their options elsewhere taking on all that money, but it would improve the team on the wings for years to come. It would also add a very young player to the roster, and that helps. You want to have contributing young players wherever possible in order to contend for as long as you can.
If Boston is interested in a change of scenery for the player, this could be a simple hockey trade. One for one, player for player. What player you give up is a different question. For me, the one that springs to mind is Jesper Fast. He’s the odd one out with three better right-wingers on the team, but then you could get Boston to retain 50% and you could fit DeBrusk under without moving Fast. Then it’s just a package of futures.
I don’t know if DeBrusk makes sense in Carolina but I know that entertaining the idea is never a bad option. There’s a place for another good, top-nine scoring winger on this roster. Playing with a captain and getting some quality time with a leader might do him some good, hence that third-liner role might work. But this is all speculation and theory. For now, DeBrusk is a Bruin.