It’s even worse than originally reported for Jake DeBrusk. The Boston Bruins have placed the forward on long-term injured reserve with hand and lower-body injuries, suffered in the Winter Classic on Monday. DeBrusk was seen after the game in a walking boot and reports suggested he broke his fibula. The Bruins say his recovery timeline is approximately four weeks.
In his place, the team has recalled Chris Wagner from the AHL.
DeBrusk managed to score the tying and winning goals in the outdoor game, but will now be sidelined for at least the next ten Bruins’ matches. Without him, the team is expected to elevate Taylor Hall to the top six, their best chance at replacing DeBrusk’s offensive production. The 26-year-old has flourished under new head coach Jim Montgomery, with 16 goals and 30 points in 36 games so far this year.
If there were ever a team that can absorb a loss for a little while, it might be the Bruins, who have built up a big lead through the first half of the season. The club is an incredible 29-4-4 on the year and sits nine points ahead of their closest division rival. They’ve done it with exquisite depth at every position, meaning they should be able to work through the absence of one player.
Even his roster replacement should not be overlooked. Wagner, 31, has more than 350 games of NHL experience and was a regular with the Bruins as recently as 2020-21. While he doesn’t offer nearly the same offensive upside – he has just 37 goals in his entire career – he can slide into a vacant spot on the fourth line and contribute nicely. The team was already carrying $225K of his $1.35M cap hit despite being buried in the minor leagues.
Because they had such little cap space, DeBrusk needed to be moved to LTIR if a replacement was going to come up. It will also technically give the team enough space to recall another player if they choose, as they had been operating with a 22-man roster to this point.