What Bruce Cassidy Expects From Jake DeBrusk After Down Season

It was tough sledding for DeBrusk last season


Aug 24, 2021

The Boston Bruins are a much better team when Jake DeBrusk is going, and Bruce Cassidy is trying to put him in a position to thrive.

Once a mainstay on the second line left wing with David Krejci as his center, ineffectiveness last season and at times in 2020 saw DeBrusk moved all around the lineup. The 24-year-old played both on the left and sometimes right side of just about every line, but never really was able to stick anywhere.

The end product was DeBrusk’s most challenging pro season to date, as he only posted five goals with nine assists over 41 regular-season games.

There has been a good bit of turnover on the Bruins roster this offseason, and that’ll allow for DeBrusk to go back to his natural position to begin camp.

“Well, right now we’re trying to get him back on left wing,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said Tuesday during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. “He moved around from left to right, and he was OK with that. But at times, I don’t know if the position of left side versus right side (was) more about the consistency, was what we were trying to drill down on him.

“Right now, he’ll go back on the left side. He’ll be behind (Brad Marchand) and (Taylor) Hall to start, and then the competition is on. Listen, we’ve never put a ceiling on a player. If he can pass some of those guys, great. We’ll give him more minutes. He was on the first power play a couple years ago. We felt last year (Nick) Ritchie outplayed him in that role, and then Marchy in the playoffs, so he got dropped down to the second unit.

“So, again, the ball is in his court in that way. But we’d like to give Jake — I don’t want to say a fresh start, because he’s been here a while. He knows what the expectations are, he’s familiar with the players in the room, the coaching staff. So we’ve just got to get him to play to his ability every night. That’s our job as coaches, and his job as a pro that’s been around a little built to put the onus on himself to make sure that he’s ready to go every night. He’ll have a new centreman this year. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it takes a while. At the end of the day, hopefully it works out well for him.”

It appears the new-look third line probably will consist of DeBrusk and Nick Foligno on the wings, with Erik Haula up the middle. It’ll be interesting to see how that group jells, but there is a lot of upside in that unit.

Thumbnail photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images
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