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Report: Jake DeBrusk Has “Mutual Interest” With Bruins’ Top Rival

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jake-debrusk
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Out of any of the pending free agents the Boston Bruins have hitting the open market this summer, Jake DeBrusk was always going to be the one that attracted the most interest from other clubs.

According to Toronto Star columnist Nick Kypreos, one team believed to be pursuing DeBrusk is none other than the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“The Leafs continue to look at all options when it comes to their top six forwards next season,” Kypreos wrote on Wednesday. “There’s word they may have interest in pending Bruins free-agent Jake DeBrusk, who’s been a Leafs playoff killer over the years.”

Nick Alberga, the host of Leafs Morning Take, furthered Kypreos’ report, reporting that DeBrusk has at least some “mutual interest” in joining Toronto.

With a reputation as a streaky player throughout his entire career thus far with the Bruins, DeBrusk is an unrestricted free agent for the first time this offseason after putting up 40 points with 19 goals during the 2023-24 campaign. Still, DeBrusk’s career-high of 27 goals, which he tied in 2022-23, makes him an intriguing addition to a Maple Leafs club that is shopping for a scorer.

As for the Bruins, they too, are hoping to add offense this offseason, and a reunion with DeBrusk has not been ruled out. With $23.86 million in cap space, according to Puckpedia, the Bruins have the funds available to make it happen as AFP Analytics projects DeBrusk to sign a five-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5.82 million. But given DeBrusk’s start-and-stop nature, the Bruins may be looking to invest in a more dependable replacement this offseason.

If there ever was reason to re-sign the 27-year-old, it’s his performance from this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, as he accounted for 11 points in 13 games for Boston. DeBrusk put up five points in the opening round, helping the Bruins eliminate the Maple Leafs in seven games as the two teams wrote another chapter in their storied rivalry.

DeBrusk signing with Toronto would only stoke the fire between the franchises even more. Over the last 11 years, the Bruins and Maple Leafs have met four times in the playoffs, with each series going the distance and resulting in a victory for Boston. The rivalry was taken off the ice last summer when the Maple Leafs signed Tyler Bertuzzi out from under the Bruins’ nose after they failed to reach a long-term agreement with the forward.

Drafted 14th overall by the Bruins in 2014, DeBrusk has 266 points with 138 goals in 465 career games. He is free to sign with the Bruins, Maple Leafs or any other club when NHL free agency begins on July 1.

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