Should the NY Islanders be targeting Jake DeBrusk?

New York Islanders v Boston Bruins
New York Islanders v Boston Bruins / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Now that the frenzy surrounding Alex DeBrincat is over, as he's been traded to and signed an extension with the Detroit Red Wings, a new forward has emerged as a speculative target of the NY Islanders in Jake DeBrusk.

Drafted 14th overall by the Boston Bruins in 2015, DeBrusk is coming off the best season of his NHL career. His 50 points (27 goals, 23 assists) were a career-high, despite missing 18 games. Since joining the Bruins full-time in the 2017-18 season, DeBrusk has been more of a goal scorer than a playmaker, as evidenced by his 119 career goals and 107 assists.

Before last season, DeBrusk had requested a trade from the Bruins. After Bruce Cassidy was let go from his duties as Head Coach last summer, DeBrusk has since rescinded his request under new bench boss Jim Montgomery.

DeBrusk, now 27 years old, spent the 2022-23 season playing on the wing with several different centers, whether it was Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Charlie Coyle, or Pavel Zacha. With the moving pieces and injuries throughout Boston's lineup, DeBrusk was never consistently lined up alongside the same teammates, making it difficult to build chemistry.

With the uncertainty surrounding the futures of Krejci and Bergeron, there could potentially be a glaring hole down the middle for a team that just set the record for the most points ever in a season.

The Islanders can cenceivably help solve that issue, as Lou Lamoriello and company have five extremely capable centers. JG Pageau, who plays a strong two-way game, could slide in the center role on the Bruins' third line, capable of playing up in the linuep when needed. While Pageau wouldn't be enough for the Bruins to off-load DeBrusk, Oliver Wahlstrom is a name that can likely be thrown into the mix.

Oliver Wahlstrom, Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The money works on both ends of the deal, as the Isles would free up an additional $1M in cap space swapping Pageau's $5M AAV for Debrusk's $4M. With one year left on his deal and the core of the team locked up for the foreseeable future, Lamoriello would have money to extend DeBrusk next season as the cap is set to go up by $4M.

It may not be enough for Lamoriello to send his Swiss army knife and one of his youngest forwards packing, as he may look for a prospect or draft pick in return to sweeten the deal.

There's not much left out there in terms of trade targets, as the Isles are pressed against the cap ceiling and need to move salary to make any potential deal work. It would be a risky move for Lamoriello, but DeBrusk could potentially improve on his 27 goals by playing alongside Mat Barzal and Bo Horvat.