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While Playoff Loss Stings, DeBrusk Happy He Wasn’t Traded

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Like all of his 2022-23 Boston Bruins teammates, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk will be haunted by their stunning first round exit and seven-game series loss to the Florida Panthers a week ago.

“I think, obviously, a lot of things had to go wrong. But it is still raw. Personally, been hanging with the guys the last two days and just trying to. ..still don’t really know what happened,” DeBrusk said last Tuesday in his final media session of the season.

DeBrusk wouldn’t go as far as to put this heart-breaking playoff loss on the same level as the Boston Bruins losing Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final to the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden, but it’s close.

“It’s different. But I think you have to go down there in the dark ages to feel that one out again,” DeBrusk pointed out. “It’s one of those things where I wouldn’t compare them. I think every year is different. Obviously, we didn’t get it done.”

Unlike some of his teammates probably are still unable to do right now though, Jake DeBrusk was almost immediately able to find a silver lining for himself, and still appreciate all that the fun they had establishing NHL records in wins with 65 and in points with 135, as well as numerous Boston Bruins franchise records. A year ago at this time, Jake DeBrusk was entrenched with his teammates in a seven-game first round playoff series with the Carolina Hurricanes with no idea what his future held. The Bruins would lose that series, and along with captain Patrice Bergeron, the status of DeBrusk was one of the biggest questions heading into the 2022 offseason.

At the time, DeBrusk still had a trade request he made earlier in the season still in effect, and many expected the winger to be traded by the time free agency began in mid-July. Instead, then-Boston Bruins head coach and now current Vegas Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy was fired in favor of Jim Montgomery. Days later, DeBrusk rescinded his trade request and came back to have his best season since entering the NHL in the 2017-18 season with career highs in goals (27), and assists (23). Last Tuesday, the 26-year-old winger, who is entering the final season of a two-year contract that carries a $4M AAV, was happy he stayed even with the sting of the Panthers series still raw.

“For sure. It was obviously a crazy year ago at this point in time and even before that. I did feel lucky,” DeBrusk replied when asked how happy he was that he was never traded. “I felt lucky to be here every day. Even just with the start that we had as a group. With the guys in this locker room, it just felt special, and I tried to take every moment I could of any day that I was here, and I was just really grateful for the opportunity. Obviously, at the same time, it was not the result we wanted, so it stings as well.”

DeBrusk will be counted on to carry that positivity into next season and build off the career season he just had.

“That was my goal at the beginning of the year, was to have a year to grow off of the year before,” DeBrusk said. “It’s hard to kind of think about that right now, but there’s lots of good moments in some ways. You take those positives with it. That’s kind of what you use to go into the next offseason of training and things like that. It’s fresh, so I honestly don’t look at that too much.”

 

 

 

 

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