BRIGHTON, MA – Boston Bruins left winger Jake DeBrusk figured to be one of the more interesting players to talk to at this week’s captain’s practices at Warrior Ice Arena after rescinding his trade request this summer, and that’s what happened on Tuesday as the speedy forward breezed into Boston from his Edmonton home this week.
The 25-year-old, along with Oskar Steen, joined the crew skating at Warrior and then indicated that the support he received inside the Boston Bruins dressing room, after publicly requesting a trade midseason, went a long way toward getting him to stay after the season concluded. Certainly, the way his season went played a factor as well, as DeBrusk finished with 25 goals and 42 points in 77 games along with a plus-6 rating in a nice rebound performance.
DeBrusk played well enough that he finished last season at right wing on Boston’s top line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and he also received “tight” support from his teammates inside the room.
“That’s the one thing I’ve always loved about this team. I’ve loved the boys and also the city and everything else. This is what I know, and this is what I’m comfortable with,” said DeBrusk. “It honestly wasn’t that hard of a decision to make. It was one of those things where I talked about it a little bit and I was leaning that way.”
Jake DeBrusk on rescinding his trade request: “At the end of the year I said I’d talk it over w/my family & think things over. The biggest thing for me, honestly, was the support I got from the guys in this room. It felt like there was a lot coming at me & the guys kept it tight”
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) September 13, 2022
One thing that hadn’t really been discussed was how much of a role the Bruce Cassidy firing played in DeBrusk dropping the trade request and deciding to stick around. Certainly, there was plenty of speculation, and some sources in the know, that hinted at a major rift between the two parties, and on top of that a considerable number of Boston Bruins players that had grown weary of the iron fist Cassidy often delivered his message with to the dressing room.
Read what you will out of this answer from the left winger when asked if the coaching change from Cassidy to Jim Montgomery played any role in his decision to stick around Boston.
“It’s been speculated enough. I think you guys know that I see stuff. Obviously, it’s an easy answer and we can talk and talk about it. Your job is to ask those types of questions and it’s kind of an interesting hot topic when I asked for a trade. But I’m just looking forward to this year and not having to answer those questions anymore. This whole summer has been about getting ready for this season and that’s how I view [it].”
The good news for DeBrusk is that this time he answered all questions right away on the first day possible, so that pretty much guarantees he doesn’t have to talk about the trade request/Bruce Cassidy issue again if he doesn’t want to. The even better news is that it appears he’ll at least start training camp at the right wing spot on Boston’s top line with a chance to be even more impactful than he was last season if he fully commits to playing a consistent, two-way game punctuated by second effort as much as it by his elite skating ability and dangerously lethal shot.
DeBrusk also has the security of a two-year deal, now, that could either take him to bigger, better numbers given the catbird seat that he’s in as he enters his prime years, or it could allow him the kind of comfort to sink back into a passenger role he filled far too often in the last few seasons of the Cassidy Era.
The bet here is that DeBrusk has matured from this whole thing and will be on to bigger and better things, but there is absolutely zero way to know until things get going this season, particularly without Marchand for the first few months.