It’s been a long, strange few years for the Boston Bruins organization, and for the NHL as well as the entire league has persevered through challenges and obstacles simply to bring hockey back to a sense of normalcy.
Nobody could have guessed that Boston Bruins Jake DeBrusk would still be with the B’s on the cusp of the playoffs after his trade request surfaced back in December, and certainly nobody could have predicted he would be the B’s nominee for the Masterton Trophy given to a player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
The 25-year-old DeBrusk addressed the team at the time about the public trade request, and vowed he’d continue to play to the best of his ability helping the Boston Bruins win while he was still with the team. Jake DeBrusk did exactly that by scoring the second-most goals (23) of his career and approaching a career-high in points with three games left remaining in the season, and all the while showing perseverance and professionalism while not allowing any conflicted feelings about his situation to impact his performance.
Jake DeBrusk continues his strong second half and ties the game: pic.twitter.com/V6jkOiV4u5
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) April 20, 2022
“It tests you,” said DeBrusk back in March once the NHL trade deadline had passed. “Obviously my last two years of my personal life, and just life in general with COVID and everything, it’s been a whirlwind to say the least. I think that it brought out some good things in me and some bad things. There are tough days and there’s good days. And I just took it shift-by-shift and day-by-day.”
Instead DeBrusk has worked his way into a right wing spot on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and has bounced back fully from the worst season of his career when he posted just five goals and 14 points in 41 games. DeBrusk was dropped from his customary spot on the second line with David Krejci during that fateful 2020-21 campaign and was even a healthy scratch for one of the second-round playoff games against the New York Islanders.
As a young, single player without a family, the lockdown COVID protocols were very difficult for DeBrusk over the previous couple of seasons, and that clearly played into his play suffering on the ice.
A playoff healthy scratch would have been unthinkable in past seasons and doesn’t seem likely to happen this postseason either. DeBrusk even signed a two-year contract extension with the Boston Bruins at $4 million per season, though that deal may simply be a precursor for the winger getting his trade request granted following this season.
But for the time being, DeBrusk has kept fully focused on the job at hand with the Boston Bruins and has played a more consistently strong all-around game in a year that’s been challenging for him personally and professionally. That’s worthy of recognition even if it’s simply about DeBrusk putting his head down and getting his job done at a time when it wasn’t as easy as it’s been in the past for the former first round pick.