Jake DeBrusk looked destined to be have a strong Stanley Cup playoff run after finishing the regular season with 42 points (27 goals, 15 assists) in 68 games for the Boston Bruins.
But that unfortunately wasn’t the case.
The young winger finished with just 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 24 games. The lack of production, however, could be linked to Nazem Kadri’s vicious hit in Game 1 of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first-round matchup with the Black and Gold. The hit left Kadri suspended for the remainder of the series.
DeBrusk never missed a game throughout the remainder of his team’s Stanley Cup run, but revealed he was battling through some things after the Bruins’ Game 7 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
The bottom-six really carried Boston throughout the postseason, but Cam Neely chalked up DeBrusk’s experience in the run at Lord Stanley as a “learning experience” in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Boston.
“I thought we might see more from Jake, but then again it’s a learning experience. A couple of years ago he had a really strong playoff, especially against Toronto,” the Bruins president said. “But you’ve got to go through these experiences and hopefully learn from them and grow. That’s what I expect from Jake. I know these guys are all proud players and they understand the importance of playing well in the playoffs and not just in the regular season.”
Neely added he believes DeBrusk will “learn” and “improve” from the 24 games he played from April until June.
“That’s what I say to these guys. ‘You really want to be known as a playoff player.’ That’s what we all play for — to win the Cup. I expect Jake to learn from this and improve, not only during the regular season but you’ll see some growth in the playoffs because of this.”
Only time will tell how DeBrusk responds during his third season in Boston. And if the B’s make it back to the postseason come 2020, we’re sure he’ll be ready to put last season’s playoffs behind him.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images