Cassidy reacts to DeBrusk’s cancellation of the Bruins’ trade request that originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Bruins fired head coach Bruce Cassidy on June 6. About a month later, reports surfaced that tight end Jake DeBrusk had rescinded the trade request. B’s general manager Don Sweeney confirmed this on July 6, shortly before the 2022 NHL Draft.
Did Cassidy’s departure make DeBrusk change his mind about Boston?
Cassidy, in an effort to maximize DeBrusk’s production, was tough on the 25-year-old winger at times. DeBrusk has also been good at times in recent years, and has been one of the most inconsistent players on the roster during that stretch.
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Cassidy was recently asked about DeBrusk’s return to the Bruins in an interview with Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal.
“Jake? Only he can answer. I thought he had a really good finish to his year,” said Cassidy, who was hired as the Vegas Golden Knights’ coach in mid-June. “I think there were different things that contributed to the trade demand. We just signed Taylor Hall, who was a left winger, on a long-term contract. (Brad Marchand) was on a long-term contract, so there might have been some issues with how high I could go in the lineup.
“I think the thing that worked with Jake is he switched to right wing and that really helped him get more ice time and play with higher level players. So that was good for him that was receptive to that switch. But only he can answer that.”
DeBrusk finished the 2021-22 season quite well, scoring 10 goals in the final 19 games, bringing his total to 25 goals in 77 games overall. It was the second time he scored more than 25 goals in a single season.
What would Cassidy’s message be for a player like DeBrusk to continue to improve?
“Those messages have all been sent, to be honest with you. I’m a Knight now, he’s a Bruin,” Cassidy said. “I’ve said it many times. Jake’s a good guy. He’s been low maintenance when it comes to dealing with them. My message always with Jake has been in a daily league, every day be ready to play, be at your best, second effort — that gets you up the league ladder in terms of going from a good player to a great player. And I think he’s got the ability to be a great player. So that’s my job as a coach to push him How you push them player to player is always something you reevaluate.
“And we’ve done that with Jake and all the other players — there comes a time when they earn more rope. And there are times when we have to remind them of the process. He’s a good league player and he’s really, really good because he has elite skating and he can finish . It’s kind of, at some point, for the player to push to get to the next level, like Marchy and (David Pastrnak) have in the past. So he can get to that age now is the time. Maybe a different voice will it could be time. We’ll see.”
DeBrusk, based on recent comments from new B’s coach Jim Montgomery, is likely to remain in right wing on the front line with Patrice Bergeron to start next season.
It’s a huge opportunity for DeBrusk to get off to a good start and help keep the offense going with top-line left wing Brad Marchand expected to miss about a month of the regular season rehabbing from hip surgery.