In sports, there is always that one player you root for to find success. Throughout the past few seasons, there is one player that everyone is rooting for: Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk. Between his electric celebrations and ability to play with the game’s best two-way center, Patrice Bergeron, it is amazing to see the kind of player he’s blossomed into during the 2022-23 campaign.
So far, through 36 games, DeBrusk is on pace for a career season. This early success is what the Bruins have been waiting for five seasons to unlock. After a stellar rookie campaign in 2017-18, he scored 16 goals, 27 assists, and a career-high 43 points. However, he would follow that up with a career-high 27 goals the next season. Sadly, things went downhill, leading to a bad relationship between the player, his coach, and team management.
A Series Of Unfortunate Events
It is no secret that DeBrusk has shown inconsistency in his game and practically lived in former head coach Bruce Cassidy’s doghouse. On numerous occasions, DeBrusk found himself sitting in the press box when we all knew he should be on the ice. Unfortunately, he wanted out of Boston and sought a trade. Despite putting in the request, he played for the crest and had a phenomenal ending to the season.
The 2021-22 season did not go as planned for DeBrusk until the end of January. He tallied a measly seven goals, eight assists, and 15 points. Then, he caught fire from February until the end of the year. Eventually, DeBrusk moved to the top line next to captain Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
As a line, they scored 17 goals with a 67.26 Corsi For and a 69.60 xGF%, dominating the high-danger areas. The trio scored 11 goals from the area while generating 70 chances on the ice. The move paid dividends, and DeBrusk was soaring high in the sky. To end the season, he nearly doubled his point total and finished with 18 goals, nine assists, and 27 points before capping that off with four points in the first round of the playoffs.
DeBrusk Thriving Under New Head Coach
All is good with DeBrusk and the Bruins today. In the offseason, he decided to rescind his trade request, and he is currently thriving under his new head coach Jim Montgomery. From an individual standpoint, he is on pace for a career year. So far, DeBrusk has scored 16 goals, 14 assists, and 30 points in 36 games played.
Throughout an 82-game season, the young man is on pace for 36 goals and 67 points, which would be light years ahead of his current career high of 43 points. In addition, he is fourth on the team with 2.91 points per 60 minutes with other metrics like a 14.7 shooting percentage (third on the team), a 62% CF, and 68.2 expected goals-for percentage. DeBrusk is on pace for career highs in all categories, and it is wonderful to see.
DeBrusk’s Line Mates
DeBrusk has spent 225 minutes with Bergeron as his center. Just like last season’s end, DeBrusk has remained on the top line as new head coach Montgomery has not been afraid to provide more balance within the lineup. The top line has been one of the best in the league since they rank fifth with an impressive 66.3 expected goals percentage. As a unit, they’ve scored ten goals, with nine coming from the high-danger areas.
Thus far, DeBrusk has made the most of his opportunity to learn and play with world-class players, to evolve his game into the scoring threat fans have waited six years to see. However, DeBrusk will now miss the next four weeks with a broken fibula sustained in the Winter Classic, a game in which the youngster scored the only two goals giving the Bruins another win in an outdoor setting.
DeBrusk is off to a career year, which is remarkable to watch. Everything the Bruins thought he could be is coming to fruition in 2022-23. Maybe the coaching change was precisely what he needed, like the rest of the Bruins this year, who remain the NHL’s best team. Furthermore, it is incredible to see what he is doing, given everything that transpired a season ago, on top of finally seeing him thrive. Unfortunately, he is out with an injury, but once he returns, it will be great to see him continue his stellar play.