With one year left on a two-year deal he signed in 2022, Jake DeBrusk’s future in Boston could be up in the air following the 2023-24 season, but if the Boston Bruins were smart, they would sign him to an extension as soon as possible.
Don Sweeney is not normally one to give out long extensions, unless your name is David Pastrnak, or Tuukka Rask, but DeBrusk is one player who might have made his case to be an exception to Sweeney’s rule after the 2022-23 season.
DeBrusk is poised to have a breakout season this year after tying a career-high in goals, and setting a career-high in assists in the previous season.
Show me the money!!
At the end of the day, what it’s going to come down to on both sides is the money. And while DeBrusk is going to be hoping for a giant pay increase, his closest comparison in terms of his numbers and a possible extension amount, according to 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Ty Anderson, could very well be Brandon Hagel of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Hagel recently signed an 8-year, $52 million contract with the Lightning, which amounts to a cap hit of $6.5 million per year – jumping up from $1.5 million. To be fair, that is a jump of $5 million, but was also for a guy who scored 30 goals, and 34 assists, which amounted to 14 more points than DeBrusk.
It’s a close comparison, but not a complete one, especially considering DeBrusk has only played two seasons of 70 games or more.
It’s possible that DeBrusk will ask for at least a $5 million increase to stay in Boston, and that might be just enough of a sweet-spot for Sweeney and the Jacobs’ family to sign off on in an effort to keep a hometown name… Well… Just that, on a hometown discount no less.
Now, there is the chance that DeBrusk says that he wants to test the waters of free agency, and that Sweeney gives him the clearance to do so, but given all that he does for the community, it appears unlikely that DeBrusk would have a strong desire to go elsewhere. That’s not to say there wouldn’t be a desire, but it may not be as strong as some may think.
While he did request a trade from the Bruins last year, it is most likely due to lack of playing time, and as he is poised to be in the top-six of forwards this year, it’s likely that desire to play somewhere else has gone down – especially with Pavel Zacha likely sliding back into his natural role as a centerman.
Given his young age, and his abilities, it is imperative for the Bruins to see his value and get him locked down for a while.
If they’re willing to pay him, and give him the opportunities that he has earned, DeBrusks’s eyes and ears, should be locked in on Boston, and his pen should be signing a piece of paper with Bruins’ letterhead – whether that is at the beginning of the season, or towards the end, like Pastrnak’s extension.