The fact that the Boston Bruins start their 2022-23 regular season on Wednesday and, by all accounts, top 6 winger Jake DeBrusk and the team aren’t close to a contract extension. That may not matter on the ice as far as DeBrusk is concerned.
During his Saturday media briefing, Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery was asked what he thought of DeBrusk’s performance in training camp and the regular season.
“One thing I like about Jake is, besides everyone sees the speed, they see the goal-scoring, they see a guy that’s willing to block shots for the team and how his all-around game has really developed because his penalty kill is where we use him in every situation. …I think the one thing is that the quiet confidence he has,” Montgomery said. “He can have like an ‘Oh my God!’ bad shift and no effect on him!
‘Fine, I’m good! I’ll be fine next shift. I’m Good’
He gives the team confidence, his line confidence because he does have a swagger about him.”
After requesting a trade from the Boston Bruins in November 2021, Jake DeBrusk wound up signing a two-year, $8 million contract extension at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. He caught fire down the stretch of that season and is coming off the best season of his career. The 6-foot, 188-pound winger scored 27 goals and had 23 assists in 64 games last season.
Both DeBrusk and Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney have expressed mutual interest in keeping the 14th overall pick from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft with the Bruins past this season. There was nothing to report on progress with that, but in a 1-on-1 interview with Boston Hockey Now recently, DeBrusk seemed ready to keep proving people wrong. DeBrusk had his best start to a season last fall, and that’s the plan with the season opener this Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden.
“I just think trying to improve is the easiest thing to say,” DeBrusk told Boston Hockey Now. “I think you try and improve every year and just find my game. I think the biggest thing last year was probably the best start I ever had, and I was able to find it very quickly. I got hurt in the first game, which kind of set me back, but I found that I came back and was ready to play.
So, the biggest thing for me every year is the same thing. I try and find my game as fast as possible because you can feel as good as you wanna feel or as bad as you wanna feel, but things can change quickly when it all comes down to it, and stress and different things, the pressure in a tie game or things of that nature.”
While DeBrusk loves proving his own doubters wrong, he’s more focused on proving the doubters who continue to doubt the Boston Bruins wrong.
“Over the years, there have been different kinds of feelings in terms of things, but I look at it more so personally and what I’m trying to do in the year,” DeBrusk replied when asked about so many NHL pundits questioning the Bruins chances of reaching the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. “There’s a lot about every team coming up, and no one knows, but everyone starts at zero, and I think the biggest lesson is last year nobody thought we’d make the playoffs. That pretty much pissed us all off in a sense, and it feels pretty similar this time around. Not that we really talk about it that much.
I think this time around, we already went through it last year, so they don’t really expect too much of us, but at the same time, we play against teams, and we play against opponents, and they treat us with respect every game. So, it’s one of those things where we got a lot of new guys and pieces, and I think camp’s gone pretty well. Obviously, the preseason games don’t really take too much from them, positive or negative, but personally, for me, I’ve got a lot of question marks in the sense of each year.”