Boston Bruins Jake DeBrusk Hopes Change Works Well


Sep 20, 2015; Providence,RI, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) checks New Jersey Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas (44) during the third period at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins Jake DeBrusk Hopes Change Works Well

Boston Bruins 2015 first round pick Jake DeBrusk hopes a change of WHL scenery will help relaunch his game in what may be his final season in juniors.

In the WHL’s first blockbuster trade of the season, DeBrusk was dealt from the Swift Current Broncos over the weekend to the Red Deer Rebels for prospect Lane Pederson, as well as first and third round bantam draft picks. The trade allows Swift Current, currently in second to last place in the Eastern Conference, a chance to rebuild while giving DeBrusk a high profile opportunity to play for the Rebels who are in the middle of the playoff picture and will host the Memorial Cup this season.

“The trade gives Red Deer the dynamic goal scorer needed to complete its offensive attack and become a real threat,” according to SportsNet. “The Rebels had been powered by Ivan Nikolishin and rookie Michael Spacek on their top line, but still lacked the big time gun that DeBrusk now gives them.”

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The experience of playing with a good WHL team should prepare DeBrusk well for the strong possibility of the Bruins optioning him to Providence next season (he’ll turn 20 on October 17).

After an excellent start in which he put up 20 points in his first 13 games for Swift Current, DeBrusk went down with a lower body injury early in the 14th game after blocking a shot. He missed several games and was still dealing with the injury’s impact, notching only 6 points in his last 10 Broncos games after his return. But the trade to a playoff team has seemed to give him new life. He already has two goals and three points in two games for the Rebels, giving him 11 goals and 29 points in 26 games overall.

“Came back a little early, making a push trying to get some games. Maybe too early but it’s getting better,” DeBrusk told Big Drive Sports.

Known as a skilled and aggressive scorer around the net who put up 42 goals and 81 points for the Broncos last year before being drafted 14th overall by Boston in June’s draft, DeBrusk is looking forward to playing with a high-end, complete lineup. “That’s really nice to have because in Swift Current we didn’t necessarily roll four (lines), we kind of rolled two or three. So that makes a big difference, especially for guys like me,” he said. “The group of guys here is unreal.”

DeBrusk had a good run with the Broncos over three seasons, including a 42-point improvement from his rookie campaign in 2013-14 to his breakout year in 2014-15. After getting drafted by Boston, he had a strong showing at Bruins camp and was named to Canada’s preliminary 40-man national junior team roster.

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  • The injury likely spoiled DeBrusk’s best chance of making the team as he was not named to the final Canadian roster for the IIHF World Junior Championship now underway in Finland. In fact no Bruins prospects made the Canadian team, which drew some fresh criticism toward Boston management for passing over such current Team Canada standouts as Mathew Barzal and Travis Konecny in favor of DeBrusk and Zachary Senyshyn (Boston’s 15th overall pick) in the draft. DeBrusk and Senyshyn were pegged in pre-draft boards to go late in the first round and early in the second, respectively, while Barzal, Konecny and University of Michigan standout Kyle Connor were ranked significantly higher and would have been great value picks.

    However, Senyshyn got a strong look by the Canadian team brass in November’s CHL Canada-Russia Series for his breathtaking speed and Bruins 2015 second rounder Jeremy Lauzon was named star of the QMJHL showing during that series with a 3-point performance. Lauzon is having an All-Star year with 34 points in 26 games as a defenseman and was one of Canada’s four final roster cuts.

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    Senyshyn is also having a breakout year in just his second OHL season, ranked 4th in goals with 22 and 30th in league scoring with 33 points in 33 games and will likely get another chance to make Team Canada next year. Another Canadian to watch is B’s 2015 4th rounder Jesse Gabrielle, who has quietly put up 20 goals and 37 points in 36 games in the WHL this year.

    Boston is still represented well in Finland, with 2015 second round pick Brandon Carlo dominating on defense for Team USA and David Pastrnak taking over games offensively for the Czech Republic. The Bruins other 2015 first rounder, Jakub Zboril, also looks good as a smooth-skating defender and poised point man for the Czechs, and 2015 second round center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson has turned in solid performances for Sweden. Daniel Vladar (Czech Republic), Ryan Donato (USA) and Anders Bjork (USA) round out Boston’s prospects competing in the tournament.

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    Meanwhile, it’s hoped that DeBrusk’s new WHL home and recovery from injury will launch the second half of his season into the kind of elite numbers he put up last year and onto the Baby B’s next fall.