From now until the beginning of training camp, Boston Hockey Now is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2022-23 Boston Bruins. Today’s player: Jake DeBrusk.
Social Media Handles: Intsagram – @jdebrusk Twitter – @JDebrusk
What Happened Last Year:
What a roller coaster the 2021-23 season was for Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk! After a brutal start to the season and decreased playing time, DeBrusk requested a trade from the Bruins with numerous reports citing a riff with former Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. From there, things just spiraled and DeBrusk became a constant in NHL trade rumors leading all the way up until the March 21 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. However, after Bruce Cassidy decided to split up ‘The Perfection Line’ of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak on Jan. 1, DeBrusk found himself riding shotgun on his off wing with Bergeron and Marchand, and Pastrnak was eventually lined up with Erik Haula and Taylor Hall on the second line. It took about a month for DeBrusk to settle in but once he did, he became one of the Bruins’ best players down the stretch.
After just seven goals and ten assists in his first 42 games, DeBrusk finished with 18 goals and seven assists in his final 42 games of the season. Even as DeBrusk’s game picked up in February and into the March 21 NHL Trade Deadline, the feeling was that the 25-year-old winger would still be traded. Instead, the Bruins shocked the NHL world on deadline day and signed DeBrusk to a two-year, $8 million contract extension. Debrusk finished the season with his second 25-goal campaign (he scored 27 in 2018-19) of his career and second 42-point campaign (2018-19 being the other), of his career. He then added two goals and two assists in seven playoff games.
Just under a month after the Boston Bruins fired Cassidy, Jake DeBrusk rescinded his trade request. DeBrusk met with the media Tuesday and would not confirm or deny that the Cassidy firing led to him wanting to stay.
Questions To Be Answered This Season:
While DeBrusk won’t and likely never will admit that he rescinded the trade offer because Cassidy is gone, it will be interesting to see if he has a better start to the 2022-23 regular season than he did last season. If he starts off better under new Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery then obviously many will point to Cassidy being gone but really, they should simply credit DeBrusk and be excited that he could be entering his prime at the right time for him and the team. The bigger question from this scribe is can he do that during the first two months of the season while Marchand is out of the lineup. The Bruins will likely start the season with a first line of DeBrusk, Bergeron and newcomer Pavel Zacha on the first line. DeBrusk will be depended on even more to deliver and this is his chance to finally prove he can. There is no coach or anything else to blame anymore.
In Their Words:
“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].” – Jake DeBrusk on Tuesday when asked if Cassidy’s firing led to him rescinding his trade request.
The read here is that if DeBrusk can stay healthy, he can easily crack that 25-goal mark and have a legit chance at scoring 30 goals in a season for the first time in his career. He is in a bridge contract now and if he ramps it up this season and next, he can hit pay dirt in unrestricted free agency in 2024 if he decides to hit the market then.