Boston Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk: From potential draft bust to top-six forward

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Jake DeBrusk /

Boston Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk is poised to make his NHL debut tonight. At one point looking like a draft bust, how did he get from that position to securing a top six role?

Many Boston Bruins fans were somewhat surprised when the team took Jake DeBrusk in the 2015 NHL entry draft. DeBrusk was projected to go late in the first round, but was taken with the 14th pick. The Edmonton native was one of three Bruins first rounders in said draft, along with Jakub Zboril, and Zachary Senyshyn. DeBrusk was coming off a year in which he potted 42 goals and 81 points, in only 72 games with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos.

However, soon after the draft, the sniper fell on difficult times. DeBrusk, Zboril, and Senyshyn all made headlines mere months after the draft as all three failed a conditioning test. DeBrusk’s next season in the WHL was plagued by injury as he missed over three weeks of the year. It seemed as though the former 14th overall pick’s NHL aspirations were fading immensely quickly.

Boston Bruins
SUNRISE, FL – JUNE 26: Jake DeBrusk poses after being selected 14th overall by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB /

Bouncing Back

Despite all the hardships, DeBrusk has rebounded and is now poised to play a pivotal role in Boston’s upcoming season. DeBrusk impressed the Bruins brass as he produced 49 points in Providence, his first taste of the professional game.

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Although being held pointless in the preseason, DeBrusk dazzled head coach Bruce Cassidy enough to seemingly secure a spot on the team’s second line. He would slot into the Left Wing role, adjacent to the Czech duo of David Krecji and David Pastrnak.

These linemates are ideal for DeBrusk’s continued development, as Krejci is a gifted playmaker. Not to mention that Pastrnak, coming into the season with a new contract, is an incredibly dynamic player capable of creating for himself, and others.

Many experts feel with these linemates, and his offensive talents, DeBrusk may find himself a Calder dark horse by year’s end. The Bruins are hoping DeBrusk can bring the same abilities that made him a first round pick in 2015. When scouting DeBrusk it was said that “His greatest strength is his compete level”, which is valuable in younger players.

It is clear through watching him in the preseason that his ability to do the dirty work is still present. Even Pastrnak has taken notice: “In the last two games, (DeBrusk) got us many pucks out of the battles”.

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Looking Forward

Only time will tell if DeBrusk can perform at a level that keeps him in the top six. That being said, he certainly has the potential to be a legitimate top six forward this year. It’s easy to overlook DeBrusk this year, with Anders Bjork and Charlie McAvoy also making their debuts.

The presence of Bjork and McAvoy means DeBrusk won’t garner as much attention as someone in his position normally would. This is the ideal situation for DeBrusk as he can focus on what he does best, score goals.

Bruins Nation is anxiously waiting to see how DeBrusk will handle the game at an NHL level, but if history is an indicator, he will be able to succeed no matter what obstacles are placed in front of him.