With restricted free agent Jake DeBrusk still unsigned, what would a contract look like in a return to the Bruins?
All season long, the free agent chatter around the Boston Bruins was centered around defensemen Torey Krug. There was a lot of talk as to whether Krug would return to the Bruins or hit the open market.
Krug ultimately left and is heading to the St. Louis Blues after signing a seven-year, $45.5 million contract. Losing Krug leaves a hole in the Bruins defense, especially with captain Zdeno Chara still undecided if he is going to return for a 15th season.
Another key restricted free agent that the Bruins have this offseason is second-line left wing Jake DeBrusk. A month into free agency, he has yet to find a home for next season, which is good news for the Black and Gold.
What DeBrusk gives the Bruins.
DeBrusk has 62 goals in three seasons with 17 coming on the power play. He scored a career-high 27 goals in 2018-19 and was on the verge of being a back-to-back 20-goal scorer this past season with 19 when the season was paused on March 12 because of the coronavirus.
In three trips to the playoffs, DeBrusk has 14 goals in 49 games. His biggest postseason goal was in Game 7 of the 2018 Eastern Conference quarterfinal-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He broke a 4-4 tie early in the third period to help the Bruins rally with four goals in the final 20 minutes to win 7-4.
He found a home with David Krejci on the second line and is on the verge of being a yearly 20-goal scorer at just 24 years old. With eight of their nine-goal scorers from last season under contract, DeBrusk is a familiar face that the Bruins can’t afford to lose. He is also added power-play production, which could come into play next season if Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are unable to begin the season as they recover from surgeries.
What does a new DeBrusk contract look like?
A young forward that is becoming a goal consistent goal-scorer in the NHL and also possess speed, is something teams don’t let walk away. Two comparable contracts for other left wings with similar numbers as DeBrusk’s are Alex Tuch and Andre Burakovsky.
Tuch scored 20 goals in a contract season in 2018-19 and was rewarded with a seven-year, $44.75 million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights. Burakovsky signed with the Colorado Avalanche prior to last season for one-year for $3.25 million and responded with 20 goals in the regular season. He recently re-signed with the Avalanche for two more years at $9.8 million with a yearly $4.9 AAV.
General manager Don Sweeney has $6,657,686 money available according to CapFriendly. With Krug gone, DeBrusk has to be a priority for Sweeney to bring back. They could bring him back on a short contract, but could also reward him for his first three years in Boston with a longer contract.
The average NHL second-line left wing makes around $4 million a season, but DeBrusk could be looking a little north of that and he might have an argument. If the Bruins can come to a deal with him with a $4-5 million AAV over three or four years, then it could be considered a win-win deal for both sides. No matter what happens, retaining DeBrusk should be Sweeney’s next move.