Reader Rating: 6.8
Writer Rating: 7
People shopping him around? Rumors of a trade request? The tangible trade requests? Fans willing to drive him to the airport? Extremely weird, wildly inaccurate and braincell-detonating analysis of his physical well-being just because he grew a beard?
Look where he is now. People are excited, or at least cautiously optimistic, to see what Jake DeBrusk brings to the Boston Bruins again.
After a couple of bizarre seasons where Jake seemingly couldn’t score if his life depended on it, DeBrusk once again returned from whatever rut he’d been stuck in to become a contributor for the Bruins. It really seems like playing to try and get the hell out of here is what seemed to motivate him to finally find his groove; he looked like a different animal out there. The Jake that made beelines for the net returned, the Jake that could shoot with silky efficiency returned. The Jake that wasn’t wracked by bouts of COVID came back ready to either show Bruce Cassidy he was full of it or that he had worth at the NHL level in spite of what Cousin Lubert or Uncle Plumbus thought out loud from across the table at Thanksgiving.
Shooting closer to where he’s been historically, tied for third on the team in goals scored, tied with his mid-to-late season teammate Patrice Bergeron. Now, naturally anyone playing with Marchand and Bergeron is going to see a bump in production, nobody’s denying that...but it seems like DeBrusk just sort of fit that mold perfectly. Now with Krejci back in the mix with Taylor Hall, DeBrusk as a top six option can be the best thing a player can be; versatile. He’ll need to be at the top of his game for sure, but having a guy you can fill in for these particular roles is a major step foward in his career.
Was he streaky? Oh very much so. It came up a few times during his somewhat mediocre playoff series against the Hurricanes and the team paid for it. It especially came up when bouncing around the lineup in vain hope that he would spark himself, the third line (hah.), but that seems to unfortunately be the major knock against him we’re just going to have to live with; he needs good motivation in order to be this player. He’s been this player before, and now he’s proven he can be that player again. Playing with the best the team has to offer will definitely help on that front, but it’s up to Jim Montgomery to find the best in Jake for the upcoming season.
The Bruins will be happiest if he manages to find that good life balance for him.
Jake pulled together a perfectly swell season as a scoring winger, but that power play graph isn’t kidding; of his 42 points, a scant four came from time on the man-advantage, and three of those were goals. This is a great starting place for Jake’s future, but if they want to maximize him, they gotta get some power play results out of him in 2022-23.