New York Rangers should stay away from a Jake DeBrusk trade

Mar 11, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) controls the puck during the third period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) controls the puck during the third period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

The Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers already seem to be active in the trade market. One name that has surfaced is Jake DeBrusk, a candidate that should not be touched with a ten-foot pole; or even Zdeno Chara’s hockey stick.

On a recent edition of Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC), Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek noted that the Rangers have inquired about Jake DeBrusk of the Boston Bruins as a potential trade candidate. While also mentioning that the Rangers have been one of several teams circling around Jakob Chychrun of the Arizona Coyotes, DeBrusk is the name that is truly surprising.

DeBrusk, a former first round pick drafted 14th overall by the Bruins back in 2015, is a disgruntled left winger who had requested a trade earlier in the year.

With a career high of 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists) in 70 games played during his rookie campaign in the 2017-18 season, DeBrusk has failed to hit the 40 point mark since his sophomore year of 2018-19; a year in which he posted 27 goals and 42 points in 68 games.

Currently, DeBrusk has accumulated 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 33 games this season in a severely decreased role on the Bruins, which is likely the reason for the trade request.

Does it make sense for the Rangers?

DeBrusk, 25, plays a north-south game and generates most of his offense from the slot and in front of the net. With Rangers General Manager Chris Drury placing an emphasis on that style of play, the team’s interest in DeBrusk makes sense in that regard.

However, DeBrusk’s decline in play is certainly concerning. In addition, the Edmonton, Alberta native plays a position in which the Rangers currently have an abundance of; that being left wingers, of course.

With Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, and Alexis Lafrenière already occupying the three left wing spots in the top nine, it would be difficult to find a location to slot DeBrusk in that would not be on the fourth line.

That is, unless Drury and head coach Gerard Gallant feel as though DeBrusk could make the switch over to right wing and potentially find a home on the right side of Ryan Strome and Panarin; or perhaps the third line with the merry-go-round of forwards who have held positions on that unit.

DeBrusk does have some time played at the right wing position with Boston, last year in particular. Being that his offensive totals were less than ideal, the proposition of moving him to that position is unwise.

The cost of acquisition

During Marek’s soliloquy on HNIC, he stated that the cost to acquire DeBrusk from the Bruins would be a fellow struggling young forward from the Rangers in Filip Chytil. This trade proposal is risky and ill-advised, at best; and a disaster at worst.

Chytil has certainly not blossomed into the breakout young talent the Rangers expected out of him this year. With a whopping 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 38 games played, his quest to put the puck into the back of the net has been mostly unsuccessful this season.

While generating a high frequency of scoring chances offensively, he has failed to take advantage of the opportunities he has created. Additionally, his appalling faceoff win percentage of 42.42 percent has made it difficult to keep him at his natural center position.

A switch to right wing saw him post four points in as many games, yet it was not enough to keep him on the right side of Strome and Panarin as indicated by Gallant’s preference to keep a hardworking, gritty forward on that second line.

This could be where DeBrusk fits in, as his style of play matches the approach that Gallant seems to take for finding a third forward to play on that second line.

However, this is where the very important caveat comes into play. DeBrusk’s scoring has dropped significantly over the last few years as has his role on the Bruins. In 41 games last year, the winger posted just five goals and 14 points in 41 games.

Meanwhile, Chytil’s scoring had been on the rise up until this year. This past season, the young Czech center scored at half a point per game in 42 games; his 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) as a third line center who received extremely low power play time and low ice time totals altogether.

Thus, this could simply be a down season in production for Chytil who is still just 22 years of age. DeBrusk is similarly having a bad year himself, but it is extremely important to note that this is not his first season in which he has struggled and is three years older than Chytil.

Ideally, if the Rangers wish to upgrade the second line right wing position they could give Chytil an extended look in that role. However, that line will certainly have to work on their defensive responsibilities if that trio is to succeed as a group.

If the Rangers do not believe Chytil is the answer on that second unit, then looking elsewhere for a solution is the best route to take. The market is generally hot around the trade deadline, so there will most certainly be better options out there than Jake DeBrusk.

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