BRIGHTON, MA — Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney made it clear that the Bruins would like to prevent 26-year-old winger Jake DeBrusk from becoming an unrestricted free agent next July and sign him to a contract extension soon.
“We’d like to know if Jake indeed does what to be here,” Sweeney told the assembled media at Warrior Arena on Wednesday. “Hopefully, we can find common ground. We’d like to see Jake remain with the Boston Bruins.”
Either Sweeney hasn’t been keeping tabs on his players and what they say to the media over the last month or he’s simply playing coy and trying to put the onus on DeBrusk and his agent Rick Valette. Twice this offseason, DeBrusk has made it clear that he wants to remain with the Bruins past this season, which is the final one on his current two-year, $8 million contract he signed at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.
“I’m hoping to stay (with the Boston Bruins). It’s the only team that I know and the team that I grew up with,” DeBrusk told NHL.com last month. “Hopefully it goes in that direction, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Then just last week, DeBrusk appeared to be trying to get the contract talks – which he said hadn’t begun as of last Thursday – jumpstarted.
“I’m approaching it just getting ready for game 1,” Jake DeBrusk told reporters at the team golf tournament last Thursday. “Getting my game ready, and I guess when it comes to contract talks, it’s one of those things where you need two sides to tango, and if it happens, it happens, but it’s one of those things where it’s obviously not my main focus, but it’s going to be a big year for our team in general, and I know that if I’m doing my part and having success with production and certain things that will help our team. So, I think it goes hand in hand, and it’s one of those things that I’m just ready to get the season started. I’m excited for it, and it’s just about staying healthy.”
DeBrusk has had a roller coaster ride over the last two years as he went from requesting a trade out of Boston in November 2021 to signing a two-year contract extension at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline to a career year last season. The 6-foot, 188-pound winger scored 27 goals and had 23 assists in 64 games last season and his ability to put the past behind him and persevere impressed Sweeney.
“Jake deserves a lot of credit,” Sweeney replied when asked about DeBrusk buying in after the trade request. “Put all those things aside and just went out and performed. Was on pace for a really, really good year. Had a really good year. Even more so, battled through a couple of different injuries and came back and played well again. I think that’s Jake’s maturity both as a player, as a person, and as an important part of our club. We hope to have a season we expect to do, he’s going to be a big part of that.”