MONTREAL — Does Jake DeBrusk want to be a Bruin long term? That’s unclear, but reportedly he does want to remain in Boston for now.
TSN reporter Ryan Rishaug, who is based in DeBrusk’s hometown of Edmonton, tweeted Monday that DeBrusk’s agent, Rick Valette, and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney reached an understanding about the 25-year-old winger’s future.
Last week, according to Rishaug, Valette informed Sweeney that DeBrusk’s trade request “was rescinded, and that he’d be happy to remain a Bruin moving forward.”
DeBrusk, who has two years remaining on a deal with a $4 million average annual value, “could still be moved,” Rishaug said, “but [that is] unlikely at this point.”
Valette did not immediately return a request for comment. Sweeney is slated to hold a briefing with reporters in Montreal on Wednesday, when NHL GMs will meet in advance of the Thursday-Friday draft at Bell Centre. It will be Sweeney’s first discussion with the media since June 7, when he took questions after he fired coach Bruce Cassidy.
After finding himself in Cassidy’s doghouse, DeBrusk asked out of Boston last offseason. Whether Cassidy’s dismissal had anything or everything to do with it, DeBrusk apparently is ready to give his full attention to new coach Jim Montgomery, who was hired last Friday.
However, in Sweeney’s news conference after the Bruins were eliminated from the playoffs by the Hurricanes, the GM alluded to DeBrusk reconsidering his request.
“I don’t think things have changed, other than he’s happier,” Sweeney said May 18, some six weeks before the team announced the GM’s multiyear contract extension.
“Because [DeBrusk’s] life improved an awful lot. And he deserves a lot of credit for that. He went out and did perform. Maybe it’s a clearer head space that he defined. Not really thinking about things.”
DeBrusk, who signed his contract extension in March, reestablished himself as a top-six winger in the second half of last season. Riding mostly with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, he finished with 25 goals and 42 points in 77 games, after sitting 7-8–15 through the end of January.
“Now he might take some time to reevaluate and realize that I peeked over the neighbor’s yard and the grass is not necessarily greener,” Sweeney said. “My lawn is looking pretty damn good, too.”
The Bruins signed goaltender Kyle Keyser and defenseman Nick Wolff to identical one-year, two-way contracts worth $750,000 at the NHL level.
Keyser, signed as a free agent out of the OHL in October 2017, has appeared in 44 games for AHL Providence since his 2019 debut. The 23-year-old showed promise before injuries, including a concussion, waylaid his first couple of seasons as a pro. He sports a 15-19-9 record with a 2.79 goals-against average, .906 save percentage, and one shutout in the AHL. The Coral Springs, Fla., product will compete with Brandon Bussi for the Providence net.
Wolff, a free agent signee out of Minnesota Duluth in March 2020, is on his third consecutive one-year deal with the Bruins. The big (6 feet 5 inches, 225 pounds), left-shot blue liner turns 26 on July 21. He recorded eight assists and 83 penalty minutes in 32 games with Providence last season.