A couple of key losses for the Boston Bruins has the team looking as thin as it has in a couple of years. Still, there are a lot of playmakers that may have their shot this year, with guys like David Krejci off of the roster. Included in that group, is Jake Debrusk. A household name for most Bruins fans, Debrusk has had a couple of shaky seasons following his red hot start-up in the majors. Now, the club is gonna need his production more than ever, and it opens the door for him to return to his old form.
Why Jake Debrusk May Make or Break the Bruins Season
Next Man Up
Once Krejci departed, a lot of fans felt that Boston needed to address that second-line center position immediately through trade or free agency. Evidently, that didn’t happen. So what does that mean exactly? Well first off, it means that management has a lot of trust in the core group that they constructed. But most importantly, it means every single player on the roster has to manage a new, and in most cases more demanding, role on the team.
For Debrusk, it’ll be managing the scoring on the third line with two veterans of the game in Erik Haula and Nick Foligno. Debrusk was trusted off the top six after the acquisition of Taylor Hall, and many felt he was coming to the end of his Bruin career after yet another subpar year. But, Debrusk comes back this season with a very important job.
It isn’t so much that the Bruins will have problems scoring goals. I actually think that’s the least of their worries. But, Debrusk is second-line talent in this league. He’s shown his poise and he’s shown his skillset in the past. But now, he’s been placed in a new role that will require a lot of his old self now that Krejci is gone. The Bruins relied heavily on their top six for scoring last season and while the “Perfection Line” will certainly return to form, the second and third line could have very similar levels of production. The scoring has morphed from a top-heavy assault to a more depth-oriented deployment.
Every one of the forwards will have to step up following the departure of Krejci, but Debrusk can really accelerate that next-man-up role and provide some much-needed relief from those top two lines.
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Sacraficed Defense for Offense
Boston made a couple of wrong decisions this offseason, one being not attacking their lack of depth at the defensive position. They continue to miss a solid top-four defenseman, something that’s been absent since both Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug left the team. The role has not been replaced, and many felt Debrusk and his $3.6 million contract might be a good trade chip for one. Fast-forward to October, and Debrusk is sitting on the opening day roster.
Nevertheless, Boston has made it clear that they are willing to sacrifice defense for offense this season. With that being said, nearly every member in the top nine has either established their role on this team or is joining the roster as a proven vet with a history of production. Debrusk, on the other hand, has gone from Bruin sensation to Bruin disappointment, with fans calling for his send-off nearly the entire offseason.
Boston did not go out and grab an Oliver Ekman-Larson or a Noah Hanifin. They stuck with their guy and stacked the offense while neglecting the defense. The move may have worked well last season, but you also rostered a Vezina candidate in Tuukka Rask who’s no longer with your team. They won’t have that cushion of elite goaltending most of this season, which means the Bruins are going to have to score A LOT to push for the Stanley Cup.
Like I stated earlier, the top six have their roles carved out, while Debrusk is a bit of a wildcard. Which way he leans will either make Don Sweeney look like a genius or may make him become the newest member of the unemployment line.
The Fans Want a Revival
It may seem weird after months of pleading for Debrusk to play in a different uniform next season, but Boston is certainly hoping we see the Debrusk of 2018 and 2019 this season. Debrusk has a lot more say in the success of this team than I think he may know and his level of production could dictate the success of this team early on. He’s got 25+ goals in him, but we’ll have to wait and see which Debrusk we get this year.
The management believes in him, the coaching staff believes in him, now it’s time for Debrusk to prove to the fans why they should believe in him too.
Originally from a small town in southern New Hampshire, I took the leap and attended Emmanuel College in Boston. A large adjustment, but one that came with a lot of opportunities. After editing for Last Word on Sports for three years, I joined The Hockey Writers in October 2021 to cover the Bruins exclusively. At 21 years old, I have much to learn and a lot of room to grow. I can only dream of the day I get to cover a Stanley Cup season for the team I was raised to love.